ship excursions vs. independent-anyone ever been left?

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#1
35 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
I've been reading the boards obsessively and understand the pros/cons of ship sponsored excursions and independent excursions. The main risk that is mentioned is being left if the independent excursion is delayed and doesn't return in time to catch the ship.
I'm curious if anyone here (or someone you know personally) has actually experienced something like this. We are trying to decide on excursions and how much risk we want to take.
Thanks!!
#2
Toronto, Canada
4,053 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by svm8
I've been reading the boards obsessively and understand the pros/cons of ship sponsored excursions and independent excursions. The main risk that is mentioned is being left if the independent excursion is delayed and doesn't return in time to catch the ship.
I'm curious if anyone here (or someone you know personally) has actually experienced something like this. We are trying to decide on excursions and how much risk we want to take.
Thanks!!
I remember asking the question and I think I remember someone saying several hundred people miss their cruise ships daily........that might sound like a lot, but given the total number of people cruising on any given day (probably close to 400,000), it's not a lot.
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#3
New Cumberland,PA, USA
27,410 Posts
Joined May 2000
We have been doing our own thing on cruises (to 6 continents) for about forty years and in more then a hundred ports. When folks tell us that they have fears of missing a ship our immediate response kids they should only take the overpriced cattle drives known as cruise ship excursions. Nothing we, or anyone, can say is going to put those fear demons asleep. As to us, we accept the risk and usually have our Plan B....of how we can catch the ship at the next port. And no, we have never missed a ship....but have sure come close a few times.

Hank
#4
Greenville, SC, USA
52,114 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We have taken 50 or 75 independent tours and never missed the ship. We never even came close.
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Paul
#5
New York
30 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Originally posted by paul929207
We have taken 50 or 75 independent tours and never missed the ship. We never even came close.

Okay, I have a question which I've been thinking about. I'll be on a few private tour on a mediterranean cruise and thinking about "missing the ship" thing, wouldn't it be wise to keep your passport on your person rather than it sailing away without you, especially if your next port is another country? I rather leave it safely on the ship but I also would like to have the security of having it with me in case I need it. Experienced cruisers?

Marie
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#6
Southwest Florida
6,916 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
I've never left my passport on the ship ... If I have to fly home, I need it!!
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#7
Romsey England
11,441 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by mermaid122
Okay, I have a question which I've been thinking about. I'll be on a few private tour on a mediterranean cruise and thinking about "missing the ship" thing, wouldn't it be wise to keep your passport on your person rather than it sailing away without you, especially if your next port is another country? I rather leave it safely on the ship but I also would like to have the security of having it with me in case I need it. Experienced cruisers?

Marie
Most of us leave it on the ship, though there's two schools of thought.
The risk of loss/theft ashore is cetainly way greater than the risk of missing the sailing.
But if you do miss the ship, it's likely to be a whole lot easier if your passport is in your pocket.

If you know you're likely to miss the ship, by phoning the ship's shore agent (contact details in the ship's daily paper) your passport can be retrieved from your cabin safe & at the gangplank to hand to the shore agent before the ship leaves. Word is that some cruise lines may do this automatically if the passports are in the cabin safe.
If the ship's next port-of-call is in the same country, or in another european country with no border control between (known as a Schengen country), and possibly between some Caribbean islands, you'll not need your passport to catch up with the ship though some (all?) airlines require photo ID.
I've never put those things to the test.

In case she misses the sailing & needs it to fly home, Patty takes hers ashore.
In case I lose mine ashore, I leave mine in the cabin safe because I usually need it at the end of the cruise because I fly-cruise.

Your cruise, your passport, your call

JB
#8
20,357 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by mermaid122
Okay, I have a question which I've been thinking about. I'll be on a few private tour on a mediterranean cruise and thinking about "missing the ship" thing, wouldn't it be wise to keep your passport on your person rather than it sailing away without you, especially if your next port is another country? I rather leave it safely on the ship but I also would like to have the security of having it with me in case I need it. Experienced cruisers?

Marie
If your cruise is in the Eastern Med, you may not have a choice. Many ships hold the passports of all passengers, particularly on cruises that exit and re-enter the Schengen Zone (e.g., if your ship goes from Italy or Greece to Turkey (or Israel, or Egypt) and back.

I have cruised and traveled solo for years. I never keep my passport with me unless it is a requirement (as it is in some countries -- however, I wouldn't say "many" countries as someone above indicated).

If I were ever in danger of missing the ship, my plan A would be to contact the ship's agent and have him/her retrieve my passport either from my safe or from the staff if it is being held. Usually this is done anyway, but I would be proactive about it! Plan B, if I were somehow unable to contact the ship due to incapacitating injury or other event (probably less than 1 in 3,000 chance) AND the ship did not leave my passport behind, I would use the copy I emailed myself to facilitate getting a new one within a short time frame.

I've had colleagues who lost their passports (which is much more frequent than missing the ship in Europe seems to be....) due to pickpockets in Rome and Barcelona; both were able to get replacements within a day.

If you are in the EU and your ship's next stop is in the EU, you may not need your passport to catch up with the ship anyway.

Should you decide to carry your passport, please keep it well hidden and safe. Do NOT keep it in your purse, backpack, waist pack, or pocket. I've had my wallet lifted out of a zipped compartment in a zipped cross body bag in Barcelona without me noticing it at all.

Luckily for me, my passport was in the hotel safe, or it could very well have gone missing too.
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#9
South Carolina
28,260 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Tours sponsered by the cruise line will NOT leave you.

We've been late many times over the years on ships excursions ... once over 2 hours ... and the ship was there waiting for us. (It was a catamaran from St. Vincent to Bequit and the main sail broke.)

Another very long delay getting back from a ruins in Mexico.

Most others were only about 15/30/45 minutes or so. Ships (all cruise lines) waited on their tours.

Once on NCL (long time ago) their excursion was left in St. John. The ship went back for them. It was a long time ago on SS Norway.
A private tour (van with 12 from ship) was left in Martinique ... some sort of rain forest private tour.
A private catamaran (Captain Marvin's) was late. Also many folks in taxis. Fortunately, the ships excursion was too so none of them missed the ship. BIG traffic jams that day.

Almost always some lose track of time and get left behind is some ports. I understand some ports like Cozumel and other party ports. But why does it seem hard for some not to get back and miss the ship in Dominica?

LuLu
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#10
Fox Point, WI, USA
3,538 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
It has never happened to us. It would be bad for the private tour operator's reputation and business, so I think they're quite good about it. Once, our guide skipped a stop because he had been notified about bad traffic and wanted to be sure to get us back to the ship on time.
#11
Wauwatosa, WI
2,626 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Originally posted by OCruisers
Tours sponsered by the cruise line will NOT leave you.

We've been late many times over the years on ships excursions ... once over 2 hours ... and the ship was there waiting for us. (It was a catamaran from St. Vincent to Bequit and the main sail broke.)

Another very long delay getting back from a ruins in Mexico.

Most others were only about 15/30/45 minutes or so. Ships (all cruise lines) waited on their tours.

Once on NCL (long time ago) their excursion was left in St. John. The ship went back for them. It was a long time ago on SS Norway.
A private tour (van with 12 from ship) was left in Martinique ... some sort of rain forest private tour.
A private catamaran (Captain Marvin's) was late. Also many folks in taxis. Fortunately, the ships excursion was too so none of them missed the ship. BIG traffic jams that day.

Almost always some lose track of time and get left behind is some ports. I understand some ports like Cozumel and other party ports. But why does it seem hard for some not to get back and miss the ship in Dominica?

LuLu
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I'm sorry but this is absolutely NOT true. It depends on the port authorities actually letting the ship stay late (and paying huge fees to do so). If the sea conditions and port space are not favorable, the ship will have to leave. However, if you are on a SHIP sponsored shore excursion, it is up to the cruise line to get you back to the ship at the next port of call, and they will pay for hotels, transportation, etc. But keep in mind there are times that the ship simply cannot wait for late excursions...it is beyond their control.
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#12
New Jersey
906 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
The secret to a successful independent tour with out he worry of missing the ship is to make sure that the tour is scheduled to be back at the pick-up area at least 90 minutes prior to the ship leaving port. That will give you an hours worth of time for alternate transportation to get you back to the dock. Also make sure at least 1 time piece is set to the ship's time, mobile phones will default to the local time of the nearest tower.

Before meeting the tour group make sure you stop at the local tourist info booth or desk in port and get the phone # of a couple of cab companies that uses a dispatcher or the driver can be directly contacted. That way if the tour operator is running late for any reason & you feel uneasy about their back-up plan, you can take the prerogative of making your own way back. Now of course this only works if the tour is fairly local and not to an isolated place.
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#13
phila, pa
51,811 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by calliopecruiser
I remember asking the question and I think I remember someone saying several hundred people miss their cruise ships daily........that might sound like a lot, but given the total number of people cruising on any given day (probably close to 400,000), it's not a lot.

I dont believe that number is correct.
I have sailed 18 times and never once did someone miss the ship.

You will be able to tell because they will keep calling that persons name over and over and over.

I do believe some people get left behind.

As for booking private excursions-- as long as the excursion is not a whole day thing-- (like visiting ruins in Cozumel) And remember to be onboard the ship 30 minutes before it is set to sail. And be mindful of the time.
you should be good to go
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#14
Greenville, SC, USA
52,114 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Originally posted by serene56
I dont believe that number is correct.
I have sailed 18 times and never once did someone miss the ship.

You will be able to tell because they will keep calling that persons name over and over and over.

I do believe some people get left behind.

As for booking private excursions-- as long as the excursion is not a whole day thing-- (like visiting ruins in Cozumel) And remember to be onboard the ship 30 minutes before it is set to sail. And be mindful of the time.
you should be good to go
I have no idea of the accurate number of people left.

That said, John Heald, Carnival's Senior Cruise Director spent much of the summer on a ship in the Med. Each day he reported number missing as they approached sailing. It seemed like about half the days, he reported leaving people behind. Usually about 2 to 5 people.
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Paul
#15
United States
134 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Personally, I would rather play the premium on a cruise excursion where time is tight but a long stay at port and a short excursion, why not save the money?
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#16
West Allis, WI
344 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
In April, 2012 I DH and I went on a very port intensive week long cruise. We didn't take any ship sponsored excursions and had no problems. In St. Thomas we went to the aquarium and Coki beach, taking cabs both ways without a problem. In St. Marten we went to Saphire Beach, then shopping and a late lunch on the French side of the island, again using taxis and had no issues. On St Kitts we went to a plantation, shopping in the downtown area, and lunch, and again had no problems. In Barbados we went shopping in the downtown area, to a rum distillery, and to an wildlife preserve taking taxis and not a problem. In St Lucia we went downtown shopping, had lunch, and went to the beach again using local taxis without any issues. We will do more of the same on our next cruise.
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#17
Virginia, USA
3,501 Posts
Joined May 2007
I imagine it's the quality of private excursions that makes the difference. We've had wonderful experiences with private excursions arranged through our CC roll call groups. Always pays to check Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor before selecting a private excursion.
If DH and I are traveling alone and not with friends or CC group, we use the ship's excursions. I remember being in Belize on the ATV jungle tour when one of the ATVs lost its transmission in the three foot ruts we were driving through. Sat there and thought how glad I was we were on a ship's tour.
Same cruise the ship waited some time for its plane excursion to Honduras ruins to return. On our December cruise, our excursion was late returning from the Dead Sea (long drive to Haifa) and the last gangway was pulled up just after we got on.
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#18
Greenville, SC, USA
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Joined Apr 2000
One thing to consider is personal comfort. If you are not comfortable with the chance a private tour cold miss the ship, then stick with the ship's excursion. You will pay extra, but your piece of mind may be worth the extra money.
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#19
Camillus, NY
1,754 Posts
Joined May 2005
Been on 42 cruises , 5 continents, and 9 cruise lines. Have rarely used ship tours. I am going to Russia and the Baltics in June and have made all my tour arrangements with off ship vendors. You just need to check them out on cruise critic, trip adviser and other such sites where people who have actually toured with these companies rate them. Never been close to missing a ship. Too much counts on it for the tour guides to risk their reputation and future business.
#20
USA
343 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
We just finished a 34 day circumnavigation tour of Australia with two stops in Indonesia. We did all are own touring including renting cars in the non city Australian ports. The only HAL excursion we took was in Lombok Indonesia where we felt the HAL excursion would be safer. Well, after eight hours on a bus with grumpy people who wouldn't drink the provided bottled water despite + 90 degree muggy temperature because of not wanting to use the bathrooms in Indonesia, I was ready to scream. They just got grumpier and grumpier. There was eight buses and each bus did a lot of driving around so the buses wouldn't hit the same sites all at once so when we got to a sight we were rushed through with not enough time to see the sight. The ship sponsored excursion reconfirmed to me why we like to go out on our own with maybe another couple.