Real ID versus Passport Card for DCL cruise to Bahamas

My wife and I are toying with the idea of doing a three night DCL cruise involving the Bahamas. One question we have is if having a Real ID enhanced driver’s license is enough, versus getting a Passport Card. (Neither of us have a passport, but don’t foresee the need for one otherwise.)

You can cruise on that itinerary with a license. The danger would be if you have an accident or a medical emergency and need to fly back to the US. You would need a passport (not the card?) for that.


License and certified Birth Certificate are technically fine.

BUT as @PrincipalTinker said, should something happen and you have to be disembarked in the Bahamas you would have to go through the process of an emergency passport.

I personally never cruise without mine.

A passport card would be my least recommended choice. They really don’t have the widespread usage as a passport, but still cost more than a license.

I do hear you on passport fees. We had just renewed all six kids passports in 2019 with the expectation to get quite a bit of use in the next five years… oops. We only use them for cruising and going to Canada. :woman_facepalming:

Michigan’s Enhanced Driver’s License has Real ID already (one of only I think 5 states so far), and so I am trying to figure out if that is the same as using a Passport Card (meaning, no need to bring the birth certificate as well). It isn’t clear.

We do understand about a passport itself being advantageous in an emergency, and so we have to consider that…is it worth if for a three night cruise? Maybe. But first we have to determine if we will actually go! We have been watching cruise vlogs and have the Unofficial Guide. If we do, it will be on the new ship, the Disney Wish.

DCL does not differentiate state-issued ID/license by enhanced or not. Without a passport you need the ID/license AND birth certificate.

You can use a birth certificate with an ID. DCL has a required documents sections. Check there.

Yeah. We didn’t want to have to bring our Birth Certificate, so was hoping the Real ID enhanced license would work instead, since it supposedly has the same rules as the Passport Card does in terms of domestic travel and crossing borders by vehicle, etc.

I just can’t find someplace that confirms this one way or the other.

Look under the Travel Documentation tab. Real ID won’t work without birth certificate

I don’t think the Real ID has the same rules as the passport card? Real IDs will be talking the place of a regular state issued ID (usually a driver’s license). As of May 3, 2023 you cannot fly in the US without a real ID or a passport if you are over 18. You cannot travel to Canada with a real ID?

Right. But with a Real ID Enhanced Driver’s License you can. And effective May of 2023, the same is supposedly valid for entry by land or sea (for certain locations, including Bahamas). This makes the Real ID Enhanced Driver’s License sound exactly like what a Passport Card does. But they don’t list it separately…hence the confusion.

From the Homeland Security website:

Beginning May 3, 2023 every state and territory resident will need to present a REAL ID compliant license/ID, or another acceptable form of identification, for accessing federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft. The card, itself, must be REAL ID compliant unless the resident is using an alternative acceptable document such as a passport or passport card, or state-issued Enhanced Driver’s License.

It seems like the enhanced will allow you to drive to Canada and Mexico?

Every state must have Real ID compliant licenses by the deadline. Massachusetts’s and most states have been converting for years. The deadline has been extended due to Covid.

As someone who has a passport but did not covert my license on last renewal, and travels a lot, I have been watching this very closely. I cannot see anywhere that states you can fly into the US with an enhanced ID (only reason for a passport on a cruise).

It does seem like you should be able to cruise without a birth certificate with that enhanced license?

I wouldn’t leave the continental US without a passport, too risky. I don’t think Real ID is supposed to be a substitute for a passport, it’s for domestic travel.


Yes, I added to my post that it seems like what I posted about the enhanced you should be able
To go on the cruise with only that, BUT if anything goes wrong, you will not be allowed
To fly home.

My biggest thing is if you have a passport, THAT should be good enough to get the “Enhanced Real ID DL” but NOOOOOOOO you have to have a ton of other paperwork. I’ll just use my passport, thank you.

Plus having one opens up SOOOOOOO many options for travel!!! There is a whole world out there to explore!!

I think after researching it, it seems like it is not widely accepted or recognized. I think you need a passport.

1 Like

Yeah, sounds like it. Here in Michigan, it is very common because we just drive across the bridge to Canada with our enhanced license, even before Real ID was a thing. No passport nor passport card required.

Can’t confirm it, but as a former NYer I remember boarder states had increased crossing privileges with the enhanced license, which is different than REAL ID and it gets confusing.

Correct. Our license is both. Real ID and Enhanced.