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Important documentation

Remembering to take the following pieces of documentation and paperwork is essential before you choose to cruise. Once all your documentation and your passport are packed and you’re ready to go, you can embark on your cruise and fully enjoy what the ship and its destinations have to offer.

Passports

Passports are an essential must-pack item for anyone looking to go away on holiday. Before you go away on your cruise, make sure you have a valid passport for the time of your travel. If not, leave enough time to apply and to get one sent to you.

Note that: – Irish infants up to the age of 3 are issued with a 3-year passport
– It is no longer possible for children to be included on their parent’s passport
– Obtaining a full British or Irish passport normally takes about 3 weeks, but you should allow longer at busier holiday or seasonal times of the year, especially between April and September.
– Replace your passport if it has more than reasonable wear and tear as you may not be allowed to travel with it.

If anyone in your travelling party does not have a passport, we recommend that you apply for one no later than six weeks before you’re due to travel. The Passport Service must confirm your identity before issuing your first passport and you may have to attend an interview with them.

If you are already in the UK and need a passport either the same day or the same week, you have to book and appointment with the Passport Service. Once you’ve had your appointment, you can receive your passport within the same day or up to a week after your meeting date.

Go to the direct.gov website for further information.

 

VISAs

Depending on your itinerary, there may different visa requirements for each country. Although most have the same strict requirements and rules, it’s always best to check, especially as passengers who do not possess the proper documentation may be prevented from boarding their ship or from disembarking in certain countries. VISA companies such as VISACentral offer you up-to-date information on the type of VISA you need and other entry requirements.

 

Travelling to the USA

If you’ve travelled to America in the past, you might have had to complete your immigration card on-board your flight or cruise which would allow you to enter providing you fulfilled the other requirements, such as passport validity and no criminal record. However, this system has now been replaced with ESTA.

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to the US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and whether such visits pose any law enforcement or security risk.

The US VWP allows most British Citizen passport holders to visit the US for up to 90 days without a visa. However, if you’re arriving by air or sea, you must get an authorisation through the ESTA system before you travel. All eligible travellers who wish to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorisation and then pay a fee.

ESTA is now a mandatory requirement in order to board any ship/flight which will call at a US port of entry (including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) and is also required if arriving in the US in transit to another country. All travel operators are strictly adhering to this regulation.

To apply for authorisation to travel to the United States, please log on to the ESTA web-based system and complete an application online providing the eligibility information required.

Airlines ensure ESTA information has been completed at check-in. For cruise check-in, passengers will need to bring a printed copy of their ESTA approval and present this at the pier when checking in for a cruise that will call/finish at any US port/

Please note:

  • Once approved, your ESTA lasts for 2 years, unless certain information changes in that time.
  • You can apply without having definite plans to travel to the US.
  • You do not need to update the ESTA application with the details of your flight/cruise etc or address whilst in the US.
  • It does not guarantee you admission to the US, this will be determined at the point of entry, as has always been the case.
  • Every member of a travelling party must have their own ESTA approval.
  • There is a charge payable by credit card.
  • Dept of Homeland Security recommends that ESTA applications are submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel.
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