Cruise lines such as Carnival and Norwegian are tightening restrictions that have, ironically, long existed regarding proper identification for passengers. “A policy has been in effect but hasn’t necessarily been strictly enforced,” says Carnival Cruises’ Jennifer de la Cruz. “The vast majority do show up with the right documentation but, historically, if you haven’t had quite the right materials -- a photo copy of your birth certificate rather than a certified copy -- we’ve cut you some slack.”
Under the newly enforced regulations, says NCL’s Heather Sheats, “we are not going to allow you to board if you don’t bring the proper identification.” Lacking the right documents, particularly pier-side, can be expensive as well as disappointing; passengers who are turned away should also note the fine print in their cruise contract which stipulates they receive no refund.
What is considered acceptable? A passport is a traveler’s best bet for any destination but cruise passengers heading to the Caribbean, Canada or Mexico can also use an original birth certificate or state-certified birth certificate. For kids, plan on equipping 16-and-olders with a birth certificate (or, ideally, a passport) and an official photo ID. Younger kids still need the birth certificate (or passport) but aren’t required to have that photo ID.
Ultimately, enforcing these restrictions that already exist just makes good sense in today’s atmosphere of enhanced security measures. “People wouldn’t expect to get on an airplane and travel to a foreign destination without proper documentation,” de la Cruz points out. “So why show up for your cruise without them?”