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Can you travel aboard a British Isles cruise without a passport?

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Passengers must present their passports or acceptable photo ID at the start of the cruise.  The cruise line will record the details - so for virtually all itineraries that remain within European waters, the ship does not need to retain any of the passports.  Throughout the cruise, local officials will view and may receive copies of the ship's manifest, containing passport details for every passenger and crew member.

Consider what would happen, if local immigration authorities at each port had to insist upon a face to face passport inspection.  Everything would grind to a halt, because It would take hours for every passenger to complete immigration formalities (which happens, when large cruise ships arrive in the USA).

Within Europe, the immigration authorities rely upon cruise lines to operate suitable security procedures.  That is why the procedures include passport examination prior to boarding.  Then, passengers can go ashore at most European ports without having to show their passports - and that includes disembarkation at the end of the cruise.  So when more than 3,000 passengers walk off P&O's Britannia at Southampton after a Mediterranean cruise, they won't even need to show their passports.  Furthermore, officials from the UK Border Force will board the ship, to process immigration formalities for non-EU nationalities.

Edited by BobTroll
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On ‎15‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 11:42 AM, Mcc said:

Yes you do need a passport. On Caribbean Princess Round Britain all passports were surrendered on board prior to the call at Cobh. Apparently then the authorities look at random passports regardless of whether they are EU or not. The rules appear to change every year as the previous year on the same itinerary and ship,  we did not have to surrender them, merely use them at check in.


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Most “Round Britain “ cruises include Dublin, which is not U.K. , and also some include Le Havre. For this reason a passport is needed  Also, if you like a “flutter” on holiday the two Round Britain cruises we have been on had all casino tables and machines closed for the entire trip. 

Edited by Dozydo
Wrong word insertec
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The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man have never been members of the EU.  And although the Irish Republic is an EU country, it is not within the Schengen Area.  So for historical reasons, the UK, Eire, the Channel  Islands and the IOM have always comprised a "common travel area".  In theory, you do not require a passport to travel between those territories.

There is still an open land border between Northern Ireland and Eire and although the UK and Eire are separate nations, you you do not need to produce any documents to cross the land border (in the same way that you can travel freely between all European countries within the Schengen Area.

But although it might not be an official requirement, the fact remains that all airlines and many ferry operators insist upon production of a passport or government issued photo ID, before they will allow you to travel. 

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