On Shore: Getting Back To Port On Time

I recently received a question regarding boarding times, distance to the cruise port, and recommendations for getting to the ship on time, and the blog post in response to those questions addressed these concerns for cruise embarkation day.  This blog post will address similar concerns about getting back to the ship on time when in a port-of-call. 

The quick answer on these questions as they pertain to ports-of-call is that guests are responsible for keeping a check of the time in port, and getting back to the ship prior to the “all aboard” time.  That will include researching either ahead of time or checking with guest services after embarkation whether “ship time” will match the “local time.”  From our experience, ships that change their time to match the time in port will make an announcement to guests ahead of time to set their clocks accordingly. 

It should be noted that the “all aboard” time can be 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time or more than hour before the ship’s scheduled departure time.  This information will be available on the day’s itinerary, which is usually delivered to each stateroom on the prior evening.  Those daily bulletins often also have information about whether the ship will maintain ship time based on the ship’s homeport or whether the ship’s time will adjust to local time. 

One related concern is whether or not to book excursions through the cruise lines or through independent tour operators.  We have done and plan to do both.  If we do not book via the cruise line, then know that we have researched the other existing options, and that our decision on an independent tour option is likely based on the fact that there are stellar reviews and, possibly, a guarantee that guests make it back to the ship or else the tour provider will pay for the guests to meet the ship at the next port.  It should be noted that many tour operators in popular cruise ports make a living based on cruise guests selecting their tours, and the online review community for such tours is quite busy and is rich in information, so, for the most part, the tour operators are excellent at getting guests to their ships on time, and even early.  Tour operators know ship schedules well, and work accordingly.  That being said, there is peace of mind booking excursions through the cruise line because such excursions guarantee guests will get back to the ship on time, and if not, then the ship will wait for them or arrange for them to meet the ship at the next port. 

I will repeatedly say that a cruise vacation is one of the best options, if not THE best option, for families.  Know that, if the above concerns arise in thinking about or planning a cruise vacation, these concerns can be addressed by researching before setting sail, so that when guests set sail, they can breathe easily, relax, and enjoy the cruise. 

Do you have any similar questions or concerns regarding cruising?  If so, please comment here on this blog post or send your question via our Contact page