Passport/Visa Requirements

Member klee1446 recently posted the following review regarding an attempt to cruise on Ruby Princess:

" helped book our trip, they help fill out my mothers passport information because she was from Mexico, the young lady said she had to do the same for her mother. But never said anything about a Visa needed. When we were boarding the ship, we were informed that she could not go because she needed a visa. We could not leave our 73 year old mother in Seattle on her own, we just flew up the day before from California.

So we were told by Pablo that we lost everything we saved including the excursions we booked. We have never been robbed, but now we fell like it. Thanks"

Because her family didn't sail, the ratings provided in the review don't count, so we've had to delete the review to be fair to the cruise line and destinations rated. However, I wanted to share it here as their experience brings up an important reminder about Passport and Visa requirements for a cruise.

While a travel agent, cruise line or cruise advice website like us might offer guidance and assistance in meeting the necessary citizenship verification requirements for your cruise, responsibility ultimately lies with you -- the traveler -- to ensure that you've got all the necessary paperwork and met all the requirements to enter every country on your itinerary, as every person's situation is different. As klee1446's experience indicates, it's not a matter of not being able to disembark in a particular port; if you don't have the necessary documentation, you'll likely be denied boarding at the start of your cruise and will not receive a refund, and most travel insurance policies will not cover situations like this.

So, do the necessary research, verify requirements will the embassy or consulate of each country on your itinerary, and make sure you arrive on embarkation day with the proper documents, or you just might miss the boat.

Tags: Passport Citizenship Denied Boarding

8 Answers

Amen to that.

I am so sorry. Travel agents are usually good about advising on necessary travel documents.

I can understand the frustration of this family and the disappointment. If you haven't traveled out of the country in awhile, the need for visas doesn't even occur to you. On a recent Grand Voyage cruise, we discovered that we needed several visas for the multiple foreign ports that we visited. The need for one going to Australia was a big surprise to us. We had traveled extensively earlier without needing one. The cruise line could provide most of them except one for China. The application was so detailed that we needed to make several calls to ensure correct answers. All was well until close to the time of departure when we learned by accident that we needed extra pages in our passport that we didn't have. The passport people accidently cancelled my husband's passport instead of just adding pages. He received a replacement back just a couple of days ahead of the trip. It was very nerve wracking to say the least. I must add that they were very solicitous about getting it back to us and they paid all the fees involved albeit 6 months later.

So not only is it up to the traveler to know what is needed, you also must check that you have enough pages in your passbook for the needed visas. Even the cruiseline's don't know for sure how many will be needed. You will get different answers when you call. Now our passports are expiring and we have to go through the whole process again.

One of the reasons that I continually post links to sites like the CDC and State Department is that they are primary resources that should be consulted by U.S. citizens and residents when traveling. TAs and cruise lines are NOT responsible for passengers' due diligence in understanding and complying with their respective country's requirements. Can you imagine the liability if that were the case?

It is time for people to stop expecting someone/thing else to be responsible for them... and to stop whining about it when something goes wrong in relation to their trip. Failing to perform due diligence when traveling abroad is a personal failure... not a cruise line failure and not a TA failure. Basically, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

I think there is a an increase on reliance on others, and the trust that everything is set. from the smallest thing (not booking rooms correctly with 2 minors in a room that are not related) to the visa requirements. People have gotten comfortable with just an ID and BC, not knowing that if something happens (Illness or injury), you can't get back into the country. I still get that moment of "oh snap, do we need something more extensive??"

As a general rule, I do not believe anything unless I read it in black/white and then if I think it will be an issue, I print it out. Guess I am cynical.

No, me too. As glomarrone said, she didn't know that Americans needed a VISA for Australia. I didn't know either. I now know what I need to do to get one. Additionally, I did read that it was the customers responsibility to get the necessary VISA for any country that they need one for.

That is just being smart and covering your bases.

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