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Closed Loop Cruise Defined

What Exactly is a Closed Loop Cruise? Does it Require a Passport?

Closed Loop CruiseA “Closed Loop Cruise” as defined by United States Customs and Border Control is an ocean or river voyage that begins and ends at the same U.S. port. Within this definition, the cruise ship may visit islands or territories that are contiguous to the continental United States. Misunderstanding of what is a closed loop cruise often cause frustration when passengers try to disembark without having the appropriate documentation while the ship is docked in other ports.

Closed Loop Cruise Explained

Because cruise ships frequently travel in and out of domestic and international waters, the United States port authorities treat passengers traveling on a cruising vessel the same as if they were entering the united states from a foreign country.

A cruise ship that leaves from the Port of Miami for example must also end the cruise at Port of Miami to be considered a closed loop cruise.  Therefore, if the vessel departs and return to a port in the same state but at different ports other than the originating port such as leaving from Florida’s Port Canaveral and return to Port of Mi ami as the end port of the trip; this voyage is not recognized as a closed loop cruise.

This type of cruise arrangement evolved from the premise that many cruises begin and end at the same port in the continental United States. The major benefit of a closed loop cruise is that electronic travel authorization is not required for passengers on board the ship as long as the ship meet the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency’s definition of a “closed loop cruise.

do i need a passport to go on a cruiseDocumentation Requirement for a Cruise

When it comes to cruising, one of the most commonly asked question is “do I need a passport to go on a cruise?”

Document stipulation for a closed loop cruise and a non-closed loop cruise can vary. For instance, documentation for travelers on a closed-Loop cruise that only travel within the Western Hemisphere and return to the same U.S. port on the same ship requires that American citizens and permanent residents present a government-issued photo identification along with proof of citizenship such an original or certified copy of your birth certificate or a Consular report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization. Non-U.S. Citizens or permanent resident traveling on a closed loop cruise will need a passport or other valid travel documentation.

The United States government also stipulate that all U.S. citizens, including infants on a cruise must present a valid passport upon boarding the vessel for reentry after a cruise that…

  1. Travel through international waters;
  2. Stop at one or more foreign port.
  3. Start and end at different U.S. ports.

U.S. permanent residents must present a valid U.S. Legal Permanent Resident identification card, or “Green Card,” as proof of residency. Although the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency only requires permanent residents to provide their legal identification card, the cruise line may also ask these passengers to present a passport for boarding.  Because of the variable implications of travel, it is important to verify travel document needs with the appropriate authorities and the cruise line in advance of your cruising departure date.

Let a travel expert at help to find a one of a kind “closed Loop Cruise” or choose from an endless selection of cruise types and destinations. You can also learn more about the 1-2-Free special happening now until April 30, 2017. Call 1-888-804-CRUISE (2784) and, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join our InnerCircle for exclusive offers and cruise news you can use! Also, check out our new Resource Center, where you can receive expert knowledge from us before your next cruise or cruisetour!

The CruiseExperts team

Our team of cruise consultants and support staff, based in Central California, counts nearly a century of combined talent, knowledge, and enthusiasm in the travel industry. We’re not just another internet upstart; our seasoned team has gained the trust and business of thousands of satisfied cruise and land vacation customers from all over the country since 1995. We ARE the original Cruise Experts.

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