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Disembark 2 hours after docking? Really?

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I started to book excursions, then I saw this fine print on NCL's website:

 

"Due to security reasons, all guests must be on board 2 hours before sailing. Disembarkation usually begins 2 hours after docking. Itineraries are subject to change at any time without notice."

 

Is this the reality, in practice? Because most of the port days are 9 hours from arrival to departure, so that would make the total amount of usable time go down to 5 hours. It also severely impacts scheduling for excursions.

 

The specific situation I'm planning for is an 8 AM arrival and 5 PM departure. The excursion I want to book takes 3.5 hours and is available at 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM, and 12:30 PM. It seems like all of these time slots have a conflict of some sort with the ship schedule. The issue with the 10:30 time slot is that if the ship does actually take 2 hours before disembarkation, that means I'd likely miss the meet-up point since we'd still have to wait in line to get off the ship, then rush into town.

 

What say the collective sage wisdom of Cruise Critic?

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So realistically, when would I expect to get off the ship and when should I be expected to arrive back at the ship?

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As well as the Disembarkation at the home port, you will not have an issue with the excursions 

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Each port will have the time you can depart the ship and when you have to be back on board

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1 minute ago, uconnWBB said:

Each port will have the time you can depart the ship and when you have to be back on board

Yes, I know, but then there's the fine print I shared.

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In Ports of Call, as a rule you can disembark as soon as the local officials clear the ship-- 30 minutes or so.  You must be back on board 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time.  There will be a notice in the Freestyle Daily giving exact information for each port.  Signs will be posted by the elevator banks and the gangway telling you what time you need to be back on board.  

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Again that is disembarkation only at the home port. If you are still not sure call NCL or your TA.

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2 minutes ago, www3traveler said:

In Ports of Call, as a rule you can disembark as soon as the local officials clear the ship-- 30 minutes or so.  You must be back on board 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time.  There will be a notice in the Freestyle Daily giving exact information for each port.  Signs will be posted by the elevator banks and the gangway telling you what time you need to be back on board.  

Thanks for the tangible advice. So in the context of booking excursions, how much time would you recommend as cushion for both disembarking and embarking?

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15 minutes ago, slugg said:

Thanks for the tangible advice. So in the context of booking excursions, how much time would you recommend as cushion for both disembarking and embarking?

Unfortunately, it depends on the port. There are various factors which come into play. For example, if the port arrival time is early in the morning then it is often less busy, whereas a later arrival means lots of people are waiting to get off, so there can be delays.

 

If you are arranging a tour with a local company who offers tours to cruise passengers then they will direct you. Most such companies are well used to this and know much more than you will about likely arrival times.

 

If you are booking public transport of anything else that could be missed then I would leave about an hour in case of delays. Most likely you won’t need anything like that.

 

There are no hard and fast rules though.

 

In your example, 10.30 and 12.30 are absolutely fine. I would only book 8,30 if they are aware where you are coming from and have confirmed they would wait if there are any delays.

Edited by KeithJenner

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To simplify, EMBARKATION would be the first day of the cruise & DISEMBARKATION would be the last day of the cruise.

 

Port stops go by ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE.

 

  • Ship is normally cleared by local authorities within 30 minutes of arrival at a port & then you can leave the ship.
  • All aboard is normally 30 minutes before departure, so if ship departs at 5 PM, all aboard would be 4:30 PM.

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55 minutes ago, slugg said:

I started to book excursions, then I saw this fine print on NCL's website:

 

"Due to security reasons, all guests must be on board 2 hours before sailing. Disembarkation usually begins 2 hours after docking. Itineraries are subject to change at any time without notice."

 

Is this the reality, in practice? Because most of the port days are 9 hours from arrival to departure, so that would make the total amount of usable time go down to 5 hours. It also severely impacts scheduling for excursions.

 

The specific situation I'm planning for is an 8 AM arrival and 5 PM departure. The excursion I want to book takes 3.5 hours and is available at 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM, and 12:30 PM. It seems like all of these time slots have a conflict of some sort with the ship schedule. The issue with the 10:30 time slot is that if the ship does actually take 2 hours before disembarkation, that means I'd likely miss the meet-up point since we'd still have to wait in line to get off the ship, then rush into town.

 

What say the collective sage wisdom of Cruise Critic?

 

What port are you talking about and are the excursions from a private company or Norwegian Cruise Line excursions. That will make quite a difference in your situation.

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Excursions booked through Norwegian, or any other cruise line for that matter, will never be a problem.  The tour won't leave without you so long as you follow the rules for meeting your group the day of the tour.  And the ship won't leave without you 99.99% of the time.

 

Private excursions with third party companies, are a different story.  Just make sure you are scheduled back at the ship before the cut off time.  When you leave the ship there is a big ass sign that says, "Guests must be on board by XX:XX . 

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2 hours ago, Aesop081 said:

Excursions booked through Norwegian, or any other cruise line for that matter, will never be a problem.  The tour won't leave without you so long as you follow the rules for meeting your group the day of the tour.  And the ship won't leave without you 99.99% of the time.

 

Private excursions with third party companies, are a different story.  Just make sure you are scheduled back at the ship before the cut off time.  When you leave the ship there is a big ass sign that says, "Guests must be on board by XX:XX . 

I realized that I did leave out that the excursion I'd like to do is from a third party, not booked through NCL. 

 

I'm aware of the signs, but I need to book my excursions beforehand. So I'm trying to get an idea of how much time I actually have. Hope that makes sense. 

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2 hours ago, pinkie60 said:

 

What port are you talking about and are the excursions from a private company or Norwegian Cruise Line excursions. That will make quite a difference in your situation.

The port is Cozumel and it's a private company. But I'd also like to book excursions, mostly third party, at Roatan and Costa Maya. But for now, the short term goal is to figure out Cozumel. Thanks!

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What are the times listed for your itinerary?  Arrive at?  Depart at ?  

 

Say 9:00 A. M.  to 6 P.M.  Allow at least 30 minutes on both sides  gives you about 8 hours in Cozumel.

 

Same would be true for the other ports.

 

Enjoy your cruise

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3 hours ago, JKHawaii said:

To simplify, EMBARKATION would be the first day of the cruise & DISEMBARKATION would be the last day of the cruise.

 

Port stops go by ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE.

 

  • Ship is normally cleared by local authorities within 30 minutes of arrival at a port & then you can leave the ship.
  • All aboard is normally 30 minutes before departure, so if ship departs at 5 PM, all aboard would be 4:30 PM.

Awesome! Now that makes perfect sense. Thank you!

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The only other variable to consider is Tendering.  Unless you are in a suite, you’ll have to wait to get a tender behind the shore excursions and suites.   Maybe not an issue at Cozumel, but something for other readers of this thread to consider.

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3 hours ago, FitchburgWIFamily said:

The only other variable to consider is Tendering.  Unless you are in a suite, you’ll have to wait to get a tender behind the shore excursions and suites.   Maybe not an issue at Cozumel, but something for other readers of this thread to consider.

Thanks for posting - was thinking of the same thing.  I believe that if you book an excursion through NCL and have an early departure, you are able to get priority boarding for the first tender.  Never had to tender to a port before (except to Carnival's private island).  One of the ports for our New England/Canada cruise uses a tender, so it will be interesting to see the process.

 

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8 hours ago, FitchburgWIFamily said:

The only other variable to consider is Tendering.  Unless you are in a suite, you’ll have to wait to get a tender behind the shore excursions and suites.   Maybe not an issue at Cozumel, but something for other readers of this thread to consider.

 

Latitudes status Gold and above also enjoy priority tender benefits and do not need to wait.

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2 minutes ago, Paul Bogle said:

 

Latitudes status Gold and above also enjoy priority tender benefits and do not need to wait.

Still have to wait a bit, as you have to join the queue. Latitudes priority tendering just means that you can join the queue when you want, but you don’t get to jump the queue.

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2 minutes ago, KeithJenner said:

Still have to wait a bit, as you have to join the queue. Latitudes priority tendering just means that you can join the queue when you want, but you don’t get to jump the queue.

 

It's a separate queue from general boarding. You go to a different designated place, on Breakaway it was the Spiegel Tent and join the priority line.

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2 minutes ago, Paul Bogle said:

 

It's a separate queue from general boarding. You go to a different designated place, on Breakaway it was the Spiegel Tent and join the priority line.

Not in my experience, nor according to most reports on this board, and the usual instruction from the cruisenext staff.

 

Latitudes priority boarding allows you to join the general queue without reserving a time. Any other experience would be either because a particular ship was doing things differently, or that the staff let people join a queue which they shouldn’t really have been in (which does seem to happen sometimes).

 

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On Breakaway the Latitudes desk instructed us (Platinum) to report to the Spiegel Tent on deck six when we were ready to board a tender. When we arrived at the Spiegel tent entrance crew members checked our ship cards and put us in the priority line. The line was roped off from the Spiegel Tent to the first forward starboard side elevator which was reserved for priority tenders. We exited on deck four and walked aft to board our tender. Total time from arrival at the Spiegel tent to sitting on a tender was less than ten minutes.

 

Those on NCL excursions or with tender assignments were directed to the theater. NCL excursion tickets gave the time to meet, those with tender numbers had to wait to be called.  Once called groups were directed out the port side of the theater and onto the first forward elevator port side which was reserved for this purpose. Once on deck four the line exited the elevator and used the forward tender gangway.

 

This was in Georgetown Grand Cayman in January. Tendering began at 11:00 am. We left our cabin around 11:00, went through the tender process and were ashore before 11:30. I was a very easy and very well run process. Breakaway was using both forward and aft tender stations when we returned late in the afternoon. I suspect that once the priority line exhausted both lines were available to all passengers. Since I was ashore I cannot state it as a fact.

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It sounds like they were doing it differently on that itinerary or port. These things do happen, but unfortunately you are likely to

find that it doesn’t happen that way in the future.

 

latitudes priority tendering is very useful as it avoids having to make reservations, but it doesn’t usually help you get off any earlier than others who got the early reservations.

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