What Is A Closed Loop Cruise?

The process of going on a cruise brings along with it a wide variety of different implications that many people don’t think about. When you go on a cruise, you are typically doing so through various types of international waters throughout the world. As a result, the United States Customs and Border Patrol will treat the voyage the same way they would if you were traveling internationally by plane, for example – and you will have to go through the same process as a result.

A very specific type of cruise, however, is a “closed-loop voyage”. It has a number of different benefits that frequent travelers and cruise aficionados will want to know about.

What is a Closed-Loop Cruise?

As the name suggests, a closed-loop voyage or cruise is one that begins and ends in the United States. As a result, the process is much more straightforward. If you were traveling internationally via cruise ship and is staying in one place for a long period of time.

The official definition of a closed-loop voyage is one that originates and ends in the United States. Though it can visit contiguous territories or islands that are adjacent to the continental US at any time.

It’s important to note; however, that for a cruise to be “closed-loop”, it must begin and end in the same port. Leaving from the east coast and returning to the west coast would not meet those requirements.

Acceptable Locations

In order to understand the significance of closed-loop voyages. You must first understand exactly what contiguous territories and adjacent islands are. Contiguous territories are countries that share a physical land boundary with the United States – in the case of the US, the two contiguous territories would be Mexico to the south and Canada to the north.

The definition of adjacent islands is much broader and features a wider variety of locations. Adjacent islands include the British Virgin Islands, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, Trinidad, Tobago, Jamaica, Miquelon,  and more. Any islands that border the Caribbean Sea are calling adjacent islands by the US Customs and Border Patrol.

 How do Closed Loop Voyages Impact Electronic Travel Authorization?

Electronic Travel Authorization, also commonly referred to as ESTA, is a process that a person must go to in order to make sure that they are actually eligible to travel to their destination under the Visa Waiver Program in the United States. The authorization does not determine who enters the US. Instead, it determines whether a person can travel from the US through various means to their destination of choice.

One of the major benefits of closed-loop voyages is that the US Customs and Border Patrol has determined that. So, as long as the cruise in question meets all of the requirements and definitions of a closed-loop, Electronic Travel Authorization is not necessary for any passenger on board. A large part of this decision came about due to the fact that these cruises begin and end in the continental US.