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Old 12-02-2012, 09:00 AM   #1
Fjobe
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Would it be worth it to you?

My family is going on a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas in March. We plan to buy our passports before go on the cruise. It will cost us over $500 to buy them for our family of 5. We do not plan to travel outside the US anytime soon other than a possible Carribean or Alaskan (sometimes port in Canada) cruise in 2015.

Would paying over $500 for passports be worth the peace of mind to you?
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:06 AM   #2
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Passports are a great form of idenfication. I think all Americans should have a passport regardless of future plans of travel.

Plus, you never know when you might end up traveling outside of the US, it would be terrible to not be able to go on the trip because you don't have a passport.

Adult passports are good for 10 years and kids passports are good for 5 years.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:10 AM   #3
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We were required to have a passport on our Alaska cruise in 2012 (different line). I believe it is an "across the board" requirement for cruises that stop in Canada.

To get them now or wait....adult passports are good for 10 years. I'd get those. Kid passports are only good for 5 years--are any of the kids at an age where before your Alaska plans they would convert to the 10 year variety? If so, I might wait.

The ONLY reason you'd need a passport would be if something happened that prevented you from returning to the US on the ship--like a medical issue that required you to remain somewhere for treatment. The odds of that are not great, but I've seen it happen even in young, healthy people.

I don't know. If you are asking "should I get passports or should I spend the money on a cabana?" I'd say it was a no brainer--get the passports. On the other hand, if you are saying "This is a real financial hardship for us, do we really need to do it?" I'd probably say no. There ARE regulations in place that allow a US consulate or Embassy to issue an emergency passport for someone who needs to return to the US in just such a situation. It is just another hoop to jump thru at an already difficult time in your life. The cost of the emergency passport is the same as the regular passport and MUST be exchanged for a regular passport after return to the US, so there is no cost advantage or loss to the emergency system.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:13 AM   #4
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When we did our last Disney cruise, we got the kids PassCARDS.

As they were (and still are) under 16, both passports/cards only good for 5 years. We figured we were not going to be flying out of the country with the kids any time soon, so the cards are sufficient for our needs now....(I know, if something were to "happen" and we needed to fly home, there could be issues, Hubs and I aren't that pessimistic :-) ) The kids have used them three or four times now. (It's funny how little they look in the photos, and cards are only four years old!!!!)

The passcards are good for land and sea boarder crossings only, and are slightly less expensive. Both adults have passports.

Hope that helps.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:15 AM   #5
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Also, I believe I heard somewhere that the passport cost will be increasing in a few months, it might be worth it to get it now, especially the adults cause they are good for 10 years. Mine expires in a few years but I think I'm still going to renew before the price hike.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leelee9878
Also, I believe I heard somewhere that the passport cost will be increasing in a few months, it might be worth it to get it now, especially the adults cause they are good for 10 years. Mine expires in a few years but I think I'm still going to renew before the price hike.
Glad I renewed mine earlier this year!!!
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:42 AM   #7
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We were in the same situation a year ago. I decided to go with the passport card. I think for adults it's about half the cost overall. Still a lot of money, but I felt more comfortable keeping up with a card like my DL or credit card instead of a birth certificate.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:53 AM   #8
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For me personally, no it would not.

Out of our family, we all do have one but not because of cruising. My husband and I traveled to another country and had to have one and my husband and son went to Canada and they both had to have one so that is why we got one for my son. Our daughter who is 3 doesnt have one. We are going on the 8 night in March and not planning on getting her one.

If something happened and you needed to leave the Bahamas I think you'd run into problems with only a birth certificate but its kind of like cruise insurance, its really up to you as to if you think it would be important for your family.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:56 AM   #9
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If you go to Alaska, you are going to need the passport to get to Canada. Not if you sail out of Seattle, but most cruises go out of Vancouver.

The kids passports are only good for 5 years. Renewals are cheaper, but it is a consideration.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:07 AM   #10
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We have passports, and got one for our DD when she was 4 for our first 4-night cruise. To us it was like trip insurance - should something bad happen necessitating flying home, getting a passport in order to do so is the last thing I want to have to deal with! Also, if you do manage to miss the ship in a port and need to meet it elsewhere (or at home), you'll need to go through all the hassle of getting an emergency passport at the consulate before getting on a plane. It just seemed like a good investment in peace of mind should something happen.

Now granted, DH and I already had valid passports so we only had to get one for DD. I personally use my passport for official identification more than anything else now - especially when changing jobs, etc. and they want multiple forms of ID - all you need is a passport and you're good.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:39 AM   #11
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Forget the passport card, its like a half solution. Yes it is a valid id, yes you can use it for some travel. But for the major things like flying out of a country in an emergency its not valid and that's when you want to have a passport. I agree with the above poster think about it like trip insurance. We actually buy trip insurance but if the $500 was going to make a difference I would invest in the passports instead. Plus you can divide the cost over 5-10 years. Plus if you don't get them them when you cruise in 2015 you will be posting again whether passports are a good idea or not.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:10 AM   #12
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Another vote here for NOT going with the passport CARD. They won't give you anything more than just using your birth certificate/photo IDs. And it will cost you to get them.

Either get the passport book, or just stick with the BC/IDs.

Personally, I travel with a passport. And I second that on our Alaska cruises (also another line) we had to have the passport.

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Old 12-02-2012, 11:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessShmoo View Post
Another vote here for NOT going with the passport CARD. They won't give you anything more than just using your birth certificate/photo IDs. And it will cost you to get them.


Agree that a passport card is not worth it. However, we never travel without our passports. We even got them for our grandchildren for an upcoming cruise.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fjobe View Post
My family is going on a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas in March. We plan to buy our passports before go on the cruise. It will cost us over $500 to buy them for our family of 5. We do not plan to travel outside the US anytime soon other than a possible Carribean or Alaskan (sometimes port in Canada) cruise in 2015.

Would paying over $500 for passports be worth the peace of mind to you?
I would buy the passports.

If you live in the US and want to fly into Canada for your Alaska cruise, you will need a passport.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:39 AM   #15
Fjobe
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Thanks everyone for the replies! We are going to stick with our original plan of getting the passports.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcashner View Post
We were required to have a passport on our Alaska cruise in 2012 (different line). I believe it is an "across the board" requirement for cruises that stop in Canada.

To get them now or wait....adult passports are good for 10 years. I'd get those. Kid passports are only good for 5 years--are any of the kids at an age where before your Alaska plans they would convert to the 10 year variety? If so, I might wait.

The ONLY reason you'd need a passport would be if something happened that prevented you from returning to the US on the ship--like a medical issue that required you to remain somewhere for treatment. The odds of that are not great, but I've seen it happen even in young, healthy people.

I don't know. If you are asking "should I get passports or should I spend the money on a cabana?" I'd say it was a no brainer--get the passports. On the other hand, if you are saying "This is a real financial hardship for us, do we really need to do it?" I'd probably say no. There ARE regulations in place that allow a US consulate or Embassy to issue an emergency passport for someone who needs to return to the US in just such a situation. It is just another hoop to jump thru at an already difficult time in your life. The cost of the emergency passport is the same as the regular passport and MUST be exchanged for a regular passport after return to the US, so there is no cost advantage or loss to the emergency system.
This reply was exceptionally helpful. Most likely, our 2015 vacation will be the Alaskan cruise (that is what DH really wants), so right there we would use them again. None of our kids will be turning 16 before their passports expire, so it would not be of value for us to wait. The only reason that I want them now is because of the possibility of an emergency, so again, you hit a good point. Finally, no, this would not cause a financial hardship on us. I have already budgeted for them, so the money is already delegated for that expense. I guess I was just having a little hard time parting with the money for a "just in case" scenario. Overall, I think not buying them will cause me worry, and I would rather have the peace of mind.
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