I had been on a Disney Cruise once before. It was a girlfriend trip, and we all had passports. Then I booked a last-minute Disney Cruise and didn’t have enough time to get passports for the rest of my family. Let me tell you, I was sweating it, because my husband did not have the proper documentation to board the Disney Dream when we left our home. So do you need a passport for a Disney cruise? Yes and no. Here are the Disney Cruise Line required documents according to them.
Disney Cruise Line Required Documents
From the FAQ on Disney Cruise Line:
What documents will be required when I check in for my cruise?
- At check-in, all Guests must present valid passports or other acceptable proof of citizenship.
- All travelers are required to have a valid passport to enter or re-enter the United States by air.
- In addition to a valid passport, many countries require an entry visa based on your nationality. It is each Guest’s responsibility to identify and to obtain all the necessary visas before embarking on the cruise. Because requirements may vary, Guests are advised to contact their local consulate or embassy for more information on required travel documentation for all ports of call during the cruise.
- The Guest who booked the cruise must present signed copies of the Online Check-In Signature Form and the Payment Authorization Form at check-in. You can save time during the boarding process by completing these documents ahead of time through My Online Check-in.
- When a minor (age 17 and under) travels without a parent or legal guardian, an accompanying adult must present a Minor Authorization Form, completed and signed by that child’s parent or legal guardian.
Passport & Travel Documentation Guidelines
- Under My Reservations you’ll find important travel guidelines and regulations relevant to your individual itinerary. However, it is your responsibility to check with your travel agent, government agency, embassy or consulate to ensure that you have all the proper documentation to board the ship and enter each of the countries on your cruise. U.S. travelers can visit the U.S. State Department’s travel website or call the U.S. National Passport Information Center at (877) 4USA-PPT [877-487-2778] for more information.
Important International Travel Advisories
- Guests without proper documentation will be denied boarding.
- Travel restrictions for each destination country may vary according to a Guest’s citizenship.
- Plan ahead to get your passport(s) early. At Disney Cruise Line, we ask that you provide your passport number at least 75 days prior to the start of your vacation in your Guest Information Form in My Online Check-in. Visit your “Passport and Travel Documentation” page for the information you need to apply for a passport, including how much time is generally required to receive your passport. United States citizens should also visit the U.S. State Department’s travel website or call the U.S. National Passport Information Center at (877) 4USA-PPT (487-2778) for more information.
- Make sure your passports aren’t expired or about to expire. Many countries require your passport to be valid up to 3 months after the completion of your cruise. Check the passport policies in the countries you plan to visit ahead of time.
Exceptions to the Passport Rule
Regarding Disney Cruises to destinations in Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Bermuda, there is an exception to the US passport rule for US Citizens.
US Citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port) and travel to destinations in Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Bermuda are able to re-enter the United States with proof of citizenship other than a passport or passport card.
Acceptable proof of citizenship includes an original or certified copy of a government issued birth certificate (raised seal and signature) and a laminated government issued picture ID (most people use a driver’s license), Consular Report of Born Abroad Certificate, or a Certificate of Naturalization. Baptismal records and certificates issued by a hospital are not acceptable. At least that’s what we were told.
What if You Don’t Have the Required Documentation?
So I made sure that I had Birth Certificates for all my children and my husband plus his VA Driver’s License. If not I would have ordered one through VitalChek, which I’ve used in a pinch. Long story short, I put them in what I thought was a safe place. When I went to pack the documents, I had them all except my husband’s birth certificate. Initial panic set in. I tore the house apart looking for it.
Next I called VitalChek. It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and we leave on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Sometimes VitalChek can get it to you that quickly, but because of the state my husband was born in, they have a slower process, and it would have taken at least a week with expedited shipping. In Virginia, I’ve been able to get copies of my children’s birth certificate from the DMV.
After more panic, I call Disney Cruise Line. They reiterated the required documents and said it would be up to the port officer at Port Canaveral. We were going on a 4-night Merrytime Cruise on the Disney Dream to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay. They suggested calling VitalChek. I had already tried that.
We then tried calling my father-in-law to get a copy, because he lives in the state my husband was born. Well in his small town, they only issue birth certificates the third Wednesday of the month or something like that. Needless to say, it wasn’t that day. I tried calling in favors from government friends. I was literally sick about this, because I did not want to go on a cruise alone with my 5 kids. Sure, we still would have had a good time, but this was supposed to a family vacation. And an expensive one at that!
Arriving at Port Canaveral
I took every other piece of documentation we had. We took our marriage certificate, an expired passport of his (just shy of 10 years expired), a certificate of live birth from the hospital that my father-in-law found in a baby book (not the same as a certified birth certificate which they specifically said they would not accept), and his social security card.
I was praying, almost in tears, wondering if my husband was getting on this ship. We arrive to Port Canaveral, go through security, and head upstairs to check-in. The cast member waves us over and immediately I go into my speech about what happened, I lost my husband’s birth certificate, this is what we have, can he please get on the ship…it was literally diarrhea of the mouth. I make sure my children’s sweet faces are there for them to stare at so they couldn’t possibly say no to them, right? They call a supervisor over. The supervisor looks over the documents, says the hospital certificate is fine, and sends us on our merry way…on board the DREAM!!!!!!
Moral of the story: Next time we’re all getting passports. I was thankful that it worked out, however it was a lot of stress and anxiety on that drive from Virginia to Florida. I’ve also learned to make copies of important documents, too, because you don’t need the originals to board.
If you’re heading on a Disney Cruise, have fun! And don’t forget your Disney Cruise Line required documents!