No passport? No problem — here are cruises you can take without a passport.
Cruising is back after a few years of rough seas, figuratively speaking. Cruise lines worked behind the scenes during the pandemic, planning for their return to the world’s waterways. New ships, creative amenities, engaging shore excursions, a wide range of itineraries, and meticulous health protocols are now attracting first-time cruisers as well as long-time cruise fans. From mega-ships to smaller expedition vessels, there’s a voyage for every type of traveler.
If you’ve been thinking about a cruise — perhaps you received an invitation from a friend to join an upcoming trip, or you noticed a last-minute cruise bargain — you’ll want to make sure you have all of your travel documents ready to go. If your passport has been gathering dust for the last two years, it may be expired. Does that mean you won’t be able to take the cruise? Not necessarily — here’s what you need to know about taking a cruise without a passport.
You can cruise to quite a few destinations without a passport, as long as you have proof of citizenship and a government-issued photo ID. A variety of documents are accepted as proof of citizenship, including a state-certified U.S. birth certificate. A complete list is provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and their recent publication also explains the requirements for taking a cruise without a passport. Note that enhanced driver’s licenses are issued in very few states at this time, so it’s important not to assume that yours qualifies as identification and proof of citizenship.
The cruises must be “closed-loop,” meaning they begin and end at the same U.S. port. A one-way cruise that boards in a U.S. port and disembarks in a different U.S. port does not qualify. While you may leave and enter the United States on a closed-loop cruise with the required identification and proof of citizenship, you should be aware that some countries on your itinerary may require a passport. (Your cruise line should provide that information when you book your trip.) It’s still a good idea to bring your passport on a cruise if it’s up to date, but if it’s not, we’ve got you covered. Here are eight destinations that you can cruise to without a passport (and don’t forget to renew your passport so you’ll always be ready to travel).
Places to Cruise Without a Passport
The good news is that you can cruise to quite a few popular destinations without a passport, including Alaska, the Bahamas, Mexico, Bermuda, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Canada, and New England. Just be sure that your cruise begins and ends in the same U.S. port, and double check your identification and proof of citizenship documents.
The majority of closed-loop cruises to Alaska originate and return to Seattle. However, American Cruise Lines’ Southeast Alaska cruise boards in Juneau and returns to the same port after visiting Glacier Bay and several Alaskan towns.
Norwegian Cruise Line offers a seven-day cruise from Seattle aboard Norwegian Bliss with stops in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay, and Victoria before returning to Seattle. Holland America Line’s seven-day Alaskan Explorer departs from Seattle and cruises the Puget Sound and Stephens Passage.
Florida’s ports of Miami, Port Everglades (in Fort Lauderdale), and Port Canaveral (about an hour east of Orlando) offer the majority of closed-loop cruises to the Bahamas. In addition to those departure ports, Carnival Cruise Line sails to the Bahamas from Florida ports in Jacksonville and Tampa, while Royal Caribbean has departures from Tampa, Baltimore, Cape Liberty, New Jersey, and Galveston, Texas.
Disney Cruise Line offers a three-night Bahamian cruise from Port Canaveral aboard the spectacular Disney Wish with a day in Nassau and a day at Disney Castaway Cay before returning to Port Canaveral.
Closed-loop cruises to Mexico depart from Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Galveston. From East Coast ports, cruise ships visit the Yucatan Peninsula’s Costa Maya and the island of Cozumel in the Caribbean Sea. From West Coast ports, destinations along the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez include Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, Manzanillo, Loreto, La Paz, Guaymas, and Topolobampo.
Celebrity Cruises’ 12-night New Orleans & the Caribbean cruise departs from and returns to Tampa after stops in New Orleans, Key West, and Honduras as well as Costa Maya and Cozumel. Princess Cruises offers a seven-day Mexican Riviera with La Paz voyage that includes Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, and La Paz.
Located 570 miles east of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda is a convenient cruise destination from the East Coast ports of New York City, Baltimore, Charleston, Boston, Port Canaveral, Miami, and Norfolk, Virginia.
Carnival’s six-day Bermuda from Norfolk cruise spends two days at sea and three days in Bermuda. Bermuda Bliss, a seven-day Oceana cruise from New York City, visits Hamilton and St. George in Bermuda and includes two days at sea.
The Hawaiian islands are about 3,700 miles from the West Coast, so cruises from the mainland to Hawaii and back involve four or five days at sea in each direction. Closed-loop cruises depart from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and San Diego. There are also cruises that originate in Honolulu and tour the other islands.
Princess Cruises’ 16-day Hawaiian Islands voyage from San Francisco visits Hilo, Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui before five days at sea and a stop in Ensenada on the return to San Francisco. Norwegian Cruise Line offers a seven-day Hawaii inter-island cruise that boards in Honolulu and visits Maui, Hilo and Kona on the Big Island, and Kauai before returning to Honolulu.
Departure ports for closed-loop Caribbean cruises include Tampa, Miami, Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Galveston, Baltimore, New Orleans, and New York City. Cruises also depart from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Regent Seven Seas features the Wonders in the Caribbean cruise that departs from Miami with stops in the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Key West. Royal Caribbean’s seven-night Southern Caribbean Holiday cruise embarks in San Juan and visits Barbados, Trinidad, Tobago, St. Vincent, and St. Maarten.
Canada and New England
Canada and New England are typically grouped together on itineraries that originate in Boston, New York City, and Cape Liberty, New Jersey.
Norwegian Cruise Line offers a seven-day Canada & New England cruise from New York City with visits to Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine, before a day at sea and a return to New York City.