We all know a passport is required to visit another country, but a common question our Alaska Cruise Specialists are asked is, “Do I need a US passport for a Seattle roundtrip Alaska cruise?”
Being that Alaska is an American state, one would think a passport is not necessary for US citizens when sailing out of Seattle. This is true… but let me explain. Please note, the following information applies to US citizens only.
At the time of writing, all cruises out of Seattle to Alaska must visit Canada, which then requires re-entry into the US. If your Alaska cruise starts and ends in Seattle, a passport is not required. To board the ship, you will need your original birth certificate and a government issued photo ID such as a driver’s license. Kids only need a birth certificate to board.
The caveat, however, is you’re going to miss out on a scenic tour. When in Skagway, you are not permitted to enter the Yukon without a passport. And there are the “what if’s”. For example, what if you have to evacuate the ship and enter Canada for a medical emergency, but you don’t have a passport? You’ll probably have to go through a bunch of screening to assure border authorities you are who you say you are, resulting in delays. This is just another reason to get a passport, in my opinion.
In the end, what do our Cruise Specialists advise? Although currently a US passport is not required for roundtrip Seattle cruises to Alaska, it’s best to have one. The world political situation can and does change regularly and sometimes rapidly and regulations regarding passports can (and do) change as well. So for peace of mind and security – always carry a valid passport book.
Knowing all this, would you cruise to Alaska without a passport?