(5:40 a.m. EST) -- Royal Caribbean is advising guests booked on its Southern Caribbean voyages calling on Martinique that as of 2020, all passengers will require a valid passport in order to visit the island.
Royal Caribbean said: "As of January 1st, 2020, all guests on sailings visiting Martinique will need a passport book (not a passport card) for boarding. The passport book must be valid for at least 6 months after the sailing ends. Passport cards and birth certificates will not be accepted and may result in a denial of boarding for both adults and minors. This policy changes impacts sailings beginning from and returning to the U.S. including San Juan, Puerto Rico.
"Guest should be sure to keep your travel documents and SetSail Pass handy. They’ll need them from the moment they arrive to the port, all the way to boarding the ship, so they won’t want to pack them in their luggage."
The change applies to all cruises visiting Martinique, including those departing from ports in the United States and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Currently, most U.S. Citizens can take so-called closed-loop cruises from the U.S. with only a driver’s license and birth certificate or a passport card.
Royal Caribbean notes that failure to provide the proper documentation at the time of embarkation could result in the denial of boarding for both adults and minors.
Carnival Cruise Line was the first line to mandate the use of passports on its voyages calling on Martinique earlier this year after the island nation issued new requirements for visitors. A passport is required even for passengers not intending to disembark in Martinique.
Having a valid passport on hand is a good idea on any cruise, as it covers any emergency situations that may arise from missing the ship to medical emergencies. Passports are required for international air travel from the Caribbean to and from the mainland United States.