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Have you ever found yourself with a few days to spare and an overwhelming desire to escape to the balmy Caribbean, or on an Alaskan adventure, then realized that you don’t have a passport, or your passport has expired? As a U.S. citizen, you can take advantage of the convenience of what’s called a closed-loop cruise—with no passport required.

What is a closed-loop cruise?

Closed loop cruise - Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

A closed-loop cruise is a cruise that departs and ends in the same U.S. port; for example, Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale, or round-trip to Alaska from Seattle.

These cruises have to meet certain criteria to qualify. Every voyage on a ship that’s not U.S. flagged, departing from and returning to a U.S. port must, according to maritime law, visit one foreign port of call. This is why you’ll find Alaska cruises stopping in Vancouver, or Western Caribbean cruises calling in at Cancun.

To qualify as closed-loop cruises, the places these itineraries can include must be contiguous territories of the United States. That includes Mexico and Canada, because both share land borders with the U.S., and several of the islands of the Caribbean.

Do I need a passport for a closed-loop cruise?

Man eating key lime pie

Key West, Florida

In most cases, you don’t need a passport for a closed-loop cruise. This is one of the reasons why these itineraries are so popular. You can, of course, use your passport or passport card as an ID if you have one. But in the case of closed-loop cruises, U.S. citizens are allowed to enter or depart the country with proof of citizenship.

According to U.S. Customs & Border Protection, this includes an Enhanced Driver’s License, which is a state-issued driver’s license that provides proof of identity and U.S. citizenship; a government-issued birth certificate (issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where the person was born) or passport; and if 16 or older, a government-issued driver’s license or picture ID denoting photo, name, and date of birth.

The Enhanced Driver’s License allows you to re-enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean and is valid at land and sea border crossings but not airports.

Different documentation is acceptable for minors under 16, including an original, notarized, or certified copy of their birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization. Voter registration cards and Social Security cards are not considered proof of citizenship.

People hanging out at a beach in Falmouth

Falmouth, Jamaica

There are different rules if you’re a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the U.S. While the U.S. government does not require you to have a passport, destinations on the itinerary may have different rules, so it’s always advisable to check.

If you are an LPR, you’ll need your I-551, or Green Card, to re-enter the U.S. And if you’re not a U.S. citizen or a U.S. LPR, you’ll need a passport regardless of whether you’re on a closed-loop cruise or not.

If you do choose to take advantage of this opportunity to travel without a passport, there are a couple of warnings to bear in mind. Say, for example, something goes wrong and you have to return to the U.S. by air. In this case, you’d need a passport to board a flight.

Also, if you miss the ship in one of the ports, you’ll have to make your own way home or to catch up with the cruise, which could be difficult without a passport. If you book an excursion through Celebrity Cruises, that won’t happen, since the ship is guaranteed to wait for you.

What are some of the best closed-loop cruise itineraries?

Fort Lauderdale to Perfect Day at CocoCay

Closed loop cruise - CocoCay

CocoCay, Bahamas

Sail round-trip from Fort Lauderdale to the sunny Bahamas on a getaway that includes the award-winning private island of CocoCay. Depending on the itinerary, you’ll also have time in either Nassau, Bimini, or Key West.

Historic Nassau combines fascinating colonial-era architecture, like the limestone-carved Queen’s Staircase and the candy-pink Parliament Building, with dreamy beaches and a thriving culinary scene.

Join a rum tasting at John Watling’s Distillery, shop for locally made trinkets in the Straw Market, and relax on the long, sandy sweep of Cable Beach.

View of the shipwreck of S.S. Sapona, Bimini

S.S. Sapona shipwreck in Bimini, Bahamas

Tiny Bimini is surrounded by the clearest seas imaginable. Join a tour to swim among reef sharks, or go snorkeling over the wreck of the S.S. Sapona, now colonized by marine life and thriving as a colorful reef.

CocoCay is for many the highlight of a cruise to the Bahamas. Fly down Devil’s Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America, or kick back on the adults-only Hideaway Beach, where a DJ spins tunes all day and the cocktails flow.

Elevate your experience with a private overwater cabana with a slide to propel you straight into the crystal-clear water.

Boston to Maine & Canada

Beautiful landscape of Fort Williams Park, Maine

Fort Williams Park, Maine

Sail round-trip from Boston in the late summer and early fall, just as the trees are beginning to take on their brilliant autumn colors.

You’ll cruise the coast of Maine, calling at pretty Rockland, its rugged coast inviting exploration on foot or on two wheels. As this is the self-styled “lobster capital of the world”, you don’t want to miss the chance to enjoy a lobster roll here.

Across the border in Canada, you’ll visit Halifax, famed for its maritime history and iconic Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, as well as Sydney on rugged Cape Breton Island.

Old town of Québec City, Canada

Québec City, Canada

Our cruises to Maine and Canada also spend a night in beautiful Québec City on the St. Lawrence River. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the cobblestone streets and restaurants of the Old Town, established 400 years ago.

Don’t miss the outstanding Musée de la Civilisation and the famous Château Frontenac. While you’re here, remember to try poutine, the local specialty, which is French fries drenched in gravy and cheese curds.

Seattle to Alaska, the Inside Passage, and Dawes Glacier

Closed loop cruise - Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Spend seven nights exploring the wild beauty of Alaska on the innovative Celebrity Edge. It’s the perfect ship for such dazzling scenery, with its abundance of outside space and the thrilling Magic Carpet, offering uninterrupted views of Alaska’s forested shores and jagged mountains.

You’ll visit pretty Ketchikan, from where you could join a bear-spotting tour, try kayaking, join an expedition to fish for king crab, or just explore the colorful town.

Next, there’s a full day slowly cruising the 30-mile Endicott Arm Fjord, past tumbling waterfalls and chunks of floating ice that have broken off the magnificent Dawes Glacier, a 600-foot tall wall of blue-white ice. The spectacle of this vast river of ice meeting the sea is a highlight of the day.

Mendenhall Lake with trail leading to the glacier

Mendenhall Lake in Juneau, Alaska

You’ll also visit Juneau, the perfect spot for whale-watching, hiking, and thrilling flightseeing trips over snow-covered mountains. In Skagway, you’ll have the chance to ride the spectacular White Pass and Yukon Route railroad, heading high over rugged passes, following the trail of hardy prospectors from the Gold Rush days.

As the ship heads back to Seattle, there’s a day on board to relax as the ship threads its way through the narrow channels of the Inside Passage, between forested islands and rock-strewn beaches, with great opportunities for spotting whales and bears from your vantage point on deck.

There’s also a call at historic Victoria on Canada’s Vancouver Island, where you can experience a pleasing blend of elegant, British colonial architecture, cool shops, and craft breweries before you return to Seattle.

Browse Alaska Cruises on Celebrity Edge

Fort Lauderdale to the Eastern Caribbean

Colorful buildings in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

You’ll find a wide choice of itineraries and ships sailing from Fort Lauderdale to the islands of the Eastern Caribbean on itineraries ranging from seven to 10 nights.

Islands you could visit include pretty St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, fringed by exquisite beaches. Across the water is Tortola, the epicenter of the British Virgin Islands, famed as a paradise for sailing and watersports.

Turquoise waters of Grand Case, St. Maarten

Grand Case, St. Maarten

St. Maarten, shared by France and The Netherlands, gives you a taste of two cultures, although the beaches are exceptional whichever side of the island you favor. Head to pretty Grand Case for fine French-Caribbean dining, or browse the duty-free shops of Philipsburg on the Dutch side.

At Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, the culture bears Spanish influences in the language and architecture. Venture into the island’s interior to explore the rainforest in a 4×4, or to visit a coffee plantation to learn how coffee is produced.

Closed loop cruise - Barbados


Bridgetown is decidedly British in influence, with fine Georgian architecture and one of the Caribbean’s most famous cricket grounds, The Oval. In Barbados, go sailing, snorkeling, or even surfing on the island’s wilder Atlantic coast, or head to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve to observe green monkeys.

You’ll find fascinating history on St. Kitts, too, if you can tear yourself away from its gorgeous beaches. One of the best day trips here is a ride on the vintage St. Kitts Scenic Railway, which snakes around the coast and acrossthe lush countryside, following the route once used to transport sugar cane to Basseterre, the capital.

White sands of a beach in Antigua

Beach in Antigua

Everywhere in the Caribbean has spectacular beaches, but perhaps nowhere more so than Antigua, which boasts 365, so you’ll have plenty of choice. Dickenson Bay is one of the liveliest, with soft golden sand, while dreamy Ffryes Beach is the archetypal Caribbean paradise, with sugary sand and coconut palms.

If your itinerary includes St. Lucia, meanwhile, one of the best ways to admire the mountainous coastline, dominated by the twin peaks of the Pitons, is by boat. Join a sailing trip from Rodney Bay and take in spectacular views, the breeze in your face and an iced rum punch in hand.

Cape Liberty to Bermuda

Couple in Jobson’s Cove Beach, Bermuda

Jobson’s Cove Beach, Bermuda

Charge your champagne glass and raise a toast to Lady Liberty on this seven-night voyage from Cape Liberty, New Jersey to chic Bermuda and back.

As your ship, Celebrity Eclipse or Celebrity Silhouette edges out of port, you’ll have magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline as you sail right past the Statue of Liberty and then out under the iconic Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, setting a course southeast to balmy Bermuda.

Here, on this enchanted island where the sand is pink and the policemen wear knee-length shorts, you’ll have two and a half days to explore, which means two overnight stays.

Couple hiking the Railway Trail, Bermuda

Railway Trail, Bermuda

There’s plenty to do, from snorkeling to golf, exploring the shops and galleries in Hamilton, the pastel-hued capital, and visiting the island’s forts. Hike the historic Railway Trail, consisting of 18 miles of scenic pathway following the course of an old railroad line.

Set sail on a catamaran trip at sunset, or join a pub crawl of Hamilton’s bars after dark. One of the most unique things to do in Bermuda is to sample a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, the powerful local specialty made of dark rum with ginger beer and a slice of lime.

Browse Bermuda Cruise Itineraries

Fort Lauderdale to Southern Caribbean

Colorful street of Old San Juan

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Sail to the sun-drenched Southern Caribbean on a round-trip cruise from Fort Lauderdale of 8, 10, or 11 nights. You’ll sail either on Celebrity Eclipse, perfect for this setting with its lush Lawn Club, or the new Celebrity Ascent, with magnificent outdoor spaces in which to soak up the sunshine.

Ports of call, depending on your itinerary, include vibrant Puerto Rico, where an afternoon and evening in port mean you’ll see two faces of charismatic San Juan.

Explore the chunky fortress, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, and the brightly colored streets of Old San Juan, or visit the Bacardi distillery to learn about and sample the famous rum.

Couple looking at the lush scenery of Mount Liamuiga

Mount Liamuiga, St. Kitts

You’ll find plenty of military history at St. Kitts, like the rugged Brimstone Hill Fortress, a massive compound built by the British in 1690. This tiny island packs a real punch, with an enormous variety of things to do.

Some of the best things to do in St. Kitts include trundling through the sugarcane fields on a scenic train journey, or hiking Mount Liamuiga, a dormant volcano at the island’s center.

Learn how to make your own gourmet truffles at a chocolate workshop. Visit neighboring Nevis to see the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the U.S.

In St. Thomas, you’ll find it impossible to resist exploring the crystal-clear water via snorkeling, kayaking, or sailboat. For an afternoon basking on the gorgeous Honeymoon Beach, the lush, low-key island of St. John is an easy hop across the water.

Cane Garden beach in Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Some itineraries include Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Take a boat trip to sleepy Virgin Gorda and splash around at The Baths, where giant tumbled boulders conceal shady caves and shallow lagoons.

In Barbados, bask on the beautiful beaches of the Platinum Coast, where you can swim among wild sea turtles. Or explore Bridgetown, which is packed with high-end shops and art galleries.

Antigua, too, is famed for its beaches, like the wide sweep of Dickenson Bay. For history buffs, visit Nelson’s Dockyard, built in the early 18th century and beautifully preserved.

Beautiful landscape of St. Lucia

St. Lucia

If your cruise takes you to St. Lucia, prepare to be awed by the twin peaks of the Pitons, ancient volcanic plugs draped in lush rainforest. From Soufriere, you can explore bubbling sulfur springs and wallow in a natural mud pool with healing properties.

Adventure lovers should pick an itinerary that includes Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. Here, you can swim in natural rock pools at the 27 Waterfalls, or fly over the forest on a zipline. For a more serene activity, join a kayaking trip through a manatee reserve, looking out for these gentle mammals.

Browse Southern Caribbean itineraries

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Celebrity Apex

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