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Crowds, and Tendering


scubaslayer
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We booked our cruise months ago, and only 2 ships were scheduled to be in port that day, with only 6,000 or so passengers. Now, due to hurricanes, there are 5 ships scheduled to be in port, and over 16,000 passengers. How badly is this going to effect the ability to get a tender and to our shore excursion (not through cruise line)? This was one of the ports we had very specific plans for, and now I am doubting if it will be possible to get off the ship in time. Does it help that we will be on a ship coming into port later than everyone else or does that make it worse? 3 ships are 8am, 1 at 9am, and we land at 10:30am.

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There will be multiple tenders, more than enough. The limiting factor in getting everyone ashore is usually how fast everyone can get loaded on and off the tenders.

 

If your ship is the only one with later arrival then that may work in your favor when it comes to land transportation. There can be some traffic jams, most notably when everyone is heading back to the port around the same time. If your later arrival also means a later departure then you may be in luck.

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Thank you. I was a bit worried seeing more than one of the larger ships suddenly in port that day. It seems like they never have more than about 10,000 in passenger count on any given day, and this is over the holidays. I was able to get more information about the time on the itinerary, and island time and went ahead and booked. I had already talked with the tour company, but they were honest, and can't hold up other guests waiting for a small group for very long. I guess that would depend on how many are going from the same ship as us vs the other ships. I went ahead and booked, and one more thing can be checked off our list.

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...This was one of the ports we had very specific plans for, and now I am doubting if it will be possible to get off the ship in time.

 

I have similar concerns about our stop in Grand Cayman. Not so much about the number of other ships disembarking, but more about whether or not our arrival time will allow for us to get to the excursion we want. Even if we were on one of the first tenders, I feared it would be a close call. In the end, we made the excursion reservation with the cruise line itself, since that will give us priority on the tender list. It ended up costing us around $20pp more than what we would have paid direct to excursion provider, but I figure that's well worth the peace of mind.

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I have similar concerns about our stop in Grand Cayman. Not so much about the number of other ships disembarking, but more about whether or not our arrival time will allow for us to get to the excursion we want. Even if we were on one of the first tenders, I feared it would be a close call. In the end, we made the excursion reservation with the cruise line itself, since that will give us priority on the tender list. It ended up costing us around $20pp more than what we would have paid direct to excursion provider, but I figure that's well worth the peace of mind.

 

I considered that, but that would be too many people on a boat for us. I think with what I have learned, we will be ok. I just hope the tenders are running smoothly.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm a first time cruiser, and was looking at a booking a snorkeling tour on Grand Cayman, but not through the ship I'm on, and I'm worried about how long it takes to get off the ship. We are in port at 8am, but the tour I'm looking at wants people to meet at 9am because their ship leaves at 9:15am for the tour. Is that enough time if I don't have priority tendering on the ship?

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I'm a first time cruiser, and was looking at a booking a snorkeling tour on Grand Cayman, but not through the ship I'm on, and I'm worried about how long it takes to get off the ship. We are in port at 8am, but the tour I'm looking at wants people to meet at 9am because their ship leaves at 9:15am for the tour. Is that enough time if I don't have priority tendering on the ship?

 

What I learned on our trip:

1. Get in line for a tender ticket an hour before they start handing them out. Have proof of the excursion booked and we need the cards for everyone in our group. We were on Royal, so if a different line, ask in those groups for specifics for the tendering process.

 

2. Pay attention to ship time vs port time. It makes a big difference. Our ship time was an hour earlier than the port. This means our 10:30 arrival time was 11:30 for Grand Cayman.

 

 

3. So the boat arrived at 11:30 Grand Cayman time, and excursion was meet up at the pier at 12:20. It was about 12 when we boarded the first tender group that wasn't entirely Royal excursions. Tender took about 10 minutes, and we easily found our group by 12:15.

 

 

4. Even if they say they don't wait, most tour operators will try to give a little leeway. It helps if you have your phone on and can receive messages and communicate with the tour operator. We waited for one group (10 people) for almost an hour after the meeting time because they were on a later tender.

 

Moral of the story, if you think it is worth the risk, make the effort to get off the ship as quickly as possible. Even if it means one person skips breakfast to get in line for the tender tickets.

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What I learned on our trip:

1. Get in line for a tender ticket an hour before they start handing them out. Have proof of the excursion booked and we need the cards for everyone in our group. We were on Royal, so if a different line, ask in those groups for specifics for the tendering process.

 

2. Pay attention to ship time vs port time. It makes a big difference. Our ship time was an hour earlier than the port. This means our 10:30 arrival time was 11:30 for Grand Cayman.

 

 

3. So the boat arrived at 11:30 Grand Cayman time, and excursion was meet up at the pier at 12:20. It was about 12 when we boarded the first tender group that wasn't entirely Royal excursions. Tender took about 10 minutes, and we easily found our group by 12:15.

 

 

4. Even if they say they don't wait, most tour operators will try to give a little leeway. It helps if you have your phone on and can receive messages and communicate with the tour operator. We waited for one group (10 people) for almost an hour after the meeting time because they were on a later tender.

 

Moral of the story, if you think it is worth the risk, make the effort to get off the ship as quickly as possible. Even if it means one person skips breakfast to get in line for the tender tickets.

Thank you for sharing. I'll be on a Norwegian ship and there isn't a lot of information about how the tendering process works on their site, so this is very helpful.

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Thank you for sharing. I'll be on a Norwegian ship and there isn't a lot of information about how the tendering process works on their site, so this is very helpful.

 

I would ask on the Norwegian board how they handle tendering. I would imagine it is similar, but each line has their own way of doing things. I still recommend getting there earlier if you have a time crunch for getting off the ship.

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