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Old 07-25-2012, 08:15 AM   #1
mom-of-twins-2002
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passport advice needed!

Our family is booked on a 3 night cruise on the dream traveling to nassau & castaway cay the end of september. There are 6 of us (myself, DH, and four kids 9,9,5,3), and I'm trying to decide whether or not to bite the bullet for all of us to have current passports.

We're getting close to our 8-week mark for our cruise, and they estimate 6-8 weeks for passport processing time, so I'm really under the gun to make a decision.

It would cost us about $650 to get our passports/have them renewed. I realize they're not required for our cruise & we have booked through dreams unlimited who has advised us that they're recommmended (though there's a very remote chance we'd actually need them). So to me, they seem like a $650 insurance policy. We don't have our sights on any other out-of-country travel anytime soon, so I don't see us putting them to use in any other way.

WWYD?? Should I just get mine & DH's renewed & just bring along the kids' birth certificates (and my 9yo's expired passports) or have them for everyone?

Thanks in advance for any input!
Tammy
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:12 AM   #2
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Tammy! First, congrats on your cruise!!

You will get many answers on this...but I say use your Birth certificates for all of you...at the most get yours and DH's renewed as insurance policy. I say that with the caveat that you must get trip insurance! The main reason for getting passports is to get home in case of an emergency..but honestly, it's such a rare occasion...if you have trip insurance, that will help mitigate damages from a financial standpoint should an emergency arise...

Our kids' passports expired last year, we are not renewing any until they travel out of the country again....I do like 'peace of mind' knowing I and my husband have ours, but if ours were expired, honestly, I'd just take Birth certificate and driver's license...too expensive otherwise. They should move this to the main cruise forum..you'll get more responses It's on the cruise pre trip reports page now...
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:18 AM   #3
mom-of-twins-2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmhall2000
Tammy! First, congrats on your cruise!!

You will get many answers on this...but I say use your Birth certificates for all of you...at the most get yours and DH's renewed as insurance policy. I say that with the caveat that you must get trip insurance! The main reason for getting passports is to get home in case of an emergency..but honestly, it's such a rare occasion...if you have trip insurance, that will help mitigate damages from a financial standpoint should an emergency arise...

Our kids' passports expired last year, we are not renewing any until they travel out of the country again....I do like 'peace of mind' knowing I and my husband have ours, but if ours were expired, honestly, I'd just take Birth certificate and driver's license...too expensive otherwise. They should move this to the main cruise forum..you'll get more responses It's on the cruise pre trip reports page now...
Thanks for the input! I am leaning toward just getting mine & my husband's renewed. Unfortunately since we already paid the balance on our cruise, I think it's too late to add trip insurance. :/
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom-of-twins-2002 View Post
Thanks for the input! I am leaning toward just getting mine & my husband's renewed. Unfortunately since we already paid the balance on our cruise, I think it's too late to add trip insurance. :/
NO! Never too late! Go to www.***************** and enter in your information, you just may not get policies that allow pre-existing conditions, but as far as if a medical emergency arises or you lose luggage etc...you can get coverage! We are going in September and I have NOT bought our room yet but called to price out plans and there is no problem buying it. I just need to know how much my total trip is that's all!
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:44 AM   #5
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This is a question that so many people have and one that I had as well. However, we took the advice of our TA and got passports. Keep in mind we were taking a 5 night cruise. Had we been on a 3 night I may not have gotten them. I beleive the term "emergency" means an emergency stateside. If you have an emergency onboard the ship, I'm sure you will get home. If something happens back home, not so sure without you having passports to get there. Hope this helps.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:53 AM   #6
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I have the same question and I keep analyzing the situation. There is only 1 day that we will be on a Bahama Island. Is CC US owned since it is a disney island? The rest of the time is onboard the ship. So in the case of an emergency, 3 out of 4 days, we are either on the ship or on CC.... would we really have trouble getting to the mainland US without a passport? In a true emergency, like this person is gonna die situation, they are not gonna air transport someone until they are somewhat stable anyway. I just don't know what I am gonna do.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:21 AM   #7
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You'll get lots of opinions, but I'm in the "get a passport" camp.

We had three emergency evacuations during our cruise last month: One by helicopter, one by lifeboat, and one by ambulance. After seeing those, there is no way I'd ever recommend traveling without a passport. (Our friends were on the Fantasy two weeks after us, and they also had a helicopter evacuation while at sea.)

Birth certificates and drivers' licenses only work for closed loop cruises. Passport cards only work for driving across borders. If you do have an emergency outside the US, you would need a passport to get back into the country. Otherwise, you would have to go through a lengthy (and expensive!) repatriation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyLovesPeter View Post
I have the same question and I keep analyzing the situation. There is only 1 day that we will be on a Bahama Island. Is CC US owned since it is a disney island? The rest of the time is onboard the ship. So in the case of an emergency, 3 out of 4 days, we are either on the ship or on CC.... would we really have trouble getting to the mainland US without a passport? In a true emergency, like this person is gonna die situation, they are not gonna air transport someone until they are somewhat stable anyway. I just don't know what I am gonna do.
Castaway Cay is a Bahamian island. If you have an emergency that is life-threatening, you will be evacuated from the ship. They are not equipped to handle it. They will choose to evacuate by helicopter, lifeboat, or ambulance. Either way, you would still need a passport, because you wouldn't be entering the port on your ship.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:18 AM   #8
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we are not getting passports. It's just way too expensive for us. We are mostly staying on the ship anyway. It's just another expense that we can't really afford.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HsvTeacher
You'll get lots of opinions, but I'm in the "get a passport" camp.

We had three emergency evacuations during our cruise last month: One by helicopter, one by lifeboat, and one by ambulance. After seeing those, there is no way I'd ever recommend traveling without a passport. (Our friends were on the Fantasy two weeks after us, and they also had a helicopter evacuation while at sea.)

Birth certificates and drivers' licenses only work for closed loop cruises. Passport cards only work for driving across borders. If you do have an emergency outside the US, you would need a passport to get back into the country. Otherwise, you would have to go through a lengthy (and expensive!) repatriation.

Castaway Cay is a Bahamian island. If you have an emergency that is life-threatening, you will be evacuated from the ship. They are not equipped to handle it. They will choose to evacuate by helicopter, lifeboat, or ambulance. Either way, you would still need a passport, because you wouldn't be entering the port on your ship.
There is just a little bit of misinformation here. In a medical emergency you will be transported to a local hospital whether or not you have a passport. You will be treated. Should you need to return to the US, you will need to contact the US authorities to make arrangements for re-entry to the US. If your medical condition requires emergency treatment out of your current country including back to the US, that request will be expedited. If you have a passport, you do not need to go through the hassle or possible delay in travel, but you will not be refused medical treatment or transport in a medical emergency if you don't have one.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyLovesPeter View Post
I have the same question and I keep analyzing the situation. There is only 1 day that we will be on a Bahama Island. Is CC US owned since it is a disney island? The rest of the time is onboard the ship. So in the case of an emergency, 3 out of 4 days, we are either on the ship or on CC.... would we really have trouble getting to the mainland US without a passport? In a true emergency, like this person is gonna die situation, they are not gonna air transport someone until they are somewhat stable anyway. I just don't know what I am gonna do.
CC is a Bahamian Island and is not owned by the US. My TA stressed to us that if their is an emergency you will NOT be able to fly back without a passport. So, if their is an emergency you will be required to get a passport from the State department before you can fly back. If someone needs to be airlifted I'm sure they will figure out a way to get them back, however, everyone else in their party without a passport cannot fly back.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:06 PM   #11
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There is just a little bit of misinformation here. In a medical emergency you will be transported to a local hospital whether or not you have a passport. You will be treated. Should you need to return to the US, you will need to contact the US authorities to make arrangements for re-entry to the US. If your medical condition requires emergency treatment out of your current country including back to the US, that request will be expedited. If you have a passport, you do not need to go through the hassle or possible delay in travel, but you will not be refused medical treatment or transport in a medical emergency if you don't have one.
Nowhere in my reply did I state that the passenger would not receive medical treatment. The only thing I said was that they are not prepared on the ship to provide treatment for life-threatening illnesses or emergencies, and the passenger would be evacuated.

I then went on to explain exactly what you posted above regarding passports. A passport would be required to enter the US (by flight) without a lengthy and expensive repatriation. A passport card is only good for driving across boards and closed loop cruises, and a birth certificate or driver's license is only good for closed loop cruises.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:06 PM   #12
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We travel with birth certificates and purchase insurance thru ***************** instead of Disney. I have a passport but for now I am not spending the extra for Dh and Dd to get them.

IF we were cruising and leaving the kids back home I would make sure 1 adult has a current passport. When we go without Dd I have mine incase I need to find the quickest way home to her in an emergency.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
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CC is a Bahamian Island and is not owned by the US. My TA stressed to us that if their is an emergency you will NOT be able to fly back without a passport. So, if their is an emergency you will be required to get a passport from the State department before you can fly back. If someone needs to be airlifted I'm sure they will figure out a way to get them back, however, everyone else in their party without a passport cannot fly back.
The person from our cruise that was airlifted by the Coast Guard from Castaway Cay was treated at a hospital in Nassau.
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:26 PM   #14
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We just renewed our passports for DW, DD (2) & myself earlier this year (& yes it was expensive) for our Fantasy 7 day cruise. We got insurance as well, the way we look at it, better to have all of our bases covered just in case.
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HsvTeacher

Nowhere in my reply did I state that the passenger would not receive medical treatment. The only thing I said was that they are not prepared on the ship to provide treatment for life-threatening illnesses or emergencies, and the passenger would be evacuated.

I then went on to explain exactly what you posted above regarding passports. A passport would be required to enter the US (by flight) without a lengthy and expensive repatriation. A passport card is only good for driving across boards and closed loop cruises, and a birth certificate or driver's license is only good for closed loop cruises.
Thanks for clarification. Your post seemed to suggest that a passport was required to leave the ship for medical treatment. I must have read it incorrectly. Sorry about that.

To clarify my statement, the state department and/or embassy will issue credentials for emergency air travel in the event of an emergency and those credentials may not be a passport and the cost to obtain those credentials may not be substantially more than is charged for an expedited passport. What will be costly is the emergency air transportation, which is why trip insurance is recommended.

This debate about passports is probably the most common and most misunderstood. The bottom line is that having a passport is a matter of convenience. It makes things easier and for some, offers additional peace of mind. It is by no means required and not having one won't prevent anyone from receiving needed medical care (although it will make the process easier).
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