Both on the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean, the United States has an enormous coastline to discover. Many travellers choose a road trip to explore the interior, but with a cruise you can enjoy the most beautiful places by the sea. Continue reading for more information about a cruise to America, and the visa requirements.
Cruising with an ESTA
Travellers who do not hold an American or Canadian passport, need to apply for a visa to travel to the United States of America. The USA offers an electronic travel permit called the ESTA. It allows tourists to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Travellers going to the USA on a cruise are required to apply for an ESTA as well.
There are, of course, a number of strict requirements for this practical visa alternative. For example, the passport with which the ESTA was applied for, needs to remain valid throughout the entire stay in America. From the moment you set foot in the US, the maximum period of stay of 90 days will start right away. It is important to realise that any visit to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands also count within this 90-days period. If you will be going on a cruise that travels through these areas for more than 90 days, then you do no meet the ESTA requirements, and you will have to apply for a USA visa. To make sure you can go on your cruise with an ESTA, please check all the requirements for the ESTA USA.
If your cruise holiday also takes you to places in Canada, like Toronto, you do not have to apply for an eTA Canada, or Canada visa. Please note that you do need to apply for the eTA Canada if your cruise starts in Canada and you will first arrive there by plane. For the USA, you need an ESTA for both arriving by plane and arriving by cruise ship.
East and West Coast
The most extensive United States cruises depart from the US itself. To get the most out of your trip, it is best to travel to the US first by plane and start your cruise from there. There are beautiful places to visit on both sides of the country. Below is a brief overview of the best places to visit on the Pacific Ocean in the west, and the Atlantic Ocean in the east.
East Coast - Boston to Key West
The most famous city on the east coast of America is of course The Big Apple, New York City. Upon arrival, you sail past the Statue of Liberty and once docked, you can visit Central Park, Time Square, the Empire State Building, and much more. A little above New York lies Boston, one of the richest and oldest cities in the US. Here, there is much to discover about the country’s colonial history.
Much further south, the cruise ship takes you to Miami, Florida. Florida is also known as the Sunshine State due to its many hours of sunshine and ideal beach weather. In the summer months, the area is often plagued by heavy rain and thunderstorms, but these are often of short duration. From Miami, you can travel further south to Key West. This is a small island at the bottom of Florida, at the end of a chain of islands, with a lively nightlife and beautiful beaches.
West Coast - LA to San Francisco
Although West America is an excellent place for a road trip, the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco are well worth a cruise. In San Francisco, you can cycle or walk across the famous Golden Gate Bridge, or spot sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf. It is also home to the famous Alcatraz prison, where tourists can take a guided tour.
Los Angeles is also brimming with special sights. It is said that the beginning, or the end of Route 66 lies at the Santa Monica Pier. LA is of course also the city of Hollywood, where all the big film and music stars have been. In addition, Venice Beach is very popular among tourists, especially because of the many bridges like in the Venice of Italy.
Apply for your ESTA
Even if you are not quite sure yet when you will go on a cruise to the US, you can already apply for an ESTA online. The ESTA will be valid for two years, in which you will be able to travel to the US multiple times. Keep in mind that the ESTA is linked to your passport. This means that, when you get a new passport, you will also need to apply for a new ESTA. Also take it into account that an ESTA is sufficient for going on a cruise to the US, but not if you want to travel with your own ship. For this, you will need a visa.
Take note: this news article about the ESTA for the USA is more than one year old. It might contain outdated information and advice, and no rights can therefore be derived from this article. Are you going on a trip soon and do you wish to do know what rules currently apply? Read all about the up-to-date information about the ESTA for the USA.