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  #1  
Old January 13th, 2013, 08:21 PM
svm8 svm8 is offline
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Default ship excursions vs. independent-anyone ever been left?

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!!
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  #2  
Old January 13th, 2013, 09:02 PM
calliopecruiser calliopecruiser is offline
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Originally Posted by svm8 View Post
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  
Old January 13th, 2013, 10:15 PM
Hlitner Hlitner is offline
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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.

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  #4  
Old January 13th, 2013, 10:28 PM
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paul929207 paul929207 is offline
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We have taken 50 or 75 independent tours and never missed the ship. We never even came close.
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  #5  
Old January 13th, 2013, 10:31 PM
OCruisers OCruisers is offline
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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?

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  #6  
Old January 13th, 2013, 11:37 PM
Andee Andee is online now
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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.
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  #7  
Old January 13th, 2013, 11:52 PM
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zactak zactak is offline
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This is a worry of mine too. I've been on a couple cruises in the past, but I was only a teenager and went with my family. We always did the excursions through the ship.

I'm going on my first cruise by myself in March and found an excursion in St. Maarten that isn't through the cruise line. I'm also debating whether to do an excursion in Nassau or not. But my plan is to do the excursions as early as possible when they're not through the line. I'm also planning to do excursions that aren't close to the time we leave the port. For instance I am planning to do a kayaking excursion in St. Maarten that is three hours long. I'll be doing it in the morning, so if there are any problems I should still be able to get back in time for the ship to leave, even if there are any problems.

I know it's still a risk and I still could miss the ship. I just hope it doesn't and will make plans if that does indeed happen.
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  #8  
Old January 14th, 2013, 02:46 AM
Colorado Kat Colorado Kat is offline
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We practically always do private tours, and have never been close to missing the ship.

If the excursion is quite far to another island, we would take a cruise line excursion.
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  #9  
Old January 14th, 2013, 04:18 AM
John Bull John Bull is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calliopecruiser View Post
I remember asking the question and I think I remember someone saying several hundred people miss their cruise ships daily.....
No, nothing like that number, not even even world-wide
Or (probably) even including those whose flights are delayed heading for their embarkation port, which is always a concern & why many folk fly out a day or two ahead.

And they tend to be folk who explore independently and lose track of the time, or mis-judge journey time, or don't make a reasonable allowance for delays, or misunderstand back-on-board time, or foul-up ship's time vs port time. Alcohol is often involved. Even exploring independently, its exceptionally rare that a cruiser with a modicum of common sense misses a sailing.

And I've not read a single incidence on Cruise Critic of anyone on a private tour missing a sailing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Kat View Post

If the excursion is quite far to another island, we would take a cruise line excursion.
As would we. Problem here is if the boat/ferry breaks down or is cancelled due to the weather. Not the same as just having to find another taxi. Typical is Tortola to Virgin Gorda. The risk is very low, but the consequences very inconvenient & expensive.

As Zactak's response, most tours - including taxi tours hired on-the-fly - are in the morning, leaving time for shopping or the beach or whatever close to the ship.

No worries

JB

Last edited by John Bull; January 14th, 2013 at 04:23 AM.
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  #10  
Old January 14th, 2013, 04:46 AM
fleckle fleckle is offline
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We only take independent excursions when the next port is nearby and getting there on our own would not be extremely expensive or difficult.

For example, if we miss the ship in the Caribbean and the next port is another nearby Caribbean island, or if we miss the ship in Juneau when the next port is Skagway or Icy Strait Point, that is quite different from missing the ship when the next port is half-way across the ocean.

But we have never missed a ship yet.

If you have any doubts, talk to your tour operator and ask what their backup plan is in case the vehicle or boat breaks down. We have found that most of them do have contingency plans in place.

Some of the boat and small plane operators promise that they will give you a free ride over to the next port if they don't get you back in time to catch your ship.

It is very common for the independent local tour operators to cooperate and have mutual agreements with each other to help each other out in such situations: You pick up my passengers if my vehicle/boat breaks down, and I'll do the same for you.

Since their livelihood and reputation depends on getting cruise ship passengers back to the pier on time, they are very conscientious about keeping track of each cruise ship's all-aboard time that day.

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  #11  
Old January 14th, 2013, 05:03 AM
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sailinglisa sailinglisa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OCruisers View Post
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
~~~~
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  
Old January 14th, 2013, 07:29 AM
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maryred maryred is offline
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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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Last edited by maryred; January 14th, 2013 at 07:34 AM.
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  #13  
Old January 14th, 2013, 07:57 AM
aquilegia aquilegia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Bull View Post
And they tend to be folk who explore independently and lose track of the time, or mis-judge journey time, or don't make a reasonable allowance for delays, or misunderstand back-on-board time, or foul-up ship's time vs port time. Alcohol is often involved. Even exploring independently, its exceptionally rare that a cruiser with a modicum of common sense misses a sailing.

And I've not read a single incidence on Cruise Critic of anyone on a private tour missing a sailing.

JB
This is so true. It tells you nothing about independent tours to say that x people were late for the ship, when the majority of them were likely not on an independent tour anyway. They're far more likely to have stayed too long at the beach or in a local bar, or haven't sufficiently researched availability of taxis etc.

When you think of it, these independent tour companies would go out of business very quickly if they didn't get people back to the ship in time. If you book with an established tour company that you've seen recommended on this forum, you should be quite safe. You should also be OK to DIY if you remember a couple of things. Do your research thoroughly before your trip and go to the furthest point first and work your way back towards the ship and aim to be back well before the cut-off point. I'm always back at least an hour before the ship is due to sail. I have done very few ship's tours but I have never come remotely near missing the ship.
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  #14  
Old January 14th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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i believe it was Cozumel last august. on Destiny. our ship left almost an hour late because we had to wait for the tender ship that took the tour to the main land on the excursion. we couldnt figure out why we still hadnt left yet, til we saw the tender arrive and almost 100+ people debark and race down the pier back home to Destiny.. this was a ship sponsored tour i assume.

i do recall tho watchin a special on discovery took place on one of the new larger ships ( i forget which ) it came time to leave port and they knew they were missing 3 people and did what they could to find them. so i would think if they ship knows its missing 40 people on a private excursion they MIGHT try to track em down and see. i mean these ships travel a routine path with the smae excursion companies waiting outside every time. im sure they come to learn who came back and who didnt
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Old January 14th, 2013, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by lissa42886 View Post
i believe it was Cozumel last august. on Destiny. our ship left almost an hour late because we had to wait for the tender ship that took the tour to the main land on the excursion. we couldnt figure out why we still hadnt left yet, til we saw the tender arrive and almost 100+ people debark and race down the pier back home to Destiny.. this was a ship sponsored tour i assume.

i do recall tho watchin a special on discovery took place on one of the new larger ships ( i forget which ) it came time to leave port and they knew they were missing 3 people and did what they could to find them. so i would think if they ship knows its missing 40 people on a private excursion they MIGHT try to track em down and see. i mean these ships travel a routine path with the smae excursion companies waiting outside every time. im sure they come to learn who came back and who didnt
The problem would be tracking them down. The ship usually has contact with all the tour groups ship's excursions. They usually have no idea what groups are on private tours, who they are with, where they are, etc.
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Old January 14th, 2013, 09:37 AM
John Bull John Bull is online now
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The problem would be tracking them down. The ship usually has contact with all the tour groups ship's excursions. They usually have no idea what groups are on private tours, who they are with, where they are, etc.
........ in which case its up to the tardy cruisers to phone the ship or ship's land agent - always a contact number in ship's daily newspaper. I guess the ship is much more likely to wait, at least a few minutes, if it's known that a group - or even a solitary passenger - is ten minutes away, rather than simply "missing".
No promises though

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Old January 14th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by John Bull View Post
........ in which case its up to the tardy cruisers to phone the ship or ship's land agent - always a contact number in ship's daily newspaper. I guess the ship is much more likely to wait, at least a few minutes, if it's known that a group - or even a solitary passenger - is ten minutes away, rather than simply "missing".
No promises though

JB
I agree. I always carry the name and phone number for the ship's port agent. Fortunately, we have never needed it.
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Old January 14th, 2013, 10:10 AM
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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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  #19  
Old January 14th, 2013, 10:15 AM
calliopecruiser calliopecruiser is offline
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No, nothing like that number, not even even world-wide
Of course I meant world wide (the cruise industry is world wide)........that's less than 1/1000 of the number of cruise passengers per day who miss a ship at a port of call. My point wasn't that there were a lot of passengers who miss the ship and are left behind, my point was that there were very few.
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Old January 14th, 2013, 10:26 AM
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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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