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September 19, 2005

2006 Summer Sailings Are Selling Out Fast!

If you're thinking about an awe-inspiring cruise to Alaska or the Mediterranean next year, it's a good idea to move quickly and book your cabin now. The most popular sailings to these regions are already filling up for next year, especially for summer cruises. There's little downside to booking now, as there are usually no cancellation penalties until you get much closer to your sail date. This will allow you to take full advantage of price drops or even change your mind entirely. Just ask your travel agent for details on cancellation policies before you book.

Passports not needed for Caribbean cruises until 2008

Due to successful lobbying by Caribbean nations, passport requirements for cruise passengers will not change in January as previously noted here. U.S. citizens currently need to show a birth certificate and photo identification when traveling to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Citing homeland security concerns, the U.S. Department of State originally set December 31, 2005 as the deadline for securing passports. The change of plans is welcomed by the cruise industry.

The State Department has indicated that the new passport requirements for travel to and from the Caribbean, Canada, Panama, Bermuda and Mexico will go into effect no later than January 1, 2008.

New Orleans passport processing center update

If you applied BEFORE August, 25, 2005 at an Acceptance Facility in the New Orleans Passport Agency Region (including states AL, AR, GA, IN, IA, KY, LA, MI, MO, NC, OH, TN, VA (except DC suburbs including Alexandria, Falls Church counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudon, Prince William, and Stafford), WI and Puerto Rico, OR in Southern California (all Counties South of and including San Luis Obispo, Kern, and San Bernardino), Clark County, Nevada; New York City, and Long Island, AND you are traveling within the next 6 weeks and submitted your passport application from any of the above listed locations, THEN please contact the National Passport Information Center (NPIC), toll-free, at 1-877-487-2778 (TDD/TTY 1-888-874-7793) to get specific information on how to proceed in getting your passport.

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