What's So Great About a Passport?
A couple of you have asked this very question, or something similar, like “Cant I just use my birth certificate?” Under the new United States Coast Guard regulations, every passenger is required to show a passport to board our ship this June. If you do not yet have a passport, feel free to start the process anytime, as passport processing takes a long time. If you wait until the last minute they’ll be happy to help, but they’ll charge you hundreds of dollars to “rush” your order. I recommend starting the process about 5-6 months prior to your sail date to avoid any hassles.
Start by contacting your local post office and have them describe in detail what you will need to get your passport to avoid multiple trips. They are very particular! Know that you will need to have a passport picture taken (multiple places can help you with this… drug stores like WalMart and Walgreens, portrait studios, one-hour photo stores like Wolf Camera, etc. You’ll then take these photos to your post office along with your passport application and a check (to pay the passport fee).
Passports are good for 5 or 10 years depending upon the age at which your passport was created. And don’t forget that every member of your party, including children, will need to have a valid passport to board the ship.
I took our pictures on our digital camera (standing against a white wall) and edited them to the size illustrated in the pass port website. We had them printed at Walgreens for 19 cents. I’ve heard of the problems with pass ports from others, but mine was processed in 7 days.