Well, we leave for Europe on June 24 to board the HAL cruise on June 26. My wife and son needed their passports renewed which we applied for in March. As you know they are telling you 10 -12 weeks for processing but had I known back in March it would take that long, I would have paid for the expedite fee. IN march we were told about 6 weeks maybe 8. Beware, the clock doesn't start ticking until they actually receive the application at the passport processing center. My son had to apply in person at the post office but the date that they had as the application date was one month later. It took one month to get it to the processing center!!! I have been calling almost daily in the last two weeks and finally it is being sent. But I told them we had to leave on June 16, yet it doesn't matter. The passport won't make it in time if we were to leave on June 16. They are sending my son's via FEDEX but they sent my wifes via Priority Mail and we wont have it until next week. If you need a passport earlier than 6 months from now, pay the expedite fee. That takes about a month, but at least you will have peace of mind.
Thanks for posting, culater, and I'm glad your wife and son will get their passports in time. Still, what an ordeal! And your wife was renewing, not applying for the first time.
Your post gives me a chance to post here what I have been asked by friends and family in the past week. Many people mistakenly believe that the temporary easing of some of the passport requirements applies to all passports. That is not the case -- it covers only those US citizens traveling to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean (and even then, you MUST prove you have applied). Those traveling outside of these areas WILL need a passport. In other words, if a passport was required a year ago, it will still be required today.
Two friends of ours booked a cruise on the Freedom Of The Seas last year (for this coming August). I told them to apply for passports last year, but they procrastinated. They finally decided it was a good idea about two weeks ago, and submitted expedited applications to include overnight delivery both ways. The total tab was around $400, or roughly twice as much as it would have been if they did it earlier. They have not received the passports yet.
Just an update, on my son's they gave me a FEDEX tracking number and we were supposed to receive it today. It didn't come and if I look on the FEDEX website it looks like it wasn't picked up yet. I don't see how they (Passport center) can transmit the data to Fedex but Fedex doesn't have it. Unbelieveable. I'll have to call again (and probably again).
As someone from the uk unaffected by your passport problems,I think that the usa government & administrators should have realised that there would be a huge extra demand for passports and arranged for extra passport staff to be recruited several months ago as temp staff, because you can always end their employment if the demand is lower than predicted but as many us citizens have found out it takes longer to train and get extra staff at the last minute when demand is very high.I hope that it all gets back under control soon. regards Jack