The Federal Maritime Commission Newsroom


Proper Identification for Boarding a Cruise Line Consumer Alert

March 14, 2012

The Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS) has received a growing number of inquiries and complaints from cruise passengers involving the refusal of cruise lines to permit passengers to board an international cruise without proper documentation. As passenger ticket contracts usually place responsibility for proper documentation on the passenger, cruise lines decline to reimburse passengers for the missed cruise in these situations.

To avoid missing your cruise and incurring additional costs, you should have a valid Government-issued passport and be prepared to show your passport to cruise officials when boarding. Some destinations will accept an original birth certificate as proof of identity under the following conditions:

  • You must use an original or copy of your birth certificate with a raised seal issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where you were born
  • Cruise lines will not accept certificates of birth issued by a hospital
  • Documents must be presented at time of embarkation

For more information regarding documentation requirements, please refer to your cruise ticket contract. Consumers may contact CADRS with any additional questions or concerns that they have regarding this matter at (202) 523-5807.