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On and Off-ship times question: Celebrity Mediterranean


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We have never been on a cruise before. When itinerary states "Arrival to port 6am and Departure from port 6pm." What practically does it mean? When will we actually be able to get out of the port terminal and how early we must be at the terminal so we don't miss our ship?  I am asking about reasonable estimation, so we don't have to sit and wait, or run like crazy.. 🙂 Thanks!



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This thread will likely be moved to the Celebrity forum.  In the mean time: it sounds like you are planning all independant touring, and not going on any ship excursions.


There are 2 scenarios. 1. The ship docks and the usual arrival procedures are completed. You can expect the gangplank(s) to be open within 30 minutes or so. Priority may be given to early ship excursions and suite guests; otherwise it's first come first off. Usually you need to be back on board at least 30 minutes before sailaway. Don't cut it too close, because they won't wait if you are not on a ship excursion.

    2. The ship anchors and you need to tender ashore. You will be advised in advance of the procedure (where and when) for getting the tender tickets in order to go ashore. Again, early ship excursions and suite guests have priority. Then tenders are boarded according to the number on the ticket. So line up early when they hand out the tender tickets, or it could be a couple of hours before you finally get to board the tender. Depending on the port, it might take the tender 15-30 minutes to reach the dock. Usually the last tender will return to the ship 30 minutes before sailaway.


All of this is for port stops. But on your cruise embarkation day you need to be ON BOARD (not just arriving in the terminal) 60-90 minutes before sailaway. And on disembarkation day, the gangway usually opens early only for those who are carrying off their own luggage. All others depart the ship according to the number on their luggage tags, which will have been collected the night before. It could be an hour or more before your number is called. Information about disembarkation  procedures will be left in your cabin a day or 2 before the end of the cruise.

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OP: “scheduled” arrival time and “actual” arrival time can be vastly different things. Our most recent month long cruise from SYD to SYD and then on to PPT arrived 2 hours late on the first segment return to SYD. Many folks who had early departure flights (almost never a good idea) or private tours were scrambling to make whatever new arrangements that were deemed necessary.

That said, always give yourself buffers when it comes to any key part of cruise itineraries.

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  • 3 weeks later...

If the ship arrives in port at 6:00 am you can usually debark by 6:30 am. Typically ships arrive at port stops from 7:00 am forward. 


If your ship is set to depart at 6:00 pm the all aboard time is 5:30 pm. You should allow yourself a good buffer amount of time to get to the pier. 


As it's your first cruise it's a very good idea to book your excursions with the cruise line. If for any reason your cruise line booked tour is late returning to port the ship will wait. If your independent excursion is late the ship will not wait. 


Have a wonderful cruise I'm sure you will be hooked shortly after you stroll up the gangway. 



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Excellent question, and as @mom says points out, there could be two or three scenarios at play.  I'd read through each of the scenarios mentioned.


In addition, you mentioned that you'll be going to the Med.  Since the time zones are different than what we have here in the US, it's suggested that you stay on ship time.  Ship time is usually based on the time that port you embark on has.  Crew will remind you of this the night before you cross time zones, it will be broadcast on the TV in your cabin, and it will be announced on the ship's PA system.  It will also be noted throughout the ship, stated in your activities schedule, and clocks will be displayed to help you keep track of time.  


Also, @mom says noted the time frame to be onboard the ship on Embarkation Day.  Instructions for this can be found in the Celebrity app, where you'll also be able to complete your check-in and sign up for an Arrival Time to embark the ship.  Please note that just because you sign up for an Arrival Time doesn't mean that you'll be able to embark the ship at that time,  It simply means that you plan on arriving to the terminal at that time.  The time you embark on the ship is dependent on things like staffing issues, cleaning the ship (terminal clean), and getting the passengers from the previous week debarked. 

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