What requirements do you need to meet to go on a cruise?

One family has a warning before you book your next vacation.

HOUSTON — Thousands of travelers are returning to cruising this year for the first time since the pandemic began.

But most cruises now have very strict requirements about what you need to show before boarding.

As thousands of travelers begin booking cruises for the summer, one family has a warning.

“I still cry all the time over it,” Blanche White said.

For White and Debbie Schwabe, a cruise on the Celebrity Summit, was supposed to be a dream trip.

They headed to Fort Lauderdale with their bags and documents. Schwabe even had her original birth certificate, driver’s license and COVID-19 test information.

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But as they were boarding, Schwabe was denied.

“They said my birth certificate wasn’t the right one,” Schwabe said.

The guard said her 1969 hospital birth certificate was not an acceptable form of identification.

“The said it was decorative,” said Schwabe. “It wasn’t state issued.”

They had to go home. Their dream trip was over before it began. They slept at the airport before flying home and were out $3,000 for everything.

“They wouldn’t help us,” Schwabe said tearing up.

Taking a Caribbean cruise is very different from going domestic sailing.

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Since you’re leaving the United States, it’s important to have every essential piece of paper, or you could be denied boarding too.

Travel agent Jerry Katz says a passport is not needed for most Caribbean cruises. However, Katz says, cruise lines typically require a state issued birth certificate and not a hospital certificate.

“That is a commemorative keepsake for mom and dad, maybe,” Katz said. “But it has no significant relevance and no citizenship relevance for anyone traveling internationally.”

Katz says his agents would have spotted the fine print on Celebrity Summit’s website.

Katz states that baptism papers, hospital birth certificates, voter cards, and social security cards are not acceptable.

We contacted Celebrity, asking if the women could get a refund. The cruise line only said they would investigate.

The bottom line is to check with your cruise line and not a third party agent as to what’s exactly required to board, so you don’t waste your money.

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