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Cruise Paperwork! Make Sure You Don’t Forget Essential Paperwork, or You Won’t Be Sailing Anywhere…

In this article, we look at all the paperwork you will need when you are going on a cruise.

If you don’t have the things mentioned, you won’t be going on your cruise at all – so pay attention! Don’t even consider heading to your cruise port without them.

amazon basics document holder
Make sure you have all your important documents in your hand luggage


  • You will need a valid passport whenever you travel.
    • The only exception to this is if you are American and doing a “Closed Loop” cruise which leaves and ends in the USA.
  • You give the cruise line your passport details long before you travel
    • They may take your info at the time of booking or your travel agent may enter the details.
  • Check how long your passport is valid for
    • You usually need 6 months of validity on your passport, just in case you get stuck somewhere for any reason.
    • Double-check and triple-check the date of expiry
  • Do you need a Visa for the place you are visiting?
    • I need a Visa when I travel to the United States, and many other countries require them. Check as soon as you book what is needed, some take months and months to come through, and you don’t want a last-minute panic!
    • Cruise lines may be able to help you with this, but don’t rely on them. This is where having a really good travel agent comes in. They can advise you. You can also check on the government website of the country you wish to travel to.

Double-check and triple-check the date of expiry on your passport!

Cruise-Specific Travel Insurance

  • You need to take out cruise-specific travel insurance. Never consider travelling without travel insurance. If you broke your leg and had to be airlifted from the ship, this could cost you hundreds of thousands of pounds!
    • As well as covering accidents and illnesses, it can offer “Missed Port Cover”, or cover you if you lose your bag. Don’t consider cruising without it!

Travel Insurance – why you need it and how to get it

Find out more about how and when I have claimed on my insurance in the video below:

Claim on your travel insurance for missed ports

Things to print out and take with you

These days, most people have important documents on their phones. I like to also print a copy of some, it is just my luck that when I need to produce a document, I can’t get that document to load on my phone.

It will save you time in the terminal if you have everything to hand.

They can often just scan your barcode and it speeds things up. Print anything you can, would be my advice!

Things you might want to print

  • Luggage tags. If the cruise company give you luggage tags, it’s a good idea to print them and put them on your case when you reach the terminal.
  • Cruise E-ticket. It will save you time when you reach the terminal if you have printed it. They can just scan your barcode and it speeds things up and you may be able to embark and start enjoying yourself sooner!
  • Boarding Passes. If you have to catch a flight to your cruise, consider printing your boarding passes. Some budget airlines, like Ryanair in the UK, charge £15 to print one boarding pass!
  • Hotel Confirmation. If you are staying in a hotel the night before your cruise, print out the booking confirmation.
  • Car parking Confirmation. If you have pre-booked your parking, it might be a good idea to print out the confirmation.
  • Car Hire/ Car Rental If you are hiring a car for any part of your trip.
  • Summary page of travel insurance. I don’t print the whole thing – it is about 43 pages long! I just print the summary and make sure I have the emergency contact number in case I need it.
  • Proof of vaccinations. If you have had to have vaccinations to go on the cruise, make sure you can prove that you have had them.
  • Emergency contact numbers. For anyone you think you might need to get hold of.
norwegian epic luggage tag on bag

If you don’t want to physically print the documents, make sure you screenshot them or download offline copies so that you can always access them on your phone.

Other Essentials to Pack

  • Medication and your prescription. You might think you have enough medication for your trip, but pack more than you need and take your prescription just in case you get delayed and need more.
  • Driving licence or extra photo I.D. Often you are told you need to take I.D. when you disembark in port. Sometimes they stipulate that you must have your passport with you.

I prefer to not always carry my passport with me when in port, so if the cruise line says it isn’t essential, I will take my driving licence as photo I.D. instead.

It will cause me far less inconvenience if I lose my driving licence and have to get a replacement for that!

medical centre cruise

Before You Go

You might be wondering what happens if your cruise ship leaves without you – or you never make it to the ship in the first place! Find out more in the article below:

What Actually Happens When You Miss The Cruise Ship?

Medical care is available on cruise ships, should you need it, but it can be costly. Find out more about that here:

How Much Does Medical Care Cost on a Cruise? Real Examples (X-Rays, Consultations & More)

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.