A passport is required for travel to the Caribbean if you are visiting another country. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires that U.S.travelers must present a valid passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the U.S. If you are traveling soon, you should apply for your passport right away.

In other words, you will almost always need a passport book or passport card to enter the United States of America. Any international destination will require a passport to leave the US and to enter another nation, and then to enter the US again. You can get a passport book or passport card. It just depends on how you are traveling.

The passport book is valid for land, sea, and air travel. The passport card is not valid for air travel, only land and sea. The passport card is the size of a drivers license and fits in your wallet. It is meant for people who live and work near the border, as you can ONLY use the passport card for travel by land and sea. It is more convenient than carrying your passport while traveling anywhere internationally. The passport card is only accepted at border crossings by land or sea to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Do you need a passport to go to the Caribbean?

It depends on your destination, but most likely you will need a passport. Vacations To Go keeps a current list of the cruise lines that now require a passport for all sailings, regardless of destination or port of departure. The list includes: Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Cunard, Fred. Olsen, Hurtigruten, Oceania, P&O, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Seabourn, Silversea, Star Clippers, Swan Hellenic, Voyages of Discovery and Windstar.

Of course, make sure to check with your cruise line to ensure that you have all the proper and required documents.

closed-loop cruise is a cruise that begins and ends at the same U.S. port. Many cruises that have this itinerary may not require a passport. You may still want to have a valid passport for a closed loop cruise. If there are any issues on your cruise, you will not be allowed to travel by plane. That may mean waiting for the next boat to come and help you with whatever situation has arisen.

Proof of citizenship may also be presented for closed-loop-cruises. This is often an original or certified copy of the birth certificate. If the traveler is 16 or older, a government issued photo ID will also be required. If the child is a newborn and the actual birth certificate has not arrived from the Vital Records Department, it may be permissible to use a hospital issued birth certificate.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Many cruise lines require a passport nevertheless. The reason is that one of the destinations on your cruise itinerary may require all travelers to have a valid passport. Additionally, cruise lines do not want to be help liable if you are denied entry to a destination on your cruise because you did not have proper documentation.

What About a Passport for the Bahamas?

Always check with the government of the destination country. The Bahamas requires a valid U.S. Passport in order to enter The Bahamas. This is a requirement set by the government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas as well as the U.S. Department of State. While no visa is required to visit the Bahamas, you must have at least two pages blank for the entry stamp. If you are out of blank passport pages, you need to renew your passport. Please do so before your trip or you’ll risk missing your cruise.