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Waywardspirit

Excursion Timing

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I am planning a short cruise - 5 days, maybe 7 where it looks like we will only be a port for a day. Some of the excursions I like are around 6.5 hours, which makes me nervous about missing the cruise ship. Is this something to be worried about? Will the boat wait for you, or are you screwed in this case?

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CruiserBruce has it right. If you a considering an excursion that will run most of the time you are in port and are worrying about getting back in time that is a benefit of booking the excursion through the cruise line.

 

Keith

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Ship excursions are always a safe bet if you are nervous about not getting back to the ship before it leaves.

The ship will wait only for it's own excursions. If you are looking at private excursions -- maybe you should choose a shorter time length one.

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First-time cruiser here with a question on timing... the NCL website states: "Due to security reasons, all guests must be on board 2 hours before sailing. Disembarkation usually begins 2 hours after docking."

 

Our itinerary states that we will arrive in Cabo at 7am and depart at 3pm. Does that mean we'll have four hours in port? We will be staying in a suite so we'll have priority debarkation/embarkation, how much of a difference will this make? It's a spring break cruise, so I do expect it to be pretty full.

 

The cruise is selling excursions that are 5+ hours long, so I'm a bit confused. I don't want to book an excursion, but do want to know how much time to plan for each port. TIA.

Edited by shrew

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The 2 hour info applies to the port you start your cruise in. Not the ports you stop at during your cruise. When you arrive at a port during your cruise, you will be able to get off very quickly...within 30 minutes. All aboard at those ports will be 30 minutes prior to scheduled sailing.

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CruiserBruce has it right.

 

It is for the first port that you will be embarking from and all cruise lines have something very similar to this.

 

Keith

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Thank you! I have looked all over on this board and wasn’t able to find this info. Appreciate the response. Looking forward to our first cruise (parents and two teens).

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To be more accurate, the ship will TRY to wait for you if you are on a cruise line excursions. But there are times that the ship will leave without you. BUT, if you are on a cruise line excursion, the cruise line is responsible for taking care of you and getting you back on board as soon as they can.

 

If you are a on private excursion or on your own, you are on you own to deal with the ship leaving. NOT a good situation.

 

Many people plan on being back 1 hour before sailing. And make SURE you understand what time is SHIP time. That is what the sailing time is based on, and it may be different than local time.

 

For a new cruiser, I would book excursions through the cruise line.

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Agree. If you are looking at ship excursions you don’t need to worry about the timing. They are scheduled by the cruise line to work w the time in port and you’ll be fine if things go as scheduled. If things don’t go as scheduled they will wait as long as they possibly can; which almost always; is long enough. Circumstances where they leave are catastrophic and they will get you to the next port to meet the ship.

 

If you are looking at private tours/independent excursions, they are not scheduled to meet your ships port times and the ship won’t wait if you are late. However, this is how we prefer to tour. We just always schedule to get back an hour before all aboard (so 1.5 hours before the ship leaves). That’s a buffer time we are comfortable with.

 

 

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OK, let's talk about excursions or tours. I have taken many, many, many private tours, and a few ships' tours over the years. You will see some videos of people running for the ship as it pulls away from the dock, but these are cases where people went off on their own and lost track of time. In my personal experience, and in years of being on these boards, I have never once heard of anyone being late from a private tour or excursion! Private tour operators guarantee that they will get you back, and their livelihood depends on it -- one late return and their name would be mud (or more correctly "Mudd"). You will find that private tour operators know the ship's schedule better than anyone. They know what time you are really coming in, and they know what time they have to have you back. That being said, I generally check out the Ports of Call section and read a lot of the posts to get a feeling for who runs the best tours, and then I usually book a private tour and get people on the Roll Call section to join us -- private tours get pretty inexpensive when you have six or eight people with you.

 

Technically, the ship will do everything possible to wait for its own tours. But any fear that a reputable, private tour will not get you back on time is, honestly, a lot of baloney!

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I have only one excursion planned for the morning of one stop that's supposed to arrive hours before the ship is set to depart, not through the cruise line. No interest in going on a ship's excursion. We're going to mostly play on our own, just want to know when to get back. Thanks for the information.

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I have only one excursion planned for the morning of one stop that's supposed to arrive hours before the ship is set to depart, not through the cruise line. No interest in going on a ship's excursion. We're going to mostly play on our own, just want to know when to get back. Thanks for the information.

Shrew, as a new cruiser, you need to really pay attention for Cozumel. It is often the only port that is one hour different than the time zone for the rest of the cruise - and ships may elect to be on 'cruise time' not 'local time'. So in guaranteeing return time to ship, you need to know before getting off what time zone your ship is running on, and ensure your tour provider understands.

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I have only one excursion planned for the morning of one stop that's supposed to arrive hours before the ship is set to depart, not through the cruise line. No interest in going on a ship's excursion. We're going to mostly play on our own, just want to know when to get back. Thanks for the information.

 

 

As long as you've done your due diligence on the tour operator. Most are good about adhering to ship's schedules - if they don't, they know that they will not be in business long. Sounds like you have the timing down, though.

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Shrew, as a new cruiser, you need to really pay attention for Cozumel. It is often the only port that is one hour different than the time zone for the rest of the cruise - and ships may elect to be on 'cruise time' not 'local time'. So in guaranteeing return time to ship, you need to know before getting off what time zone your ship is running on, and ensure your tour provider understands.

 

We're doing the Mexican Riveria - Puero Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. I will pay attention to times zones; I appreciate the tip!

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As long as you've done your due diligence on the tour operator. Most are good about adhering to ship's schedules - if they don't, they know that they will not be in business long. Sounds like you have the timing down, though.

 

It's a very popular company so I'm confident in them. But, as I said, I have plenty of time and we're not going hours away, so I'm not in the least bit worried. Life's too short for that!

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IMO, it is not the the private tour operator does not know the ship's schedule, but that something could happen that is out of their control. Traffic, protest, vehicle breakdown, etc.

 

And not saying to not take them, but understand the difference in the two. And book according to YOUR acceptable level of risk.

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It's a very popular company so I'm confident in them. But, as I said, I have plenty of time and we're not going hours away, so I'm not in the least bit worried. Life's too short for that!

 

 

 

Don’t let the worry worts deter you. We have had our best tours independently. As long as you KNOW what the ships time is and plan on being back at least an hour ahead (we do an hour ahead of all aboard time); things will almost certainly be fine. You can’t live your life on the what ifs.

 

 

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IMO, it is not the the private tour operator does not know the ship's schedule, but that something could happen that is out of their control. Traffic, protest, vehicle breakdown, etc.

 

And not saying to not take them, but understand the difference in the two. And book according to YOUR acceptable level of risk.

 

Already have. I’m not worried in the least bit. I’ve traveled all over the world, usually on my own, and feel I’ve set me and my family up just fine.

 

It’ll be just fine and, beside, life’s an adventure. Whatever comes our way we’ll roll with it... :D

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Don’t let the worry worts deter you. We have had our best tours independently. As long as you KNOW what the ships time is and plan on being back at least an hour ahead (we do an hour ahead of all aboard time); things will almost certainly be fine. You can’t live your life on the what ifs.

 

 

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Completely agree! I’m not much of a worrier, I just make sure I’m armed with knowledge and Google translate (we speak some Spanish tho).

 

I (along with my kids and hubby) can’t believe I’ve even signed us up for a tour as I’m usually the tour guide, or maybe have one person take us around like our Panama Canal day (land vacation). But I figured, when in Rome do as the Romans!

 

Looking forward to the trip.

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