Excursion Timing

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13 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
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?
94,041 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
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.

109,521 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
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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6 Posts
Joined Nov 2017
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.
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
30,180 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
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.
6 Posts
Joined Nov 2017
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).
United States
1,519 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
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.
3,294 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
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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