Do You Need a Passport to go on a Disney Cruise?
One of the most common questions I hear is do you need a passport to go on a Disney Cruise?
The numbers of US citizens with a passport are steadily increasing every year. If you look at the statistics and go back to 1994 only around 10% of US citizens had a passport. These numbers have been steadily climbing over the years and now it is around 40%.
However, that still leaves the majority of the US population without a passport.
A great option for those people without a passport is to sail on a closed-loop cruise. US Citizens do not need a passport for a closed-loop cruise.
What is a closed-loop cruise? The definition is pretty simple. A closed-loop cruise is one that starts and ends in the same US port and only sails to Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Bermuda or the Caribbean.
Disney offers a number of itineraries which are classified as closed loop cruises.
A good example of a closed-loop cruise is the Disney San Diego Mexican Riviera Cruise.
This cruise starts and ends in San Diego with port stops in Mexico in between.
There are many closed-loop cruises that sail out of the port of Cape Canaveral.
The Disney Dream Bahamian cruises are closed loop cruises. Also the Disney Fantasy sails on Western Caribbean and Eastern Caribbean itineraries which are all closed loop cruises.
However, not all Disney cruises are closed loop. You will need a passport to go on a Disney cruise if you are sailing certain itineraries.
The cruise has to start and end in the same port. So the Disney San Diego to Vancouver cruise is not a closed-loop cruise.
Neither is the Disney Wonder Alaskan cruises as they sail from and return to Vancouver which of course is a Canadian, not a US, port.
Obviously the Disney Transatlantic and Disney European cruises are not closed-loop either for a number of reasons. They don’t start and finish in a US port and they visit somewhere other than Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas or the Caribbean.
Do Any Caribbean Islands Need a Passport to Disembark?
Even though you may be able to embark on a closed-loop cruise without a passport, certain places that you visit may require a passport to disembark at their port.
A recent change is that anyone visiting Martinique on a cruise will have to bring a valid passport if they want to disembark the ship in this port.
There are still many Caribbean and Bahamian islands that do not have this requirement, but you should always check what the current status is before you sail.
Should I Appy For A Passport for my Disney Cruise?
Just because you don’t need a passport to sail on some Disney cruises, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get one.
Sure, you will be able to board the Disney ship, but there are some circumstances where you will really wish that you had applied for a passport for your cruise. You really should consider getting a passport even if your cruise does not require one.
There are certain situations where you are really going to be glad that you have a passport in your name:
- If you have a medical emergency. If you or a family member have a medical issue on the cruise it may be that you need medical attention onshore, or even have to fly back home.
- If you miss your embarkation and have to fly out to the next port of call.
- You miss the boat. It does happen. A ship can only wait a certain period of time before it has to leave the port. If you are not on the ship, it will sail without you. Do you want to be stuck in a foreign port with no passport? It may be extremely difficult to get home under those circumstances.
This is why we always recommend that you apply for a passport for your Disney cruise. It really isn’t worth risking being in one of these scenarios without one.
For the official US Government website Click Here to find details of how to apply for a passport.
Can I Board a Cruise with a Passport Card?
Since 2008 US citizens have been able to apply for a passport card. This will allow you to travel by land or sea between the United States and Bermuda, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada if you are a US citizen.
However, you cannot travel with just a passport card for sailings to Central and South America. This would mean you would need a passport for a Panama Canal Cruise for example.
Why would you apply for a passport card rather than a full passport? The only reason to do this is a matter of cost.
- $145 total for a passport book
- $65 for a passport card
As you can see you will save a total of $80 if you just apply for the passport card. However, each is valid for a period of 10 years. Therefore the per year difference is only $8 per year.
As the full passport is of much greater use and the card has so many restrictions we really can’t see too much point in the savings so I would recommend applying for the much more flexible full passport.
What Are the Required Documents to Board a Disney Closed Loop Cruise?
If you are a US citizen of any age you have the following options for ID when you board a Disney closed-loop cruise from Port Canaveral, Galveston, Miami, San Diego, New York, and San Juan.
- Original valid U.S. Passport
- Original valid U.S. Passport Card
- Original valid Trusted Traveler Card (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- Original or copy of their state-issued birth certificate AND Government-issued photo ID
- Puerto Rico birth certificates issued prior to 7/1/10 are not acceptable
- Hospital-issued birth certificates are not acceptable
- Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State AND Government-issued photo ID
- Original Certificate of Naturalization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services AND Government-issued photo ID
Children 15 years of age and younger are required to present one of the documents listed above but do not need to present a Government-issued photo ID.
The Birth Certificate must be the Original or a State Issued Copy. A photocopy is not acceptable.
Remember also that this must be the official birth certificate and that you will not be able to board with just the hospital issued certificate.
U.S. Legal Permanent Residents or Green Card Holders
Guests who are legal permanent residents of the U.S. and have a Green Card must show a valid original Permanent Resident Card.
Again, it has to be the original. Photocopies of your Green Card are not acceptable.
Canadian Citizens (Including Children)
- Original valid Canadian Passport
- Original valid Trusted Traveler Program (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
Citizens of All Other Countries (Including Children)
Guests of all other nationalities will be required to present an original valid passport.
Many countries require an entry visa based on your nationality. It is each Guest’s responsibility to identify and obtain all the necessary visas before the cruise begins.
The bottom line is that you must have the required documents and ID to board a closed-loop cruise. If you do not, you will be standing at the port waving goodbye to the ship.
I once thought that I had forgotten my passport when standing at the check-in desk at the port. Fortunately, I was just worrying unnecessarily and found my passport in my bag. However, that five minutes searching was not the best feeling!
To check exactly which documents are required to board a Disney Cruise you should always check the up to date requirements at the Disney Cruise Website.
Will you be applying for a passport for your Disney Cruise?