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Tender Timing in Grand Cayman with RCI


akcruz

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Trying to book a private excursion in Grand Cayman and was wondering how long it normally takes to get off the ship when you are not participating in the ships excursion. I know that those that are on ship excursions normally get off first, but wasn’t sure if there was a way to go along with them. I have never had to tender on an RCI cruise so this is a new one for me. I was able to get off on the first tender last year on my Carnival cruise for a private excursion and was looking for advice from the RCI regulars on whether this is possible and if so how.

 

We will be sailing on the Mariner and arriving in Grand Cayman at 8:00 am ship time, which I have confirmed is 7:00 am local time. Any thoughts on the earliest we could be off the ship. Do we need to get tender tickets and wait our turn, or is there someone to talk with to be able to get off earlier? What is the earliest you would recommend booking a tour for? Any other advice?

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Did this tendering last week on the Grandeur. We had arrival at 7, with tendering expected to begin at 8. They gave out tender tickets in the lounge starting at 7, I got in line at 6:55 and got the #4 group, which allowed us to get off within minutes.

My experience has been that RC is better at running tendering than most. On Princess priority is given to passengers with Princess-purchased excursions, leaving those with other excursions to sweat.

However, the overriding factor at GC is the water - if smooth, tendering goes fast, if rough it can take hours. HOWEVER, don't forget that the excursion people deal with your ship every week, they know how late you may be for given water conditions and will usually wait for you.

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Just my experience. Cayman can be a difficult tender....Very Ruff! We had the ramp fall and also has a fellow pax injured in 2005.

 

I had booked a private sting ray excursion along with a group of others from these boards and we did NOT make it. We were able to get tix to be on the first tender but the ship was held up due to getting clearance for the port because there were so many ships that day. Before I booked the private tour I did take into consideration the weather but never knew about the ships clearance.

 

We tried another operator once we were on the island but their boat was way to small for all the people. We just ended up shopping then went back on the ship.

 

Others on the boards book private tours all the time. I ended up booking the rest through the ship and had no problems. I will not book private again but I'm sure you will be fine if you allow plenty of time!!

 

Enjoy your cruise...we'll be on Mariner soon also!!

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PSCruiser - Thanks for the response, one question - your arrival in Grand Cayman was at 7 am but tenders didn't begin until 8? Just making sure I have my facts straight.

 

We were looking at a tour that begins at 8:30 local time with check-in before that, if we don't start tendering until 8 (9 ship time, 1hour after we arrive) doesn't sound like we will make that one. We are trying not to take up the whole day with an excursion, would like to spend some time in George Town so was looking at an earlier one. May have to fall back on an earlier ship excursion :( . Prefer to do on our own, but where it doesn't make sense, or causes stress on our part I'll go with the ship. Most of the private excursions that leave a little later won't get us back until its just about time to get back on the tender line, leaving little or no extra.

 

Willbcruisin - That's just my fear, after months of planning, I don't want to have something like this mess it all up. Yes I am a planner, but want to just relax once on the ship and enjoy, not worry about what is and isn't going to work out right.

 

mae - George Town is the where you arrive in Grand Cayman so that is a tender as you see. For Montego Bay you will most likely dock. Not sure about the last one. You should be able to look at your itinerary and see.

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Yes, as stated is how I remember it. Our itinerary said 7, and the ship was in tender position about that time (I was getting my tickets). They were announcing that tendering would begin soon - "when cleared by the local authorities". Also, we tendered in lifeboats, so they had to be lowered and brought to the ramp etc., so it was probably 45-60 min. until tendering started.

I think you should email your excursion and explain your situation, so they will expect a possible late arrival. However, remember that they probably deal with your ship's schedule every week, so they probably already know what to expect from clients from your ship.

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I'm sure I'll get flamed for stating this here but in my experience, RCCL never even checks the tender tickets. So if you need to get off first thing, stand in line with everyone else and take a tender. We've never had any problems getting off without a ticket to take our independent shore excursions.

 

Flame away...

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Our itinerary says we are at Cayman from 8am to 4pm. We booked a 2.5hr waverunner/stingray tour at 11am. We need to get to the hotel to start which I was told takes 10min to and from the port.

 

Will we be okay to do this from both ends. I thought this would be the best time possible. What do you think??

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Our itinerary says we are at Cayman from 8am to 4pm. We booked a 2.5hr waverunner/stingray tour at 11am. We need to get to the hotel to start which I was told takes 10min to and from the port.

 

Will we be okay to do this from both ends. I thought this would be the best time possible. What do you think??

I take it this is an independent tour. You have a link or can email me info. It sounds like the best of both worlds type of excursion to me. :D

 

For those wondering about times it gets rather confusing for Grand Cayman. In 2007 from April 1st - Oct 28th the ship will be 1 hour past island time, take that into consideration on what time it is. :confused: So if your cruise is Oct 29th - March 31st island time is the same as the ship.

 

BonVoyage

Dawna

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#1 When you book your independant tour in Grand Cayman, be sure to advise them what your ship is and the cruise lines' published tender time. They will KNOW the Grand cayman time and book you accordingly. Rely on them, they do it all the time! On Royal Carribbean, for example, Rhapsody is on Central time while Brilliance is on Eastern time. Rely on the tour operator.

 

#2 The other poster that asked about Cancun...are you sure you did not mean Cozumel? There are no piers for Cancun, you will tender. In Cozumel, RCI adjusts while ships tender and they always work to have Freedom dock.

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#1 When you book your independant tour in Grand Cayman, be sure to advise them what your ship is and the cruise lines' published tender time. They will KNOW the Grand cayman time and book you accordingly. Rely on them, they do it all the time! On Royal Carribbean, for example, Rhapsody is on Central time while Brilliance is on Eastern time. Rely on the tour operator.

 

#2 The other poster that asked about Cancun...are you sure you did not mean Cozumel? There are no piers for Cancun, you will tender. In Cozumel, RCI adjusts while ships tender and they always work to have Freedom dock.

 

Oops, I wasn't thinking about the ships that leave from other US ports that may not be on eastern time. We have only left from Miami & Fort Lauderdale. Thanks for pointing that out.

 

BonVoyage

Dawna

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We did this a week ago today on the Brilliance. We had an RCI tour, but no one ever checked our excursion tickets for the tenders; they only wanted our Sea Pass. It was never specified that the RCI tour ticket holders should go first. The excursion times were spread out, so it wasn't urgent for everyone on an RCI tour to be on the pier first thing.

 

The tenders fill up fast in the a.m. It doesn't take long to get going, and you're ashore pretty quickly, assuming the water is calm, which it was for us. Coming back, we had to wait quite a while for the tender and also to re-board, since there was another tender ahead of us that was waiting to fill up before it left the ship. Obviously, if you're in one of the RCI tenders headed back to the ship, they're not going to leave you behind.

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Thanks for all the replies. Still don't know exactly what to do, but still have time to figure it out.

 

One last question, does anyone have experience with how this works on Mariner? Do they do the tickets like was explained above, or do they have some tenders for non ship excursion use early on, or something else?

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We were on the Mariner in Oct. and did the private tour with Capt. Marvins. (WONDERFUL!! Best time the whole cruise!) We did the half day, 10:00 to 1:00 and made it in plenty of time. We actually walked around a little while after we checked in. We let the crowds die down and didn't rush getting off the boat so I can't tell you if it was chaos early on? The Compass says we arrived 8:00 ship time. So that should be 7:00 Cayman time. (Some one correct me if I'm wrong. I'm going by an email sent from Capt. M's) Tender was full, water was rough and we got fired at by Pirates! LOL! But it ran fine.

:o It was a little tight getting back. We (the tour) was running a little behind schedule. I think we were back in town around, 2;45? I REALLY wanted to purchase some flavored rums but there was not enough time to have it sent back to the ship.:( And we caught the very last tender. (Last tender was at 3:30)

Hope this helps. Have fun and kiss a sting ray!

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We are just back from Jewel, and tendering at Grand Cayman was tough! The seas were very rough and the tenders were bouncing all around. Boarding them was taking a very long time. We were in the last tender from the starboard side, and as soon as ours left the Captain "repositioned" the ship and they began tendering operations from the port side. As a result, we waited almost 40 mins on shore for the rest of the folks who were supposed to be on our tour to arrive. Also, the comment made above about "ships time" being different from "Georgetown time" was vary accurate. We were quite surprised while onshore to glance up at a clock and see it was an hour later than what we thought it was. It caused a momentary panic because we feared that we were running late.

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