If you are planning travel for 2007 or beyond, please take a minute to review the passport and visa policy below. If you don't already have a valid passport, make sure you avoid the rush and give yourself plenty of time to apply for one. Once you've got a passport in hand and any required visas, the whole world is yours to explore.
If you are a British or Irish citizen (including children and infants), you must have your own full 10 year (5 year for children) Passport which is valid for at least 6 months after your expected return date. Please note that Irish infants (up to age 3) are issued with a 3 year passport. It is no longer possible for children to be included on their parent's passport. Obtaining a full British passport presently takes approximately 4 - 6 weeks, but you should allow longer at busy times of the year. If you or any member of your party is 16 or over and haven't yet got a passport, our recommendation is that you should apply for one at least 6 weeks before your holiday. The Passport Service has to confirm your identity before issuing your first passport and from May 2007 will ask you to attend an interview in order to do this.
The US Department of Homeland Security is changing the process for entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme. In the past, holders of a UK or Irish passport could complete their immigration card (I-94W) onboard their flight/cruise to the US which would allow them to enter under the VWP as long as they met the other requirements, such as passport validity, criminal record etc.
Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) - UPDATED JAN 2010
ESTA is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) and whether such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk.
From 20th January 2010, this has become a MANDATORY requirement to board any ship/flight which will call at a US port of entry and also is required if arriving in the US in transit to another country. Most major airlines, including British Airways are strictly adhering to this regulation.
To apply for authorisation to travel to the United States under the VWP, please log on to the ESTA web-based system at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov.and complete an application online providing the biographical and eligibility information required.
The airlines will be ensuring that the ESTA information has been completed at check-in. For cruise check-in, our guests will need to bring a printed copy of their ESTA approval and present this at the pier when checking in for a cruise that will call/finish at any U.S. port. i.e boarding a ship in Canada that will call at at US port.
Please note that we cannot accept any responsibility if ESTA applications are rejected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS.) Any rejected ESTA applications will need to be referred to the Embassy of the United States to apply for a visa to travel to the United States.
Once approved, your ESTA lasts for 2 years, unless certain information changes in that time. You can apply without having definite plans to travel to the US. You do not need to update the ESTA application with the details of your flight/cruise etc or address whilst in the US. It does NOT guarantee you admission to the US, this will be determined at the point of entry, as has always been the case. Every member of a travelling party must have their own ESTA approval. There is a charge payable by credit card. Dept of Homeland Security recommends that ESTA applications are submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel.
San Juan (Puerto Rico)
If a guest is going to board a cruise in San Juan and they fly direct without transit through a US airport and the cruise itinerary does not call at a US port, they will still need to complete an ESTA to gain entry under the Visa Waiver Programme to San Juan as it comes under the US visa requirements.
If you are travelling to the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme, you and all members of your party (including children) must ensure that your passport is machine readable. A passport is machine readable when there are two lines of letters, numbers and chevrons (“>>>>>”) printed across the long edge of the personal information page (the page with photograph and personal details). The machine-readable text will appear on a white strip on older passports and directly on the pink page of newer passports. If there are no such lines of text on the personal information page, the passport is not machine-readable. Since 26 October 2004, anyone travelling to the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme without a machine readable passport needs a visa to travel to the USA. If you are travelling to the US under the Visa Waiver Programme and are carrying a passport issued on or after 26th October 2006, you will be required to have a biometric passport. Travellers with valid machine-readable passports issued before 26 October 2006, travelling to the US under the Visa Waiver Programme can still travel on their existing passport. If your passport is issued after 26 October 2006 and it is not biometric you will not qualify for visa free travel but will be required to obtain a visa. For more details on passports, please ask at the time of booking or contact the UK or Irish Passport Office. Please note that this information is particularly subject to change, and you must check the up to date requirements in good time before departure.
Please note: Certain persons may not be eligible to enter the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Programme. These include, but are not limited to, for example people who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction and those with criminal records, (the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to U.S. visa law) etc. If you are in any doubt whatsoever as to whether you can travel under the Visa Waiver Programme you are strongly advised to contact the Consular Information unit, United States Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE or U.S. Embassy Dublin 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 or visit www.usembassy.org.uk before you book your holiday with us.
Passengers arriving in the US will have a digital photograph taken, and have electronic finger prints taken. If you would like further information, please ask at the time of booking or contact the UK / Irish Passport Office or US Embassy.
ELECTRONIC SYSTEM FOR TRAVEL AUTHORISATION (ESTA) ESTA is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) and whether such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk. To apply for authorisation to travel to the United States under the VWP, travellers will log on to the ESTA web-based system and complete an application online providing the biographical and eligibility information required on the paper I-94W form. The ESTA web-based system will be available for voluntary applications after Aug 1 2008. It is anticipated that implementation of the ESTA as mandatory will begin on Jan 12, 2009. To qualify for the ESTA authorisation process, please log on to the ESTA website at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov
VISAS Please note that there may be a visa requirement for your cruise, particularly if you are visiting countries in Asia or Australia. We recommend that you contact our recommended visa agent, The Visa Company, for advice and to purchase the most up to date visa requirements for your cruise. Established in 1997, The Visa Company is the largest visa agency in the UK. This online service contains up-to-the-minute information on specific visa requirements for all nationalities to all destinations, and handles over a million possible visa requirements. Travellers do not have the expense of travelling to an embassy or the hassle of standing in a queue.
To make sure you know about the visa requirements for your destination, please go online to www.thevisacompany.com or call the information line to speak to a visa consultant: 09065 500 740
The Visa Company are pleased to offer a special discount of 12.5% to Royal Caribbean customers when booking online. Please quote the discount code which can be found on your Royal Caribbean booking confirmation.
To speak with a visa consultant, calls will cost £1 per minute from a UK landline. Calls from other network may vary. At the time of going to print, the visa requirements for UK and Irish passport holders are as follows. Please note that these requirements should act as a guide only and are subject to change at any time:
China visa required prior to departure Please note that for UK Passport holders, on certain itineraries the port of Sanya does not require a visa and entry can be arranged on the ship free of charge. Irish Passport holders will need a full Chinese visa for Sanya. It is vitally important that you ensure you have the right type of visa for China; single, double or multiple. Every time you enter China it counts as an entry, so if you fly to China it is one stop, then on your cruise if you call at 2 Chinese ports, even if one of them is the disembarkation port, you will need a visa to cover 3 entries to China in total, so a multiple visa. UK and ROI guests holding full passports do not need a visa to enter Hong Kong.
India visa required prior to departure
Australia visa required prior to departure
Vietnam visa can be purchased on board the ship ($50 USD)
Cambodia visa can be purchased on board the ship ($50 USD)
Russia - Guests participating in a Royal Caribbean shore excursions will be covered by a blanket visa. Guests intending to explore Russia on their own will require visa per their citizenship to be secured before leaving home.
Bermuda - Guests holding a UK or ROI passport do not require a visa. Guests holding a passport from a different country must check whether they need a visa to enter Bermuda with an appropriate visa company or the Government of Bermuda website at www.gov.bm
Egypt - Most guests are provided with a Quick Trip Visa on board the vessel which is valid for 72 hours and allows entry to Egypt. This service is available to citizens of the UK and other European Economic Community members. Please note this service is not available to Israeli citizens.
Israel - Many nationalities, including UK and Republic of Ireland, do not require a visa to travel to Israel.
Jordan - Guests will be able to secure visa on board the vessel.
Oman - Guests will be able to secure visa on board the vessel. Please note this service is not available to Israeli citizens. For stays in Oman over 24 hours, such as Brilliance of the Seas will have in 2010/11, guests will be charged a visa fee of approx. $15/pp.
Papua New Guinea - Guests will be able to secure visa on board the vessel for a one-time fee of less than $50/pp which will be charged to their on board account.
Turkey - Intransit cruise guests do not require a visa for Turkey. Guests flying into Turkey to embark a vessel may obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport. Guests disembarking in Turkey will be able to secure a visa on board the vessel.
Dubai (United Arab Emirates) - UK and Republic of Ireland guests do not require a visa to enter the UAE as one can be issued on arrival.
Bahrain - UK and Republic of Ireland passport holders arriving by cruise are provided a visa on entry, for which there may be a charge.
China - It is vitally important that you ensure you have the right type of visa for China; single or double entry type, depending on how many times you enter China on the itinerary including embarkation/debark at a Chinese port, and most importantly whether or not calls to Chinese ports are separated by a call to another country. Please note, the visa ruling about leaving China within 48 hours is only for air travel and does not count for cruises. It is imperative that you provide the full details of your itinerary when applying for a visa and that you ensure they know you are on a cruise. UK and ROI guests holding full passports do not need a visa to enter Hong Kong.
Please note. for all the above countries, the information is correct at time of writing, but is subject to change at any time. UK passport info applies to British Citizens, holders of another UK passport must check with the relevant authority. There is often a stipulation on having a minimum amount of validity left on your passport to be able to get a visa on arrival, which can be up to a 6 month requirement. Again, please check with the relevant authority.
Alternatively, you can visit the relevant embassy in person to arrange the necessary visa. Please note that the above visa advice is for UK and Irish passport holders only. Guests who hold other nationality of passports should check with either The Visa Company or with the relevant embassy of each port of call.
Please note, to visit India on one of our cruises, a UK or ROI passport holder will require an Indian Tourist visa. The Indian High Commission in London outsourced the visa application process so please advise any guest interested to visit one of the websites below or to contact our recommended visa partner; TLCS (www.thevisacompany.com).
A cruise guest requires a Tourist Visa and when applying you are required to complete an application form. You may be asked to supply a sponsor in India for your trip and your address in India. Please note, this information is not required and you should fill out 'self sponsored' and 'NA' in these 2 sections. Your passport must have a minimum validity of 190 days from after the date of your visit to India and contain at least 2 blank pages. The length of validity for your visa starts from the date it is issued, so please bear this in mind when considering how far in advance of your cruise you wish to apply for the visa.
Canada Visa Requirements – Mexico and Czech Republic Citizens
As of July 13, the government of Canada requires that citizens of Mexico and the Czech Republic have a visa in order to enter the country. This new requirement was made effective immediately. Canadian government officials will only allow entry to Mexican and Czech citizens with a valid Canadian visa. Mexicans with a valid U.S. green card are not required to have a visa to enter Canada.
Guests from Mexico and the Czech Republic, who are scheduled to sail on a Royal Caribbean International ship listed below, may be affected by Canada’s new visa requirements, and should monitor this website for updates.
Where visas can be purchased onboard, guests are asked to complete the online check in process, including all mandatory information at www.royalcaribbean.com/onlinecheckin in advance of their sailing. Completing this information will significantly speed up the process for you and will avoid delays and queues on the ship.
Please also note that if there is requirement to obtain a visa prior to travel for a particular country, and a guest chooses to not disembark the ship, then the guest is still required to obtain the necessary visa. The only exception to this rule is Russia where a guest is able to stay on the ship in St Petersburg and not need to obtain a visa.
You must ensure that all guest's names (including initials) are exactly the same as they appear on their ticket as in their passport. If there is any difference, you may be refused entry onto your flight/cruise.
Passport and visa requirements may change and vary by destination. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any flight or into any country, or otherwise suffer any difficulties or incur any costs as a result of not having the correct passport and/or any required visa(s).
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of all necessary travel and health documents before departure. You must pay all costs incurred in obtaining such documentation. If failure to have any necessary travel or other documents results in fines, surcharges or other financial penalty being imposed on us, you will be responsible for reimbursing us accordingly.
Certain Port Authorities may from time to time ask to see photo identification when you depart the ship during the cruise. We strongly suggest that you take a photocopy of your passport in addition to your passport itself with you on holiday and carry the photocopy with you each time you depart the ship in order to minimise any inconvenience this may cause