Carnival Cruise Line introduces facial biometrics at Port of Baltimore

Carnival Cruise Line and the CBP have introduced facial biometric checks for passengers arriving at the Port of Baltimore.

Facial scanning – not facial recognition – is the term used by CBP for the biometric check.

When passengers leave a ship to arrive into the U.S. seaport, their picture is taken by a high definition camera. That photo is compared to the their existing passport or visa photo in DHS systems to biometrically verify their identity. 

CBP says the process takes less than two seconds and is more than 98% accurate. 

U.S. passengers and select foreign nationals can apparently opt out and have a manual check.

Other U.S. seaports using biometric checks

Facial biometric comparison technology is used at 26 seaports across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

It has been successfully used to process arriving passengers on cruise vessels at:

Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and the US Virgin Islands.

CBP has successfully implemented facial biometrics into the entry processes at all international airports, known as Simplified Arrival, and into the exit processes at 32 airport locations. 

To date, almost 200 million passengers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land, and seaports of entry.

Carnival Cruise line use of facial recognition

Carnival Cruise Line uses facial recognition at embarkation, debarkation and throughout the trip.

At check-in, a picture is taken of each passenger and stored for the duration of the cruise.  Then each time passengers board or leave the vessel, another photo is taken. The biometric data collected during the voyage is purged following the cruise.

Photos are taken throughout the voyage, and facial recognition is used to provide passengers access to photos in which they are identified through Carnival’s mobile app or on-line following the cruise.


 N.B. Image credit:

Internet links

Carnival Cruise Line

Port of Baltimore

CBP Biometrics