Harmony of the Seas Docked on an Eastern Caribbean Pier
Harmony of the Seas Docked on an Eastern Caribbean Pier


Find out everything you need to know for your upcoming Royal Caribbean vacation.

Published on November 8, 2022

One of the great things about cruise vacations is that many of the details are already taken care of for you. That said, a little preparation goes a long way, especially for international travel. Here you’ll find all the essential pre-cruise planning info — including documents you’ll need and tips about checking in, shore excursions and more.



We’ve got you and your travel crew covered with real-time updates on any type of event that may affect your cruise, from weather advisories to operational changes that may alter your travel plans. You can always check back here for itinerary updates. It’s current and reliable to help you stay prepared and plan accordingly. We will also contact you or your Travel Advisors as soon as possible, should your itinerary be impacted.



While you’re packing your bags for your cruise adventure, it’s important to ensure you bring all the necessary travel documents. Requirements may vary depending on your nationality, age (whether you’re a minor or adult) and the country you’re visiting. Here, we make it easy for you with a clear, seamless and — most importantly — accurate guide for each port of call and country of origin. This way, you can clear up any questions you have about valid travel and health documents including passports, visas and vaccination certificates that you’ll need while abroad. We answer the most detailed frequently asked questions and include links that take you straight to the original source — like The Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization — so that you’re fully prepared for the best vacation ever.


What kind of documentation is required for cruising?

That depends on where you’re going, what your nationality is, and whether you’re a minor or an adult. Check with your travel advisor or government authority to determine what travel documents you’ll need for each port of call. Then make sure you bring those documents and have them ready with you when you board the ship. If you don’t have the proper documents, you won’t be allowed to board the vessel and you won’t be eligible for a refund of your cruise fare.

We highly recommend that all guests travel with a passport valid for at least six months beyond the completion of your travel. This will help ensure a smooth debarkation experience. It’ll also enable you to fly from the United States to meet your ship in a foreign port if you happen to miss your scheduled port of embarkation for whatever reason.

Here’s a quick checklist for travel documentation:

  • You’ll need to present a valid passport or other acceptable proof of citizenship at check-in.
  • You’ll need a valid passport to enter or re-enter the United States by air.
  • Many countries require an entry visa based on your nationality. Check with your travel advisor or government agency for details.
  • If you’re a minor (age 17 or under) traveling without a parent or legal guardian, an accompanying adult will need to present an Authorization For Minor to Travel Without a Parent or Legal Guardian Form, completed by your parent or legal guardian.
  • You’ll need proper documentation to board the ship.
  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the completion of your travel. Plan ahead to make sure you can renew it in time for your sailing, if necessary.
  • Please keep all travel documents in your hand carry luggage/personal bags as they will need to be presented at check-in at the terminal.

What are the benefits of acquiring and carrying a U.S. passport?

Not all itineraries require that you travel with a U.S. passport. However, for added security we recommend that you carry a valid passport with you. 

In addition to providing you and your family with approved identification for boarding the ship, having a passport prepares you to travel to any destination, should the need arise. Some examples include:

  • If you miss the ship at its scheduled U.S. departure port and need to travel outside the U.S. to meet the ship.
  • If you unexpectedly need to depart the ship from a foreign port prior to the end of sailing.
  • If an international port of call changes its travel requirements and unexpectedly requires all guests to have a valid passport to go ashore.

The Passport Card

The passport card cannot be used to travel by air outside the United States. It can only be used for land and sea travel beyond the United States and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region and Bermuda.

Unacceptable Forms of Documentation

  • Copies of any WHTI-compliant document 
  • Driver's license
  • A temporary driver's license (paperwork without a photo I.D.)
  • Expired documents
  • Voter's registration card 
  • Trusted Traveler Program membership card (NEXUS/SENTRI/FAST) - may be used for photo identification use only
  • Baptismal papers 
  • U.S. Military I.D
  • A Dependent Military I.D. is issued to the spouse and children of military personnel
  • U.S. Military discharge papers Driver's license
  • Hospital certificate, hospital-issued birth notice, Certificate of Live Birth, live record of birth or announcement of birth



Getting ready for your cruise adventure? Check-in speeds up the process at the port so you can get to the thrills onboard faster. It’s easy to do and you’ll get to skip filling out forms at the pier. You can check in online or with the Royal Caribbean International app* up to 72-hours before your sail date. The system will time out after 30 minutes, so double check that you have each of the six items listed below for each guest in your group before starting. On your actual day of sailing, you and everyone in your group will only need your signed SetSail pass, identification documents and the credit card that you registered with to board — it’s that easy.

Remember that you’ll need to present valid passports or other acceptable proof of citizenship at during check-in at the pier terminal.

*Check-in via app is available for select ships.


  • Ship name, sailing date and Royal Caribbean reservation number.
  • Passport or proof of citizenship and identification
  • Home address
  • Emergency contact name with phone number
  • Travel plans before and after your cruise
  • Credit card to use for your onboard expense account

Don't have the App? Learn more here.





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If you’re looking to score the biggest savings available for all your cruise essentials. check out Cruise Planner. This easy-to-use online portal is where you’ll make all your pre-cruise purchases, including shore excursions, specialty dining, beverage packages, internet, spa services and more. It’s user-friendly and unlocks access to the best pre-cruise prices on all your vacation add-ons. You can even customize your trip to fit your travel style with the Cruise Planner calendar. Broken down by location, date, arrival and departure time, it automatically populates as you make your selections. Plan before you board your cruise and start saving today.



Close your eyes and imagine your ideal vacation day. Maybe it’s snorkeling along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, or kicking back in a private cabana at Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas. Whatever type of experience you seek and whichever destination you’ve chosen to explore, you can discover more on a shore excursion. Search by port of call, region, ship or sail date and choose from all kinds of adventures — like scuba excursions, catamaran charters, local culinary classes or a curated Royal Private Journey tour.



“What should I pack?” That’s a common question we all ask when preparing for any vacation. While onboard the ship, the right look will vary by venue. You can check out our quick cheat sheet that breaks down the difference between casual, smart casual, formal and more. In general, make sure to pack deck-friendly shoes with low heels and comfortable walking shoes for your days ashore. Also, pack a few swimsuits so you’ll always have a dry one handy. We suggest that you carry any medications in their original prescription bottles in your carry-on just in case, along with 3 days of extra medication in the unlikely event there's a change to your itinerary. After all, preparation is key to a fun and safe adventure.



Now that you’re all packed, you probably have some questions about what to do with your luggage. Not to worry — we’ve got you covered here, too.

To ensure a smooth boarding day, we issue baggage tags and instructions electronically ahead of your sailing through The Royal Guest eDocs. They are ship- specific and include your sailing date, stateroom and deck number. To expedite your check-in at the port, we recommend securing your luggage tags before you leave your house. If you have misplaced your tags, Royal Caribbean Porters at the pier have additional generic tags available for your convenience.


You have the option to carry your bags onboard or check them in before you sail. For an additional fee, we offer a Luggage Valet Program that let's you skip traditional airport check-in. Your bags will be seamlessly transported directly from your stateroom to the airport and onto your flight — meaning you barely have to lift a finger. You’ll also be able to check in for your flight onboard and receive your airline boarding passes, luggage tags and baggage claim checks in your stateroom. This option is available for international and domestic flights, with the exception of Delta Airlines international flights.



It’s never too early to start thinking about which vacation keepsakes you’ll bring home from your trip. If you’re looking to gear up before your journey, check out Royal Gifts for apparel that will keep you looking sharp and ready to set sail. Choose from tote bags, pool essentials, plush towels and fashionable sarongs. Or if you’re celebrating a special occasion, make it even more memorable with room decorations, personalized shirts, in-stateroom sweet treats and beyond.



One of the most common things people ask about is currency. On the cruise ship, you’ll have an Onboard Expense Account linked directly to your SeaPass for any purchases or services. SeaPass cards are administered at the pier or will be in your stateroom upon arrival, depending on your ship. For more information about setting up your SeaPass. You won’t need cash onboard — we have ATMs on each ship along with limited currency conversion services for your days ashore. For foreign currency, we use the daily market rates published by the New York-based financial service company, Bloomberg.



As you’re getting ready for your upcoming cruise, maybe you’re already dreaming about where to go for your next Royal Caribbean vacation. We give you a reason to turn those daydreams into reality. NextCruise lets your plan a future cruise and score up to $500 in onboard credit while you're on your current sailing. You’re guaranteed to lock in the richest offer on any sailing with a deposit as low as $100 per person on select fares. There are other benefits, too, including the option to pay now and choose your actual itinerary at a later time, along with savings of up to 10% on future shore excursions. You can also book up to three cruise rooms for yourself, friends or family with the same benefits. Look out for the NextCruise Desk onboard or call us for more information.



Seamless adventures are now just a tap away for guests with the new Royal Caribbean International app.. The app makes it easier for guests to plan and manage their vacations, including access to daily plans and deck maps, reservations for dining, shore excursions and more. The app is free to download and use for both iOS and Android devices — no internet package is required.



Here are some tips to know before you go.


Got more questions about Perfect Day at CocoCay? Read our FAQ's.



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