Whether or not you’ll need a visa for your cruise depends on your passport details and which countries the ship will call at.

Thankfully, British passport holders are able to visit a large part of the world without the need for a visa. However, it’s always worth checking if a visa is required before you book your cruise.

Visa requirements can change at any time, so we recommend checking with CIBT visas, which is the global leader in travel visas, to make sure that you have the necessary documents.

Which countries require a visa?

The UK currently has an agreement with over 170 countries which allows Brits to visit without the need for a visa.

In fact, the UK passport is one of the best in the world for visa-free travel. You can check which countries are on the list by visiting cibtvisas.co.uk to see if you need a visa or not.

Woman and child walking along the beach in the sunset

How do I arrange a visa?

Passengers are responsible for arranging their own visas. The easiest way to do this is to apply online at cibtvisas.co.uk. However, if you have the time and patience, you can save a little money by applying to the embassy of each country on your itinerary yourself.

Here at Cruise118.com, we have an expert Cruise Concierge team who can help you to plan almost every aspect of your own cruise holiday. However, we are unable to arrange visas, as that has to be the responsibility of the passengers.

Visa Documents

What happens if my visa is refused?

Visas can be refused for many reasons – the most common being that the correct documents are not supplied or are supplied in the wrong format. Even things like using the wrong colour of ink to what is specified on the form can be a reason to refuse a visa.

If your visa is refused, you should be able to apply again. However, this means you will need to go through the process once more, which can be time-pressing with your upcoming cruise departure date – Indian visas can take as long as four months to process!

If you’re unable to get your visa application approved in time for your cruise, you generally won’t be able to board the ship and won’t be offered any refund. Therefore, it’s vital that you have your visa approved in good time before your cruise.


Can I just stay on-board the ship?

The rules are different for each country and can be very complicated. Staying on-board in the absence of a visa may sometimes be an option in certain countries, but on the whole, you will need all of your documents in order to be able to board the ship in the first place.

If you plan to stay on-board without a visa, you’ll need to check with the consulates of the countries you’re visiting, as well as with your cruise line.

Visa requirements for each country

Each country has its own rules and regulations around visas, and these can change at any time. You can visit cibtvisas.co.uk for the very latest information and advice.

Some counties may have ‘special administrative regions’ where tourists can visit without a visa. Others may require visas only for air passengers whilst cruise passengers are exempt. You may be able to visit certain countries for up to 72 hours without needing a visa at all.

Examples of countries with unusual visa requirements include:

Russia visa requirements

Visa applicants looking to travel to Russia are required to submit fingerprints at a visa application centre. These can be found in London, Manchester or Edinburgh. However, it is possible to avoid this by booking excursions which include a visa in the excursion ticket. These are available from the cruise lines, or from authorised excursion providers such as ShoreExcursionsGroup.com.

India visa requirements

Indian visas can take up to 120 days to process, which can be long-winded and tricky. If you’re looking for a last-minute cruise which includes India, you should ideally have your visa in place before you set your heart on booking.

Cuba visa requirements

An alternative to a visa in Cuba is the Cuba Tourist Card. These can be purchased from your cruise line for around $75pp, which is cheaper than the visa. Depending on which cruise line you sail with, you may be required to book one of their excursions on each day that the ship docks in Cuba.

Arrange a visa for your cruise

Passport on wooden table

If you have any doubts around visas, our advice is always to visit cibtvisas.co.uk for the latest information, and to ensure that you have any visas in place in plenty of time before your cruise.

If you’d like help with any other aspect of arranging your cruise holiday, please don’t hesitate to give our team of expert Cruise Concierge a call on 0808 1234 118.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

6 Responses to “How to arrange a visa for a cruise”

  1. Magdalena

    hello, Happy Christams time. I have visiting your website and could not find any information regariding my questions: we would like to go to the cruise from Uk to Barbados, Puerto rico, Dominica and US virgin island but my husbans has nigerian passport with UK permint visa and schengen visa as well, so i wondering how we can arrange all his visa to give him allow go for this cruise. please can you give me some advise. thnk you

  2. Prussell

    We are going on a cruise from Sydney Australia up the coast and visiting Bali for 2days and cruise ends in Singapore what I vidas do we require we hold a full UK passport.

  3. Rebecca Vines

    We are sailing to the Marquesas and French Polynesia in Feb-March 2022. I believe we don’t need a visa coming from the United States but will need vaccination proof, ETIS, and possibly ESTA for entry. It seemed to me this was for flights and I can’t find the requirements for cruise ships. Can you verify this includes cruise ships and if they will administer a covid test and how do get this done?
    Thank you,
    Becky Vines


    Hi, I’m a Malaysian and will be traveling to Colombia in March for a few hours via cruise, do I need visa for less then a day ?


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