Unless you are going to do a lot of boarder crossings into Mexico or Canada, the Passport Card is a waste of money in my opinion. If you don't have the cash for the true Passport, then the BC's will work fine still. Yes, you run the risk of having a hassle should you have to fly home from the cruise, but the chances are small of this happening and there has to be procedures in place for this as they have been using BC's forever for cruises.. long before the passport requirements changed.
Just make sure they are true birth certificates from vital statistics (which you said your's were) with a raised seal. If you have a different name (married name) it wouldn't hurt to have a copy of your marriage license to prove who you are. Carnival will let you on the ship with these things and customs will let you back into the country when you return.
Yes, we always suggest you get a passport, but I can also understand the expense involved. For a large family it can be as costly as the cruise....
Carnival Cruise Lines:
Fantasy 90, Celebration 95, Victory 05, Conquest 05, Spirit 6/06, Freedom 6/08, Holiday 7/08, Victory 6/09, Valor 9/09, Dream 6/10, Splendor 8/10,Conquest 8/11,Magic 11/11,Triumph 4/12,Spirit 7/12,Freedom 11/12, Triumph 2/13 - The fire cruise, Magic 1/14, Freedom x 2 6/14
NCL Dream October 2006, RCCL Mariner OTS June 2007, Celebrity Silhouette 2013
Last edited by Dave; 02-21-2011 at 02:23 PM.
Reason: change passport to birth certificate