No Passport Required Cruises
U.S. State Department issued new traveling rules effective in the summer of 2009 that changed the requirements of whether cruise passengers need a passport. Before this travelers entering to Canada
, the Caribbeans, Mexico
and Bermuda by sea did not need a passport. Nowadays, a valid passport is, however, required to re-enter the United States
after visiting these countries by any form of transportation. On closed-loop cruises
, cruises that depart and return to the same U.S. port, passports can be substituted with enhanced drivers' license. Having a passport is, however, strongly advised in case you become ill or you have to return early from the cruise for any other reason because you might need to fly back and a passport is required for air travel. There, however, still are few cruises that do not require you to have a passport.
Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and therefore part of the United States. Americans traveling to Puerto Rico do not need a passport, a government issued ID with a photo is enough. Several cruise ships depart from Orlando, Miami, Key West and New Orleans to Puerto Rico. In addition, you can fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and then take a cruise from Puerto Rico to the rest of the Caribbean islands.
U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands is also a U.S. territory and, just like Puerto Rico, you can visit the Virgin Islands without a passport. St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John are all cruise destinations and many cruise ships sail to the U.S. Virgin Islands from Miami. Several cruises, however, require you to first fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where you can board the cruise ship.
As one of the 50 states of the United States, traveling to Hawaii is like traveling to any other state in the mainland. You only need a government issued ID with a photo. All Hawaiian cruises depart from Honolulu, Oahu, and arrive to Honolulu after visiting Maui, the Big Island of Hawaii and Kauai.
Many Alaskan cruises depart from Canada, most often from Vancouver. Americans are required to have a passport if they enter to Canada by land or air, so you need to choose a cruise that departs from Seattle, Washington, to take an Alaskan cruise without a passport. Few cruise ships also depart from San Francisco, California.
Eija Rissanen is a freelance journalist living in Hawaii. She has a journalism and environmental studies degree from Hawaii Pacific University. Her articles have been published in Kalamalama, the student newspaper of Hawaii Pacific University, and some other environmental and travel publications and Web sites in Europe and the United States.
Cruise Ship image by Wimbledon from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>