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Old 04-03-2013, 12:49 PM   #1
DCTooTall
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4 Day Dream Cruise - Passports or Birth Certificates?

So I'm still debating if I want to go thru the hassle and expense of getting a passport for my honeymoon cruise.


Most of the official recomendations I tend to see say "get a passport" in case you need to fly back, or because of general cruise guidelines that cover all the different cruise options.

BUT.. Specifically the 4 day Dream cruise, I'm wondering if i should get a passport for our honeymoon cruise. i've never had one before and I'm not sure if that $100+ would be worth it for me to spend on the passport since I'm not sure when, if ever, I'd need one again. (That $100 could be spent onboard). My Fiance also has one currently, but she's expressed a desire to not use it on the cruise because she wants to travel under her married name (Drivers license, Marriage Certificate, and Birth Certificate verified), and not under the maiden name on her passport (Not enough time between the marriage and trip to have the passport updated).


So.... What would you suggest? Do I really need to get a passport for this cruise, or will i be fine just sticking with my Birth Certificate as my documentation? Besides the extremely unlikely chance I'd need to fly back, is there any real practical reason or benefit from traveling with a passport instead of other valid forms of documentation?
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:03 PM   #2
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I don't know the itinerary for that cruise but if it says it's not required I probably wouldn't bother. There's very little risk of anything happening that would require a passport. Be aware this is not a popular opinion here so most likely the consensus will be that you should get it.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:28 PM   #3
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For such an itinerary, the only reason (to fly somewhere without a problem in case of emergency) is a pretty good one.

I don't consider it a hassle at all to get a passport; pretty fun, IMO. I still remember the day I got the picture taken for my first one, you can see my excitement about my upcoming trip on my face.

If I weren't getting one now, I wouldn't spend the money on the ship, I would put it aside. If you suddenly have airfare for, say, a trip to Scotland fall in your lap, you wouldn't want to have to scrounge for the money for passports.

How much time IS there between wedding and cruise? Have you worked out how she's going to get the certified copy of the marriage license/certificate? We had a week between our wedding and honeymoon cruise, and we opted to let our minister off the hook with the license, let him go home (from Portland to Seattle), and on Monday we actually stopped at the registrar's office in the county, turned it in, and got our certified copies right then and there. We didn't *need* them for anything; neither of us changed our names and we had passports anyway, but we wanted them.

Depending on how long there is betweentimes, I recommend doing something like that for you, too, to make sure you have that certified copy to prove she is who she's saying she is, even though that will be the ONLY thing she's likely to have to prove that.

(most brides with honeymoons directly after the wedding travel (internationally) under their maiden name, even if they plan to change names, FYI)
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:43 PM   #4
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All I can say is this--most Birth Certificates (unless they are government issued or certified) won't pass muster just to even GET a Passport.

Do you really want to risk some functionary somewhere deciding on his or her own that YOUR BC or marriage certificate just dosen't quite measure up?

Not likely perhaps, but possible.

Get the Passport---I did, and I am no big fan of Passports or the passport obtaining process.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:52 PM   #5
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We have done two Bahamas cruises with birth certificates. I'm not sure what pp poster was referring to. All birth certificates are government issued. I would make sure you have the long form which has your parents signatures, and the official seal. I know the long form is what is required to get a passport now. My birth certificate has my maiden name, and my DL has my married name, and it's never been a problem.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:05 PM   #6
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NOW they may be goverment issued, but when I and my wife were born, the government had NOTHING to do with issuing Birth certificates.

They were issued by the Hospital and then filed with the local health Department.

This was 1945 and 1955, respectively. And in Baltimore City.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:06 PM   #7
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I am more concerned about your fiancé than you. She will NOT be allowed to travel on reservations booked in her married name without a certified marriage certificate issued from the county; a copy of the license that you sign on the wedding day will not be sufficient because it hasn't been processed yet. If you are honeymooning soon after the wedding you might not have time to get the certified certificate. I did research once for a book on weddings and every single source said that brides planning on changing their names should NOT book honeymoon travel soon after the wedding in their married names, regardless of how much they want to be Mrs. So and So on the paperwork. It's better to be on the ship under different names than be rejected at the port with the same name. Save it for an anniversary trip.

ETA: The Oasis of the Seas episode of Extreme Cruise Ship had this same situation; the bride somehow managed to get one of her doctors who happened to have a piece of paper in her medical file that had both her names on it to fax that paper to the port. Without that, no honeymoon, no exceptions.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:07 PM   #8
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There was a report a few months back about a mom who had to take her young daughter off the ship in Nassau for a medical emergency. She had to deal with the stress of the situation PLUS the stress of not being able to get back home if the child had to be admitted and the ship sailed without her because they didn't have passports. (Fortunately for them they cleared her to go just before the ship was about to sail.) There's just no way I'd take that risk with a loved one. At least your wife could get use her old passport in a pinch, but you'd be stuck.

And they're good for ten years! Maybe you'll get the travel bug after this trip. Who knows what adventures may await you!
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ofinn View Post
We have done two Bahamas cruises with birth certificates. I'm not sure what pp poster was referring to. All birth certificates are government issued. I would make sure you have the long form which has your parents signatures, and the official seal. I know the long form is what is required to get a passport now. My birth certificate has my maiden name, and my DL has my married name, and it's never been a problem.
I think the PP was referring to the fact that now you have to have a very specific bc to obtain your passport. My husband's was a government issued BC but it was not good enough for a passport. We had to pay to have another one issued and expedited from the state that he was born in. Many BC were issued by the hospital and not by the government. ALOT of BC are rejected when trying to obtain a passport.

To the OP, I would cruise with whatever I felt comfortable with. For me and my family, that's a passport.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:11 PM   #10
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Your wife-to-be should take her passport just in case. She can use the other documents to board the ship, but if she needs a passport in an emergency, she HAS one, and she also has the other documents to show it is HER (birth certificate with that name, marriage license).

All birth certificates are NOT government issued, and that's the problem. Hospitals issue certificates that look official but they aren't. States and counties issues BC's that don't have the required information on them, including a seal or embossing, so they aren't official. Some people have been allowed to sail with copies, BC's with a maiden name, the unofficial certificate from the hospital. They are lucky. Are you in the lucky line or the unlikely one?

To the original question, on a 4 day trip to the Bahamas, chances are you'll be just fine with a BC. Low risk. Are you good with that level of risk?

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Old 04-03-2013, 02:18 PM   #11
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tweis: That is exactly what I was saying

And if the Passport folks are rejecting BC's right and left, what MIGHT happen when a local "official" gets involved and suddenly decides yours is no good???
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncleromulus View Post
tweis: That is exactly what I was saying

IF the Passport folks are rejecting BC's right and left, what MIGHT happen when a local "official" gets involved and suddenly decides yours is no good???
I definitely get what your saying. My DH was born in PA and had what we thought was a perfectly good copy of his BC but the passport folks didn't seem to think so. I don't know if it would have passed muster to board the ship or not but we chose not to find out.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:23 PM   #13
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To insure very important information such as will they let me on the ship with a different name because of marriage you need to contact the U S. Passport Office. Be sure to get the names of the people you have talked to and have them email/fax you the correct information.

http://travel.state.gov/passport/

Dis board people are great with information but the customs guy won't care if you say to him "they said I could on the Disboards"
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:24 PM   #14
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Get a passport. If something happens and you get stuck in Nassau its a royal pain in the rear to get back into the US. We're not the friendliest people towards those without passports trying to get into the US, citizen or not.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:44 PM   #15
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I would call DCL and see what their recommendations are for this cruise. Better to be safe than sorry.
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