Divorced parent bring the kids

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#1
Orlando, FL.
741 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
So my sister has called Royal and I have too. My sister is devorced with a 14 and 16 year olds. They both share custody. Does my sister need a notarized letter to bring her kids on a cruise from Port Canaveral. Royal said to me she really doesn't have to because she is one of the parents. Anyone know first hand if she does need a letter or not. People on the phone and people at the port see things differently sometimes. She knows her ex will not sign any letter just because. Any help is appreciated.
#2
1,023 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by BlueSkySailing
So my sister has called Royal and I have too. My sister is devorced with a 14 and 16 year olds. They both share custody. Does my sister need a notarized letter to bring her kids on a cruise from Port Canaveral. Royal said to me she really doesn't have to because she is one of the parents. Anyone know first hand if she does need a letter or not. People on the phone and people at the port see things differently sometimes. She knows her ex will not sign any letter just because. Any help is appreciated.
The only time a divorced parent does NOT need the notarized letter from the other parent is when she/he has sole custody; in that case, the divorce decree showing the custody order must be presented. (In Mexico, even the decree will not suffice-- they demand the letter as well!)

If your sister shares custody, I would strongly recommend the letter from the other custodial parent.

Linda
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#3
Georgia
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Joined May 2012
I would bring one just in case. Would hate for your sister and kids to be denied boarding. I have custody of my daughter, but she has a passport, so no letter is needed.
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#4
UK
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Joined Jan 2008
I travel with my son and my husband who is his step father. My son has a different name to me. We have never been asked to explain or produce any documents whilst boarding a ship and that includes boarding in San juan, Barbados and a number of European ports. The only time I have been asked to give an explanation was going through immigration coming back into the uk from a land based holiday.
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#5
ontario, canada
121 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
I'm in Canada so the rules will be a little different. I travel quite a lot with my son, leaving his dad at home. I always carry the note and have been asked to produce it about 80% of the times I go through customs. We are not divorced, but I still need it since both parents are not in attendance.

If it was me I would do everything in my power to get a letter. It would be a terrible start to a trip to get turned away and lose your $ and vacation. It would be bad to have a hard time getting back home (which is where they most often seem to stop me). It would be worst of all if her dad came after her for taking his child out of the country without his permission. I'd also call Royal and ask what their policy is.
#6
3,234 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Many will tell you that they have never been asked for the letter, others will say they have been asked. Some by Customs, some by cruise line employees.

Others will tell you that with a passport, you don't need it. They are two different things. Just because a minor has a passport (which would have required both parent to approve) some think that this implies permission to travel. It may have, AT THE TIME OF APPLICATION. Things change and later on, one spouse may not approve of a child travelling with the other parent. So I would not rely on the possession of a passport as a guarantee to no issues.

It makes good sense to get the letter and have it, even if they never ask. The fact that the father may refuse to sign it sucks, but you have to try. If they don't ask, great. But if they do, and you don't have it, you may well be denied boarding, and no refund will be offered. No one wants that.
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#7
Ontario, Canada
43 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
I travelled with my kids (I am a divorced mom), and did take a notarized letter with me. I was not asked for it at any time. However, I can't imagine traveling without it, as you trip could be wrecked so quickly.
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#8
Jersey Shore
369 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
I've sailed several times on Royal with my kids and a few out of Port Canaveral and I've never been asked for a letter. I dont think its a problem as long as you and your kids have the same last name on your passports (we do).
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#9
Houston, TX
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Joined Jul 2011
Wow. My travel agent didn't mention anything about needing a letter. She said that since my name was on his birth certificate as his monther, as long as it was the same name on my driver's license, then we would be fine. I had no problems using our birth certificates and my driver's license during our trip.

So even if we HAVE passports, I still would need a letter??? Geez.
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#10
NY
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Joined Jul 2004
Just asking...why would you even mention to rccl that you are divorced? Many parents travel with their children without their spouse. It's not unordinary to see this. BTW I just returned from a Disney cruise with my son his son and his ex wifes daughter who is 11 and different name than anyone traveling with the 9 of us. I did have a notorized letter from her mother but no one ever asked for it.
#13
MetroWest Boston, MA
611 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Does she have a different last name from the children?

ANYONE who has a different last name from the children they are traveling with needs to follow these instructions from Royal Caribbean

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#14
Steeler Country
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Joined Jul 2012
I once forgot the letter driving into Canada. We were stopped at the border and each child interviewed separately as to our purpose, length of trip, etc. We were ultimately allowed to enter, but, not wanting to put them through that again, I get the letter. Haven't been asked for it since! Better to have it and not need it than to not have it when you need it.

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#15
Southwest Nebraska
907 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Just my experience for what it is worth, last August I traveled in the Caribbean on RCCI with my 2 sons without my hubby and never got questioned about anything at all.
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#16
MetroWest Boston, MA
611 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
following up... IF they have the same names, it shouldn't be an issue. xH just took the kids on a RCL sailing and he didn't have any issues. I did sign a letter saying I approved of the travel, but we didn't get it notarized.

for mine, however, I had to get it notarized since we have different last names. I'm also bringing the birth certificates, divorce certificate and new marriage certificate to show the thread that connects the names.
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#17
Orlando, FL.
741 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by cctimmom
Does she have a different last name from the children?

ANYONE who has a different last name from the children they are traveling with needs to follow these instructions from Royal Caribbean
I've told my sister she should get the letter or the kids have to stay home. I watched the documentary of The Oasis of the Seas. They were turned a parent away for not having a letter. I know for sure you needed a letter if you were a Grandparent but not for one of your own children. I'm myself would not book a cruise without this letter. But my sister doesn't think so. Her and the kids do have the same last name. Called Royal twice and they didn't seem to confident in the answer they gave me. I told the she was divorced because she is having a hard time getting her ex to sign the letter. I thank all of you for the info. and the help you are giving.
#18
MetroWest Boston, MA
611 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
sorry... another follow up.

When I took the kids on their first RCL cruise, and we had different last names, they actually DID question me at check in. Luckily, xH was actually traveling with us, and I just had to point him out ... I don't want to take that chance so I have my ducks in a row for this next cruise.
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Royal Caribbean - 6 Sailings:
Enchantment (4/24/2008), Oasis (2/19/2011), Adventure (4/14/2013), Enchantment (1/30/2015), Allure (6/21/2015), Adventure (5/21/2016)

Disney - 7 Sailings:
Magic (4/18/2009), Dream (10/9/2011), Dream (7/27/2012), Wonder (4/23/2014), Fantasy (8/15/2015), Dream (12/19/2016), Dream (12/19/2016)



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#19
2,783 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
I travel alone with my children. We have the same last name. They both have passports. I have been asked to provide proof that I'm allowed to leave the country with them a few times (we travel a lot). Government officials don't care what a rep at the cruise line told you. Based on experiences at cruise cruitic, odds are she won't be asked - but I sure wouldn't want to take a chance and have my kids with me when we're denied and have to explain to them why we're not traveling today.

Best,
Mia
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#20
New Jersey
401 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
We are traveling in August with my daughter, son in law and two granddaughters. My daughter's name is different than her olderst daughter.

Thankfully her ex had no problem signing a letter, but she is still bringing documentation that connects her to her daughter. Birth certificate with her maiden name and marriage certificate to her new husband.

It's a pain, but they won't be able to deny boarding regarding proving she is the mother with permission.

Better safe than sorry. Never know when you will get a stickler for the rules checking you in.
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