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Visiting Central America by Cruise Ship

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In 2008, I had a cruise booked to Alaska departing from Vancouver. My friend and I flew into Vancouver and were going to spend the night there before departing on the ship and traveling to Alaska. However, I was denied entry into Canada because of an old criminal record; three non-person felonies from the late 1980's. I was devastated; I had no idea that something that old could affect my chances of getting into Canada.

I am now looking at a cruise that departs New Orleans and makes stops in Mexico, Honduras and Belize. My friend says that unless you are going to spend the night visiting a country, the passport always stays on the ship. So how does that work? Would I have a problem going to these countries because of convictions that are over 20 years old?

Thank-you.

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