Cruise Travelers Without Passports Will Soon be Left on Land

CruiseCompete.com urges travelers to apply now to avoid rush for passports, required for cruises returning on January 1, 2007 or after

DES MOINES, Iowa, June 21, 2006  Travelers without a passport must pass on any cruises outside of the United States starting in late December, no matter what kind of great deals they land on their next vacation, according to Bob Levinstein, CEO of CruiseCompete.com, the world’s only competitive cruise pricing Web site.

After a year-long delay, passports will be required for all air and sea travel outside of the United States for persons returning home after Jan. 1, 2007.
This includes travel to Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Bermuda and other cruise ship destinations.

The Cruise Lines International Association estimates only 35 percent of
cruisers used passports as identification on cruises during the past year.
With more than 10 million Americans enjoying cruise vacations each year, this means a lot of people still need to secure proper identification for next year’s cruises.

“Under normal conditions, it takes about six weeks to obtain a passport, but who knows how long it will take if the demand surges later this year when people realize they need one,” Levinstein said. “Our travel agent-members booking trips for late December and next year are imploring their clients to obtain their passports now. Wait too long and they could be left on shore.”

Passports cost about $100 a piece. Wait until the last minute and it costs an extra $60 per passport to expedite the process, which still takes up to two weeks. One must apply for a passport in-person at the Post office or county courthouse. Passport forms also can be downloaded through the U.S. State Department’s website, www.travel.state.gov/passport.

Levinstein said that the upside of this situation is that there should be a glut of cruise inventory for later this year and next, especially for short cruises.

“It will be more difficult for people without passports to book cruises less than two months out,” Levinstein said. “We think this is going to result in a lot of cruise lines drastically reducing their prices to help fill their ships. It’s a great benefit for those cruisers who already have their passports in-hand.”

CruiseCompete.com saves consumers time by finding the agent with the best
deal for them. Consumers secure quotes for cruise deals from multiple travel
agencies without having to contact each one separately. To date, more than 275,000 customers have accessed CruiseCompete.com to request cruise
quotes from more than 200 member travel agencies around the country.
Agents have provided more than one million quotes to consumers.
CruiseCompete, LLC, is an independent company not owned by or affiliated with any travel agency. For more information, visit www.cruisecompete.com.

As reported on CNN.com:

“Using a cruise broker is the most cost-effective way to book a cabin. Rather than shopping around, go to CruiseCompete.com and enter your dates; several brokers will send you their best offers.”

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