In order to leave the United States (and re-enter) on any major cruise line, you MUST HAVE A VALID US PASSPORT! The old days of a birth certificate and driver’s license are no more.
Yes, it’s a pain the first time, and you’ll spend some cash to get it, but in the long run you’ll be glad you did.
NOTE!! You MUST apply for your first passport in person. The easiest place to do so is at many court houses or post offices.
Two websites will get you all the information you need.
1) The State Department has a page that gives you all the information you need about getting your passport whether you be a first time applicant or are renewing. HERE IS THE STATE DEPARTMENT PAGE.
2) The passport “application wizard” is HERE. (Fill out the information online and print the final material you’ll need to turn in).
3) Finally, a postal service ‘check list page’, featuring all the steps you’ll need to cover, including photograph. The postal service page is HERE.
Bottom line, don’t let the process intimidate you. It’s a piece of cake once you get started.
(Editors Note: The Passport process can take six weeks to two months to complete, so plan early. A ‘Cruise Paper’ sponsor is a company called ‘US Passports In 24 Hours’. You’ll find a link on this site and for a price they can lower the turnaround time to as short as 3 or 4 days.)