Large Passport Book vs Standard – Does it Matter?

If you are preparing for a cruise vacation, you might wonder about passports. Here's our guide to a large passport book vs standard passport!

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Even though they are essential for planning international travel, many people overlook their passports when planning a trip. Whether you are taking a cruise for the first time or have set sail on numerous occasions, knowing what type of passport book you need is critical. 

Today, we will explain the main differences between large and standard passport books and compare the advantages and disadvantages of both types of passport book, so you can be assured that you have made the right choice.

While choosing between a large passport book and a standard passport book can impact your voyage, we are here to help! Learn the differences and get back to the fun of confidently planning your trip!

Large Passport Book vs Standard Passport Book

Physical Differences

As you would expect, a large passport book, also known as an extended passport, is bigger than a standard passport. More specifically, the larger version has additional pages, which means it has more space for customs passport stamps, entry visas, and other forms of travel certification. 

With American passports, the large version offers 48 passport pages, while the standard passport has 28 pages. For the most part, the 20 additional pages, so users do not have to worry about running out of space. 

Intended Use

As you would expect, large passports are more suitable for frequent travel and those planning a lengthy trip that requires stopping in numerous countries. On the other hand, the standard passport book is designed for a more leisurely traveler who only books international travel occasionally rather than multiple times per year.

US Passports
US Passports (Photo Credit: Chiara Sakuwa / Shutterstock)

If you regularly leave the country for work and leisure, it is usually a safe bet to go with the large passport book. The larger option helps you avoid running out of space and needing to apply for a passport replacement on short notice. 

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Type of Passport Book? 

Large Passport Book

Pros:

  • Extra space for stamps, entry visas, permits, and other travel documentation
  • Ideal for those who travel internationally for business and leisure
  • Offers peace of mind if a trip involves entering numerous countries or ports of call
  • Some countries have an extended expiry date for large passport books 

Cons:

  • Larger size means it might not fit in certain protective passport cases
  • Higher passport application and passport renewal fees in certain countries 

Standard Passport Book

Pros:

  • Smaller and easier to fit in a pocket or purse
  • Less expensive in some countries 

Cons:

  • Limited space for travel documents and travel certifications
  • Easier to run out of space if you begin traveling more frequently in the future 

Large Passport Book vs Standard Passport Considerations for Cruise Vacations

Cruise vacations differ from other travel types, as they make stops in different countries at regular intervals.

If you enjoy the unique blend of relaxation and adventure you get with cruise vacations, here are a few things you should consider when assessing your passport needs.

How Frequently You Travel and the Duration of Your Trips

Naturally, those who enjoy cruise vacations regularly, meaning at least once per year, will use their passport more than those who travel infrequently.

If you plan on leaving the country often, it might be a safe bet to choose a larger passport, as it will be able to accommodate entry and exit stamps, plus any travel visas you may need to enter certain countries.

Passport for Cruise
Passport for Cruise (Photo Credit: Ricardo Reitmeyer / Shutterstock)

While it is less of an issue for cruise vacations, as they tend to have short stops in foreign countries, those traveling internationally for long durations may need to apply for certain visas.

These travel visa pages can take up a significant amount of space in a passport, so it might be worth choosing a larger passport if you plan to be outside the country for long stretches. 

The Type of Cruise and the Ports of Call

While it may surprise those new to cruise vacations, you can take many different types of trips. It is possible to board a cruise ship where you will never disembark in another country. For these types of trips, you do not need to worry about using up space in your passport.

On the other hand, cruise itineraries that involve numerous ports of call in different countries and regions may require multiple entry and exit stamps. With these types of trips, a larger passport would ensure you would not run out of space.

In some countries and regions, citizens of certain countries, like Canada and the United States, may need to obtain specific travel visas. These relatively large documents are inserted into the blank passport pages, so they can quickly take up a significant amount of space. 

If you need clarification about visa requirements for an upcoming cruise trip, contact your specific cruise line for more travel document and passport information. Royal Caribbean also has a helpful page on its website that details travel documentation and visa guidance for U.S. and Canadian citizens.

Which Type of Passport Book Should You Get?

In case you are confused, either type of passport book will be suitable for an international cruise vacation. That said, you should ensure that your passport has room for all the necessary travel documents and stamps for your upcoming travels. 

Frequent travelers often find the extra pages you get with the larger passport book a better option. Rather than worrying that you may run out of space or will have to renew your passport and order another before a future trip, you can remain confident that your passport will work. On the other hand, if you plan on traveling less regularly, a smaller passport book should do the trick.

PortMiami Cruise Ships
PortMiami Cruise Ships (Photo Credit: PortMiami)

One thing that you should remember, regardless of the type of passport you choose, is that you must ensure that your passport is valid throughout your trip. If your passport is nearing its expiry date, ensure you apply for a new passport well before leaving the country.

For those who are unsure, we generally recommend opting for the large book, especially if you are a citizen of a country that does not charge an additional passport fee for the larger option. After all, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Final Words

Once you have received your preferred passport type and are confident that you have researched all the necessary entry requirements for the countries you will be visiting, you can begin packing for your voyage! If you are unsure what you will need, we recommend looking at our list of essential packing items. More importantly, remember to have fun and enjoy the experience!

Emrys Thakkar
Emrys Thakkar
The founder of Cruise Hive which was established in 2008 as one of the earliest cruise blogs in the industry. Emrys has been reporting on the latest cruise industry news since the site first launched. Expert insights and tips featured on a number of publications including The Express, Business Insider, and more. Worked for Carnival Cruise Line for 8 years and is well and truly dedicated to cruising! Has also been on a number of cruises so can offer an insight into the industry that many will not be able to do. What's even more impressive is that Emrys has traveled the world by visiting more than 34 countries, lived in China for 8 years, and cruised the Caribbean, Baltic, Mediterranean, Asia, and Europe. Find out more about us here.

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