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Can Felons Go on Cruises?

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Going on a cruise is a popular means of vacationing.  It is estimated that as many as 20 million people go on a cruise annually. Can felons go on cruises?

There are many reasons people go on a cruise.  Among these are that they are a great value for the money, they offer the ability to see multiple destinations in a single trip, and they are great for families.

The most popular cruise destination is the Caribbean with about 40% of cruises from the U.S. each year.  Of course there are numerous ports in many countries to which people can sail.  So no matter, a cruise is a viable form of vacation for many, even for felons.

This blog post will cover whether felons can go on cruises.

  • Types of Cruises
  • Having a Visa
  • Restricted Ports
  • Encouraging Felons to Go on Cruises


Types of Cruises

The first factor to consider is the type of cruise in which felons may be interested.

There are basically two types of cruises, closed loop and open loop.  A closed loop cruise is one that starts and ends in the same U.S. port while an open loop cruise has different starting and final port city locations.

For example, a cruise that originates in Miami and travels to Jamaica and Bermuda and returns to Miami is considered a closed loop cruise.  Felons may sail on either type of cruise, although the requirements for a closed loop cruise are less restrictive than for open loop cruises.

U.S. citizens going on a closed loop cruise can depart and enter the U.S. with only proof of citizenship.  This proof consists of an original or copy of a birth certificate and a government issued photo ID.

Open loop cruises require a passport, regardless of the starting or destination port.

A passport is not a government requirement for a closed loop cruise.  However, all cruise lines strongly recommend having a passport, and some require it prior to boarding.

Some of the reasons for requiring a passport are in case people miss the embarking of the ship and must fly ahead to a port to meet it.

Also, travelers may have to fly home before the cruise ends for medical, family, or personal emergencies.  They may also miss their ship’s departure from a port and have to fly ahead to meet up with it at the next port.

Travelers may also be required to present a passport to enter a port the ship is visiting.

Another important reason for having a passport, one which is crucial for felons to be aware of, is in case of misconduct on the cruise line or in a foreign port requiring legal intervention.

This could result in being removed from the ship or not being allowed to finish the cruise but being required to fly back to the U.S.  Having a passport in this instance for felons is essential.

An earlier blog post has confirmed that felons can obtain a passport while another explained that felons are allowed to leave the U.S.

Having a Visa

Another point to recall is that in order to enter a foreign country, most of those nations require an entrance visa, with the qualifications for felons to enter their country being outlined by each nation.

Felons need to remember to check out the requirements for obtaining a visa for each country the cruise line will visit.

It is important to find out exactly what is required from the cruise line and to ask the embassy or consulate of countries to be visited what is required in order to avoid legal problems related to their felony conviction.

Some felons may go on a cruise with the intention of remaining on the ship when it docks in a particular port.

They may think that this is a way to avoid having to deal with the requirements for obtaining a visa for a specific port.  However, each port the cruise stops at has the right to ask to see the visa of any guest on the cruise ship when it docks.

It would therefore be important to acquire a visa for each country visited on the cruise.

Restricted Ports

Another guideline to follow is that felons may not go on cruises that originate in a Canadian port or plan on stopping at a Canadian port unless they have applied for and obtained prior approval.

They can also not sail on cruises visiting the United Kingdom, Australia, or New Zealand due to these countries’ restrictions against felons entering there.

However, there are many cruises which travel to any of the 2000 ports worldwide.  A cruise that does not include any of these countries is quite possible.

The point is to be aware of these essential factors in setting up a cruise.  It would be tragic to book a cruise and then not be allowed to board at the beginning port.

Money may not be refunded, depending on the rules of the cruise line in question.

Encouraging Felons to Go on Cruises

Felons should remember to allow themselves the enjoyment of going on a cruise.

It is a way of seeing several countries on one trip and being able to reconnect with and strengthen bonds with family members.

Families of felons can encourage their loved ones to seek out a cruise to get away and see parts of the world previously not visited.

Your loved one is trying to establish a different lifestyle, one which is honest and does not involve crime.

They are also trying to strengthen their relationships with their families.  The results of going on a cruise can be extremely beneficial to felons and their families alike.

So what do you think about this blog post “Can Felons Go on Cruises?”  Have you or someone you know gone on a cruise?  What was that experience like?   Please tell us in the comments below.

Can felons go on cruises? Felony Record Hub

1 thought on “Can Felons Go on Cruises?”

  1. Hi Ron –
    Haven’t looked into this yet but saw your post. I am convicted felon (Dec 2014, malicious wounding) Caught my wife with an acquaintance and a mouthful…things went south. Anyways, I had 3 passports at the time – blue, red, and black. I haven’t contacted State Dept yet but can I just apply for a tourist using the lost passport rule? I was an intel officer for an agency around the DC area at the time. How can I do this under the radar?


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