If you’re looking for a relaxing way to see the world, then it doesn’t get much better than a luxury cruise. Taking you seamlessly from destination to destination as you sip on champagne and cocktails, dine on gourmet cuisine and spectate at the nightly cabaret shows, there’s no need to worry about running for your connecting flight or making it to the terminal on time here – and a five-star cruise around the Caribbean or Asia is a great way to pack as many destinations as possible into a short space of time.
One thing you will need to consider before you travel, though, is your visa requirements for the trip, and visiting multiple destinations all in one go can mean there’s some work to do before you head off on your adventure. Although British passport holders can visit over 170 countries without needing a visa, many popular destinations still do require relevant documentation – even if you’re not planning to disembark.
Often, this can mean various trips to different embassies, and hours spent filling in lengthy forms, but online services like the recently launched Byevisa (www.byevisa.com) are a handy way to get things sorted without the headache. Allowing international travellers to get multiple visas, it provides eVisas for more than 60 countries all in one place, with applications completed in minutes via your mobile phone, tablet or laptop.
Making it easier than ever to apply whilst on the go, documentation is delivered directly to your inbox saving time, stress and energy – because let’s face it, luxury cruises are all about rest and relaxation, and we’d all like to keep them that way.
Peter Lavelle, travel visa expert at Byevisa, said: “Until now, obtaining a travel visa has been perhaps the most dreaded part of planning a foreign trip. Fortunately, this new service changes all that, and makes getting a travel authorisation as simple as filling in an online form. The process takes just a few minutes, and travellers can check their application status at any time, so they’re always in the know. Easy!”
So, now that we’ve got the process of obtaining your visas sorted, let’s take a look at the requirements for some popular destinations which do not operate a ‘visa on arrival’ service, and will require prior application before you go. It’s time to get excited about that five-star holiday you’ve just booked for 2021!
For British citizens, an eVisitor (subclass 651) is acceptable for calling into port, and also for embarking or disembarking. Although some cruise companies indicate that travellers aged 75 an over may require a medical before any visa type is issued, this is inaccurate, and is only the case if applying for a Visitor (subclass 600) visa.
Passengers travelling in and out of Canada by sea do not require an Electronic Travel Authority visa in advance of travel, and will instead be issued on arrival. However, if you are flying into Canada to embark upon your luxury cruise, you will need to apply for one online beforehand.
As Hong Kong and Macau are considered to be ‘Special Administrative Regions of China’, no visa is needed to enter – however, if visiting mainland China itself, then things are a little different. You’ll need a visa if entering via sea or air.
Some cruise lines and tour operators may include the Cuba Tourist Card (Tarjeta de Turismo) as part of your package and obtain it on your behalf – but it’s always wise to check. If not, as with most destinations, you can easily apply online with services like Byevisa.
India has some quite specific rules when it comes to travel in and out. Passengers joining a river cruise on the Brahmaputra or the Ganges can enter the country with an eVisa obtained online, though this must be done no less than 120 days prior to departure. If you’re flying into the nation to join an ocean-going cruise or disembarking a cruise in Goa, Cochin or Mangalore, then you can also travel on an eVisa – but only if your ship is not scheduled to dock at any other Indian port once it leaves.
Aside from these exceptions, all tourists on ocean-going ships visiting India are required to have a full visa.
All British citizens travelling to the USA on board a cruise liner must obtain prior authorisation, which comes in the form of an ESTA – and this applies whether or not you are planning to disembark at any of your voyage’s USA ports of call. This also includes Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.