I am sooo glad I found this forum last night- it has already been so helpful! Here's the problem I'm stressing about- I am cruising for the first time on the Ecstacy June 17. We're going with a big group for my friend's wedding. I live in Missouri, but was born in Louisiana- so I sent off for a certified copy of my b.c. the beginning of April. Kept waiting and waiting and calling Vitalchek- they just said it's out of their hands cause it was already sent to the state. So I called just about every health dept in Louisiana- and all of them tell me that due to Hurricane Katrina, they cannot issue birth certificates to anyone born before 1985, as all those records were stored in New Orleans and the building was destroyed. They told me that they are issuing certified (with a raised seal) birth cards instead for at least 6 more months until they can get everything restored. So I called Carnival to check- they said absolutely not- they cannot accept birth cards at all. After talking to the ladies at the health dept again (who assured me that they WILL accept it), I called Carnival back and asked for a supervisor. I explained the situation- was put on hold for a long time so I know it was discussed- and he said that yes- at this time they will only accept certified birth cards from Louisiana due to katrina- as long as it is definitely certified. I felt relieved- but then last night my travel agent called me and said she spoke to carnival and they told her it would NOT be accepted!! I am sooooo stressed, as we leave in a week and two days!! Has anyone else run into this problem?? I don't have an original copy of my bc anywhere, and cannot even get one for at least another 6 months!!
Call Carnival back and ask them to either email or smail mail in writing that they said they would accept the certified birth card. Take it with you, so if you have any problem getting on the ship, you have documented proof, Carnival said it was OK.
Also Shannon, did you get the name of the Supervisor that you spoke to at CCL?? If you did, I would call them again and have them input supporting documentation in your reservation under the "notes" field. Even if you don't have the orig Sup's name, there should be a record of them in your reservation by their log-in I.D. Since you spoke to him/her directly, I would be shocked if they did not make any documentation in your reservation.
Not to add to your stress, but just to let you know that CCL has to enforce rules/regulations put forth by Homeland Security. You can also contact the Immigration/Customs officials at the port you are sailing from, give them your situation, and see what they say. You can also get the Immigrations # from CCL.
Hope I was able to take some stress away. Take care,
You might also try contacting the US Passport office to see if you can get a passport issued using the birth card on an emergency/rush basis (anyone that travels should have one anyway). Once you have that and you keep it updated, you shouldn't need a birth certificate until you apply for social security/medicare benefits!
Thank you so much for your responses! My travel agent had the same idea to get it in writing from carnival. She called this afternoon and said I should be fine- she got an email response from somebody high up at carnival that said I could use the birth card as long as it's certified. She has her name and contact information and said to print it off and take it with me! So I feel much more secure now. As soon as we get back from this cruise I'm gonna take my birthcard and go get my passport- I don't ever want to go through this again! Thanks again for your advice!
Hey Shannon, Hope this makes you feel better..
My Birth Certificate was destroyed in a flood in 1977, I have a plastic card like a credit card issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia. I have been on 12 Carnival cruises over 14 years without any problem. I actually like it better at check in because while my cruisemates are fumbling for their paper certificates..I hand them my drivers license, birth card, and credit card all together..and I'm on my way! Hope this helps, and have a Wonderful Cruise!