Norwegian Cruise Line Urges Passengers to Use a Passport for Mexico

Norwegian Cruise Line is urging guests sailing to Mexico to have valid passports. Is this documentation required?

Norwegian Cruise Line has reached out to guests booked on upcoming sailings that include visits to popular Mexican ports of call urging travelers to have a valid passport, for a variety of reasons.

While it is not yet required for US citizens to have a passport to cruise to Mexico, there are several scenarios where it would be very helpful to have one, just in case.

Norwegian Cruise Line Encouraging Passports

In an email sent to travel advisors and booked guests, Norwegian Cruise Line is strongly urging that all travelers have a valid passport if their cruise vacation includes a stop in Mexico, even if the sailing is a closed-loop cruise that begins and ends in the same US homeport.

“Norwegian Cruise Line strongly encourages all guests to obtain a valid passport for any cruise that calls to a Mexican port,” the email reads.

It is important to note that a valid passport is not required for US citizens on closed-loop cruises from US homeports. This email, however, notes a variety of scenarios that could happen to travelers in Mexico – or other port of call destinations – where a passport would be required.

For example, if travelers miss the all-aboard time for the ship while visiting Mexico and wish to rejoin their cruise ship at the next port of call, even if that next destination is still in Mexico, they will need to present a passport for that travel.

“In addition, the guest will be required to pay a visa fee, a possible fine, as well as cover the cost of transportation to the following port,” the email explains. “Furthermore, if the guest fails to present a passport, the guest must obtain permission from the Immigration department to travel to the next port of call without a passport.”

Similarly, if guests miss the ship’s departure from its US homeport and wish to join the vessel in a foreign port of call, a passport will be necessary to either leave or re-enter the US via air travel.

Cruise Ships in Costa Maya, Mexico
Photo Credit: byvalet / Shutterstock

In the event of an emergency that requires guests to debark the ship at a foreign port of call, travelers will also need to present a passport to return to the US by air, as well as to complete the immigration process to properly disembark the vessel.

Ultimately, a valid passport can make any of these situations far easier and smoother. This can be critical for guests who find themselves in difficult circumstances after missing the ship or disembarking due to a medical emergency or other mitigating factors, situations that can already be immensely stressful and confusing.

These reminders and urging guests to obtain passports before cruise travel follow a several highly publicized incidents in recent months, such as two women injured in Cozumel and stranded without passports in September 2023. While that incident happened to Carnival cruise guests, it could easily happen to any cruise travelers.

Documentation Is Guests’ Responsibility

This is not the first time Norwegian Cruise Line has taken extra steps to ensure guests are aware of travel documentation requirements. In October 2023, at the close of the Alaska season, the cruise line reached out with a similar email to alert guests to documentation needs for repositioning cruises, even between two US homeports.

The cruise line also pointed out similar situations that could cause guests to miss the ship on their cruise, when a passport would be essential – illnesses, injuries, bad timing, etc.

Large passport book vs standard
US Passport (Photo Credit: Lori Barbely / Shutterstock)

Norwegian Cruise Line does especially note that it is travelers’ responsibility to ensure they have all proper documentation available prior to setting sail.

Read Also: Do I Need a Passport to Go on a Cruise? – Full Guide

“As a reminder, it is your responsibility to obtain required visas and other documentation prior to sailing for all applicable countries you will visit during your voyage to avoid any chance of being denied boarding,” the email said.

All cruise travelers should confirm documentation requirements for their cruise in the weeks and months before sailing, including requirements at each port of call. Different countries can and do adjust their documentation requirements periodically, especially as technology evolves and fraudulent paperwork can be an increasing concern.

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