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Old 01-15-2013, 08:19 AM   #1
setablaze
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Passport, Passport card or Birth Certificate???

I have read a fair amount on the subject but no one has touvhed on the Passport card. Gov website states its good for "entering the US from Canada, Mexico, Carribean and Bermuda at land border crossings and at sea ports of entry". Cost for 2 new adults and 2 new children for passports is $480, same for passport card is $190.

I have also read that a valid birth certificate is enough but alot of ppl worry about what is probably less than 1% chance something may go wrong and actually need a passport. We have never had a passport and after this cruise dont anticipate needing one again before they would expire.

So spend $$$ and be safe with an extremely small chance something goes wrong or save big $$$ and hope for the best. I really believe that a birth cert is enough but need reaffirmation. Also looking for anyone that has had experience either way.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:26 AM   #2
Loveofgage
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I thought a passport card was only good for travel to Mexico and Canada.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loveofgage View Post
I thought a passport card was only good for travel to Mexico and Canada.
From GetYouHome.gov:
Quote:
U.S. Passport Card This is a limited-use international travel document valid for entry into the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, per the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. It is not valid for international air travel.
http://www.getyouhome.gov/html/lang_eng/eng_uspc.html
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:34 AM   #4
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The Passport card is good if you live in an area where you may cross the border (Canada or Mexico) frequently. Yes, it is accepted for cruising as well. However, if you do not already have a Passport card and are considering getting Passports for a cruise - don't waste your money on the card. Either spring for the full passport book or decide that you are willing to travel with ID and birth certificates. That's all the Passport Card (or an enhanced drivers license) is - a glorified ID with birth certificate. People who opt to get a Passport for cruising do so because if an emergency occurs requiring a flight home, a full Passport booklet is still necessary and the card will not help in that situation. So decide if you are comfortable with the idea of just using ID and BC, or spring for the full Passport.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:36 AM   #5
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According to Dave Disney in his trip report, which can be found at the top of the trip reports forum, he just used his and his DW's birth certificates and photo ID. They were able to get abord fine.

That is a lot of money to pay for passports, money that could be well used on the cruise instead.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:37 AM   #6
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Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought I understood if you need to be brought back into the US by air craft the passport card would NOT work for you.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:40 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bitlerzx4 View Post
Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought I understood if you need to be brought back into the US by air craft the passport card would NOT work for you.
Correct. Only a Passport Book will get you home from a foreign location by air. Someone without a Passport Book would need to obtain an emergency Passport Book to return home by air.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScholarAndAGent View Post
According to Dave Disney in his trip report, which can be found at the top of the trip reports forum, he just used his and his DW's birth certificates and photo ID. They were able to get abord fine.

That is a lot of money to pay for passports, money that could be well used on the cruise instead.
Correct, that is allowed for a closed-loop cruise (beginning and ending at the same US port) - as long as none of the destination ports require a Passport for entry to their country (I believe Canadian ports do).

Many people will opt for a Passport book as "insurance" because in the event an emergency occurs and you need to leave the ship and return home, a Passport book will be required to fly home from a foreign port. But it is not required, only you can decide what your family is comfortable with.

Last edited by lanejudy; 01-15-2013 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:56 AM   #9
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A passport book is necessary if you had to fly back to the US from a foreign port. A passport card is useless for the purposes of a cruise; a birth certificate will get you on the ship.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:27 AM   #10
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We just got back from a 4-night closed-loop trip a couple weeks ago and since our passports were over a year expired, we took the risk and just brought our birth certificates (with the raised seal) and photo ID's. I have to say, I lost a little sleep on the way down thinking that I'd get up to the counter and the nice cast-member would say "Sorry, these won't work" and then just dump my wallet with the other money that would be going down with the "flushing" sound.

But all was well and easy. We saved the extra $ and bought a couple extra drinks. I have to say, when I got my KTTW cards, I was quite elated!
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:36 AM   #11
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Don't forget about enhanced State DL ot ID's. We have used these for the Alaska Cruise and the Eastern and Western on the Fantasy with out any problems. Check to see if your state has them. They are cheaper than even a Passport Card. My 11yr old DD has an enhanced Sate ID as well.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:52 AM   #12
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There are lots of threads about passport cards--try a google search.

The bottom line is that a passport card will not do you any good in an emergency; you would still have to go thru the hassle of getting an emergency passport. Either spend the big bucks and get the passport book OR save all your money and use birth certificates.

Spending a little less money on something that is essentially worthless in this situation is just not sensible...at least to my way of thinking.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:53 AM   #13
setablaze
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Just got off the phone with helpful man at local post office that handles passports and such. He said "closed loop cruise" is a very loose definition. A BC gets you in and out of your own house (USA) but if any country we come into port requires a pass port to enter/deboard ship a BC will NOT do. A BC is good in US territories. Simply explained a BC gets me in and out of my own house (USA) but a passport or passport card is needed to enter foriegn countries, like Mexico possibly, when you get off of the ship. So at mininum I think I need a passport card, which is specifically good for land crossings and sea ports but NO International air travel.

Huge cost difference. I have read alot about "what ifs" on several different subjects like passports, book your own shore excursions and room upgrades. If you start keeping track of the money spent on "what ifs" it adds up dramatically. I understand all the "what ifs" but when you put thoguht into it % chance of "what ifs" are extremely small in my opinion.

Like insurance that I pay for everything at home, in all reality its a huge waste of money till you need it and if all is well you are just throwing $$$$ away.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by setablaze View Post
Just got off the phone with helpful man at local post office that handles passports and such. He said "closed loop cruise" is a very loose definition. A BC gets you in and out of your own house (USA) but if any country we come into port requires a pass port to enter/deboard ship a BC will NOT do. A BC is good in US territories. Simply explained a BC gets me in and out of my own house (USA) but a passport or passport card is needed to enter foriegn countries, like Mexico possibly, when you get off of the ship. So at mininum I think I need a passport card, which is specifically good for land crossings and sea ports but NO International air travel.

Huge cost difference. I have read alot about "what ifs" on several different subjects like passports, book your own shore excursions and room upgrades. If you start keeping track of the money spent on "what ifs" it adds up dramatically. I understand all the "what ifs" but when you put thoguht into it % chance of "what ifs" are extremely small in my opinion.

Like insurance that I pay for everything at home, in all reality its a huge waste of money till you need it and if all is well you are just throwing $$$$ away.
What is your destination and cruise ports? In all honesty, I think the only US based closed-loop cruise that DCL is offering right now that requires a passport is to Alaska due to Canadian requirements. The Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexican ports used by DCL all accept ID + BC.

Based on your logic, if the cruise destination doesn't require a passport, then the card is also a waste of money. If you don't want to spring for full passport books, then don't waste money on a passport card just because the post office said you should.

In the end it's your choice, but make sure you are making an informed decision. Post office workers do not know the rules at specific ports.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k8smiles
Great! Thanks for the info. Next question....we are sailing from port can. I'm not planning to get passports for my children. Has anyone traveled without them? Run into any snags? Txs
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScholarAndAGent
According to Dave Disney in his trip report, which can be found at the top of the trip reports forum, he just used his and his DW's birth certificates and photo ID. They were able to get abord fine. That is a lot of money to pay for passports, money that could be well used on the cruise instead.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Dizney
We just got back from a 4-night closed-loop trip a couple weeks ago and since our passports were over a year expired, we took the risk and just brought our birth certificates (with the raised seal) and photo ID's. I have to say, I lost a little sleep on the way down thinking that I'd get up to the counter and the nice cast-member would say "Sorry, these won't work" and then just dump my wallet with the other money that would be going down with the "flushing" sound.

But all was well and easy. We saved the extra $ and bought a couple extra drinks. I have to say, when I got my KTTW cards, I was quite elated!
You can find LOTS of threads on this topic if you run a search.

Bottom line? Do you HAVE TO have passport books, legally? No, as long as you return with the ship.

SHOULD you have them? Welcome to the great cruise debate. I, personally, would never travel out of the US without a passport. If you or your family members have an emergency that makes it such that you have to return without the ship for whatever reason, you are now in a foreign country without a passport. Getting back in the USA will require jumping through hoops, money, and time. Passport cards will not help you with flying home, either

So, if everything goes perfectly during your cruise, no, you do not need them. If there is an emergency back home and you need to leave the ship or if you or someone with you on the cruise needs medical attention in a city while on your cruise and you do not return to the ship, life gets much more complicated without passports. And of course, if you miss the ship.....

It's a personal decision. We would never travel to a foreign country without them, even via cruise ship.

HTH,
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