Don’t forget your passport, even if you are an American cruising to your friendly neighbors in Canada, the Caribbean or Mexico. New rules require passports, and your border crossings are likely to go smoother, too. It may sound counterintuitive, but officials say that border crossings actually move along faster when passports are required, and as of June 1, passports – or the new passport ID card – will be required for returning Carribean, Mexico and Canada cruise passengers, even U.S. citizens.
These changes represent the second phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that started in 2007. The only exceptions are travelers returning on a “closed-loop cruise,” which is defined as a Western Hemisphere itinerary that starts and ends at the same port. In these situations, a birth certificate or drivers license will suffice, although it seems that it would be wisest to carry a passport