How quick can we get off the ship for excursions?

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#1
2 Posts
Joined Apr 2017
Hi All,

My wife and I have an Alaskan cruise scheduled in late June for our 5th year anniversary, and we are both so excited for it! While preparing for excursions, I was curious how quick we are able to get off the ship for an excursion? For example, I scheduled an excursion in Skagway for 9am while the ship is scheduled to be in port at 8am. The excursion is not scheduled through the cruise line cause the cost was 40% less booking on my own. Is that an unrealistic time to get off the ship and walk a few blocks?
#2
Georgia
5,554 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
If think you will be fine. If the ship is scheduled to dock at 8am they should be able to clear customs and start debarking around 8:30 or so.

I don't know about your particular excursion but my experience with private companies is they know what time the ship is there and when they are letting passengers off.

This is how they make their living so they are usually very accommodating.....

Have a wonderful cruise!!!
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Dianne

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#4
Georgia
5,554 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by CruiserBruce
Not sure there will be any customs to clear...but you can typically be off the ship within 30 minutes of actual docking.
Oops!!! Missed the part about being in Alaska....
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Dianne

Carnival Glory - 11/03/03
Carnival Destiny - 11/27/05
Carnival Glory - 2/3/07
Mariner of the Seas - 4/25/08
Disney Wonder - 11/2/08
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Allure of the Seas - 11/3/13
Freedom of the Seas - 4/6/14
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Carnival Liberty - 11/28/14
Brilliance of the Seas - 2/23/15 (cancelled FOG cruise )
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#5
73 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
We booked all the excursions on the cruise line last time and after that cruise, we will not book any excursion outside of the cruise line. At one port, the ship was over an hour late to the port. All the cruise excursions are delayed to wait for us. If you book your own.. oh well. At another port, our excursion was delay because someone was missing during shopping. The group has to wait and then the traffic was bad. We were the last bus to arrive about 45 min after the ship was suppose to leave, but it waited for us. It was a run of shame looking up as everyone is on the balcony looking at us.
#6
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
28,116 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
You do realize that if the ship is late, the private tour vendors are aware, and will wait as well? They aren't going to abandon you. If the ship doesn't make the port stop, most will refund your money?

That going on a private tour you avoid that one or two people in your cruise line excursion who are always late, and hold up your excursion, aren't there?

There are many solid reasons to book excursions on your own.
#7
73 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
Originally posted by CruiserBruce
You do realize that if the ship is late, the private tour vendors are aware, and will wait as well? They aren't going to abandon you. If the ship doesn't make the port stop, most will refund your money?
No I am not aware. I thought the tour won't wait an hour if it is mixed tour of people from our ship and from other ships. I guess they may refund the money? But isn't it varies depends on the company running the tour?

I am sure there are many reasons to book your tours and I did before without any problem. But I just don't want to "miss the boat." after my last cruise. It's just me trying to act on the safer side.
#9
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
28,116 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by lostchild
No I am not aware. I thought the tour won't wait an hour if it is mixed tour of people from our ship and from other ships. I guess they may refund the money? But isn't it varies depends on the company running the tour?

I am sure there are many reasons to book your tours and I did before without any problem. But I just don't want to "miss the boat." after my last cruise. It's just me trying to act on the safer side.
The concerns of a private vendor causing you to miss your ship are discussed frequently on the ports boards. The private vendors know their reputation will be toast if they cause a passenger to miss their sailing. One miss, and they will likely be out of business. In the many discussions, I have not seen a single vendor listed as missing a ship. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but it is extremely rare. Many more people miss their ship due to alcoholic beverages, while out on their own.

As to private companies picking up pax from different ships, that happens, but I am not sure it is as common as perceived. On the other hand, we do totally private, or very small group (4-6 people) private tours. That would eliminate the mixed ship and larger group tours.
#11
Cincinnati
1,941 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
You will def be fine w a 9 am tour, as long as your ship is docking. Tender ports can take awhile to get off at; but dock ports are quick. Easily within 30 minutes, no problem.

To address the issues w the private vendors. We almost always book independent tours. Many take cash payment upon arrival, others ask for a deposit upfront. I always check the cancellation policy. Either cash only payment or with a deposit that's refundable if the ship misses the port or is late. Will an independent tour wait for you? Depends. The ones I've done do pick up from multiple ships and also from hotels. I won't schedule a pickup less than 45 minutes after docking time so as long as we are within an hour of the scheduled time (so 15 minutes late) I've not had trouble with anyone waiting. That happened on our last trip. We were scheduled to dock at 8 and meet the tour at 8:45. They didn't start letting people off until after 8:30 so there was a long line and we didn't make it to the pick up stop till 9. Called and they had no problem waiting. But yes, if you are significantly late, I'm sure there's a limit to how long they wait. As long as I'm able to get my deposit refunded, I'm ok with that.

As far as getting you back late. In the example given of the person shopping, most likely the independent tour wouldn't have waited. Their priority is to get you back to the ship on time. I've never had any troubles making it back after a private excursion and I feel comfortable using well rate tour companies. I also plan to be back at the ship an hour before all aboard so there's buffer time if things are running late.


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