Jump to content
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips

Has anyone on a ship's excursion actually missed the boat?


Koshlong

Recommended Posts

Okay. I know it's a ship. Boat just sounds better here. But I digress.....

 

I'm interested in the experiences of people who have actually taken ship-sponsored tours that returned late. Has anyone had any interesting experiences?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unless the ship is in danger from a rapidly approaching storm as was the case of Amsterdam leaving the Falkland Islands prematurely in 2005, stranding many passengers on that island overnight...

(A close friend was crew and ashore that night)

...or sets out on a rescue mission at the distress call of a nearby ship as was the case in 1974 when Sea Venture (Later Pacific Princess) left Hamilton, Bermuda prematurely to go to the aid of QE2 which had lost all power in the Atlantic - the ship will not leave prior to departure time and will remain in port after departure time for any late ship excursions to return.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you're on one of their tours - they wait, unless there's some really urgent reason they can't (really severe weather, tides, etc...) because the passengers on that tour are their responsibility and if they left without those passengers they'd just have to transport everyone on that tour to the next port and put up everyone overnight. It's cheaper and less hassle to wait.

 

Usually, in at least one port per cruise, one of the tour groups runs late, and the ship usually knows exactly how late and where they are - HOWEVER - I was onboard one ship, the Marco Polo, years ago where all the passengers (except for 50) were over 3 hours late returning to the ship from an overnight tour to Luxor. The ship had no idea what had happened to their passengers (This was 10 years ago and communications aren't what they are now). Capt. Erik was very relieved when the busses finally arrived. We were late because our security escort felt like having an extended lunch :confused:.

 

Lydia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the Royal Princess in 1996 or 97 we left 22 passengers, about 15 crew (working the dock) and four lifeboats in Stanley. We went back for them 2 days later, BUT the only reason we waited is that we needed the lifeboats to be legal. Otherwise, according to the Captain, we would have sailed and Princess would have flown the passengers/crew to our next port.

 

It was serious weather and we had to leave the Harbor quickly. It took about 1 hour to get each tender tied to the ship and to unload folks. It was all very well done under the circumstances, but it turned into a crisis situation as the Royal Princess had to get out of the small harbor before the winds (got to Force 12) got even worse.

 

The folks of Stanley were wonderful to the stranded folks, having them stay in homes, feeding them, etc. (The hotels were full with folks waiting to board an expedition ship that could not enter the harbor either.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...or sets out on a rescue mission at the distress call of a nearby ship as was the case in 1974 when Sea Venture (Later Pacific Princess) left Hamilton, Bermuda prematurely to go to the aid of QE2 which had lost all power in the Atlantic - .

 

I remember that incident! It was a huge story at the time. What a memory you have!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you're on one of their tours - they wait, unless there's some really urgent reason they can't (really severe weather, tides, etc...) because the passengers on that tour are their responsibility and if they left without those passengers they'd just have to transport everyone on that tour to the next port and put up everyone overnight. It's cheaper and less hassle to wait.

And that's exactly why I tend to favor HAL tours over independent ones. On my last cruise, we were very delayed in getting back to the ship because of a bicycle race and an air show that were going on in Victoria, B.C. that day. The tour guide even apologized to us, but there was little he could do. Traffic was snarled, there were detours everywhere ... short of that bus growing wings, we were just going to be late. Nothing that could be done about it.

 

Well, I knew I was on a HAL sponsored tour, and there was a double decker bus full of others just like me. I knew it was highly doubtful the ship would pull out without us being onboard because the expense of flying all these people to San Francisco (our next port), not to mention the hotel charges for two nights, would have been prohibitive.

 

Sure enough, when we pulled back up to the dock, there was the Statendam, her gangway still in place, waiting for us. In fact, other tours had gotten back late as well, so we were not alone.

 

By that time, the Snowbirds air show was on and lots of passengers were on the upper decks enjoying it. Captain Jack was kind enough to arrange to remain in port until it was over so that everyone could view it, and believe me, it was awesome.

 

We pulled away from the dock about two hours late that night, so I doubt anyone got left behind. But had it been an independent tour that was the only one late getting back, I honestly don't know what the captain may have done. I assume HAL paid extra money to remain in port a couple of hours later than scheduled, and I don't know if they would have done that for independent tours.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

Link to comment
Share on other sites

About 10 minutes after leaving the port in Rome, a small boat came bumping along aside the ship. The ship slows, the crew opens a door and drops a net down to the boat and a French couple makes a perilous climb up the net. We were watching from our balcony. The ship never stopped. For the crew, it was probably like picking up a pilot. The french woman was not very strong and had one heckuva time pulling herself up. I think the reason they missed the ship was because of the language barrier. After we watched this ordeal, a few minutes later we opened our cabin door and the french couple were sheepishly walking down the hall. It had to be embarrassing. We wondered how much they had to pay the owner of the small boat to bring them out to the ship.

 

One the major selling points for a ship sponsored excursion is so something like this would not happen.

 

On our first cruise, we took a private excursion out to Stingray City in Grand Cayman. While heading back to the dock, the boat's engine blew up. Our boat was dead in the water and surrounded by murky black oil. They opened the engine cover and smoke billowed out. It was an awful sight. The water and the air were foul. Fortunately, another boat from the same company was nearby and towed us back to shore. This took forever. Luckily, the tenders were moving slow that day so we managed to get back to the dock with plenty of time. A lesson we have learned about the Caribbean is that the private operators, even the ones hired by the cruise lines, do not take care of their boats. The boats either do not start, barely run or quit running completely. It has happened more than a couple of times. When planning a private excursion, this is something to keep in mind.

 

Another time we almost got stranded at Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau while waiting for public transportation back to the dock. A Princess bus driver took pity on us and let us board the bus that was full of people who had taken the excursion. The bus was the last one back. Public transportation is usually pretty reliable except when you absolutely need them to be on time. Another cruise lesson to keep in mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay. I know it's a ship. Boat just sounds better here. But I digress.....
ROFL! A CD once told me: "You can put a boat on a ship but you can't put a ship on a boat."

 

There is definitely something to be said for taking a ship's excursion, particularly if you follow the adage "expect the unexpected." Things DO happen, even with very careful planning and tons of raving referrals. Once, we were returning from Marrakesh on a ship's excursion, and were already running late, only to be stopped by army officers who apparently decided to stop vehicles with tourists and give them a hard time. We were held for almost half an hour while they walked around the bus (and other vehicles) several times, looking in with angry expressions, before they finally let us go. We got to the ship almost two hours after scheduled departure and as soon as we boarded, they whipped up the gangway and set sail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Note to self: if the port is in any way scary, take a ship tour. If the port isn't that scary and you've got lots of time and are brave, plan on 3x the expected time needed to return to the ship,,,,,then add an hour?:o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The folks of Stanley were wonderful to the stranded folks, having them stay in homes, feeding them, etc.
I remember this happening. Although it was a bad situation, I remember thinking what a wonderfully unique thing it was for the pax who got to stay with locals. Not every kid in their neighborhood had that experience.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was discussing this with one of the ship services people on our Alaska cruise because I was considering a European cruise (which we are now taking :D ) and was not sure how reliable private tours might be. She was a friend of another member of our group, so I think I got the real story.

 

She said that the ship will sometimes leave before the return of a ship's tour, usually due to the tide situation in some ports, but sometimes for other "cost effective" reasons. The ship is then responsible for getting the passengers to the next port, so it depends on how late the tour is, how many people are on the tour, the extra fuel and such they will have to burn to make the next port on time vs. how many passengers they have to transport and how far the next port is and lots of other factors... but leaving a ship's tour is very rare.

 

She also said the ship will often wait a short time for a private tour if the tour operator is a professional known to the line and calls ahead to the ship about the delay. Apparently whatever holds up a private tour usually holds up a ship's tour as well, in Europe most often traffic, so the ship is waiting for for the ship's tour if there's been a hold up and the private tours usually make it. She'd had very, very few private tours miss the boat. She said the people who miss the ship are almost always people doing a port independently, and most often people who've had a little too much to drink with lunch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance - Welcome to Cruise Critic
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Cruise News
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...