In 2007, the federal government enacted new rules requiring travelers entering the U.S. by air from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean to present a passport, but those traveling by sea need only present a passport card, which is more convenient and cheaper than a passport book. If you want to travel without the hassle of getting a passport book or card, you can still enjoy the pleasures of a cruise vacation by traveling stateside or to a possession of the United States.
Because it is a commonwealth of the United States, Puerto Rico has the same travel rules as a state, so no passports or customs inspections are required. From the beautiful colonial architecture to the stunning white beaches, San Juan, the island's capital, is an ideal port of call. Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise, Cunard, Holland America, Norwegian and other cruise lines offer Puerto Rican vacations.
The U.S. Virgin Islands
Another U.S. possession, the U.S. Virgin Islands are also passport and customs free. Most visitors arrive in Charlote Amalie on St. Thomas, the most popular cruise port in the Caribbean, but St. Croix, the largest of the islands, is worth checking out with its sophisticated nightlife, rainforest and preserved plantation homes. Disney, Carnival, Princess and virtually all major cruise lines stop in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Stateside and Cruises to Nowhere
You don't have to leave the U.S. for a fun cruise. Alaska, New England and the California coast are the most popular destinations, but you can also try inland waters. Several small cruise lines offer trips along the Mississippi and Hudson rivers as well as other lakes and rivers throughout the U.S. Cruises to nowhere, in which the ship travels to sea and back again without visiting a foreign country, are another option.
Article Written By Jennifer Brite
Jennifer Brite has written about home improvement, design, and architecture since 2000. Her work has appeared in "Architect," "Kitchen and Bath Business," CMYK, "This Old House," and "AIArchitect." Brite received her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New York University.