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How to Get on One of the First Tenders


Podie

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We will be tendering into Sitka on the Carnival Spirit on 6/1. We are due to arrive at 0630 and have a privately booked tour with Capt. Davey to meet him at 0900. He advises being "polite but firm" to get on a tender no later than 0815. Five of us need to do this. Any advice? Will a tip help at all?

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We will be tendering into Sitka on the Carnival Spirit on 6/1. We are due to arrive at 0630 and have a privately booked tour with Capt. Davey to meet him at 0900. He advises being "polite but firm" to get on a tender no later than 0815. Five of us need to do this. Any advice? Will a tip help at all?

 

NO GUARANTEES. Depends on the way each individual cruise ship handles tender arrangements. MOST ships allow the passengers with cruise line booked excursions onto the first tenders. Then usually elite/status (suite/VIP and frequent cruisers) pax. After that, it is first come, first served.

 

Get up extra early and get in line. But PLEASE wait your turn. Few things irritate passengers more than someone trying to crowd onto the tenders when it is not your turn. "Polite but firm" is NOT the way to get on a tender if it is NOT your turn. Just an FYI.

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We will be tendering into Sitka on the Carnival Spirit on 6/1. We are due to arrive at 0630 and have a privately booked tour with Capt. Davey to meet him at 0900.

 

That gives you LOTS of time to get off, but be prepared to wait in line like everyone else. Tips to staff are neither accepted nor useful to get ahead of others.

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My suggestion is to be up and ready to go 1/2 before the posted time. By 8am, you can run into SIGNIFICANT lines. The earlier you are ready, the better. You do have the advantage of this being an early port, you are in big trouble with tendering with afternoon arrivals- everyone is up and wants out.

 

But you also have to factor in that there are MANY early risers on Alaska cruises. It won't make much difference if you are early tendering getting to Sitka, but you don't want to miss your tour- by getting in line at 8am and hoping you get on a tender by 8am.

 

Read your newletter and know the tender process of your ship, where tender tickets are picked up, deck etc.

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Thanks for info BQ. Our cruise arrives at 5:30 am, our excursion is scheduled for 11:30. What time should we get in line? We are thinking there will be time for a hearty breakfast since our excursion runs thru a normal lunch time...not that anyone is going to get hungry...but at 2:30, but can you suggest something or rather someplace for lunch, as we don't want to tender back to the ship to eat, and our supper club will be that night. A basic sandwich kind of thing to take the edge off if we do get hungry before evening?

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Thanks for info BQ. Our cruise arrives at 5:30 am, our excursion is scheduled for 11:30. What time should we get in line? We are thinking there will be time for a hearty breakfast since our excursion runs thru a normal lunch time...not that anyone is going to get hungry...but at 2:30, but can you suggest something or rather someplace for lunch, as we don't want to tender back to the ship to eat, and our supper club will be that night. A basic sandwich kind of thing to take the edge off if we do get hungry before evening?

 

As I note- the lines can get longer as the morning goes on. I still advocate for an early start, since there is so much you can see and do in Sitka. IF you want to get in only for your tour, then I would look to start being in the tender line around 9:30-10am

 

Not sure if it's still open, but I always thought the bowling ally had some great food. :) Called Lane 7.

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I must say that this is totally a concern of mine. We arrive at 6:30 and are to meet Captain Davey at 7:30 am. I told him I was concerned and he told us the same thing....be polite and firm. The more I hear about the tender in Sitka, the more I think we'll be missing our tour.

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OMG you are going to love the Esther G - or something like that. We toured with Capt Dave and it was fantastic. What we did was got down to the area early - the ship usually is in place about an hour ahead of schedule anyway. We just politely asked if we could leave early because we had a scheduled tour and there was no problem at all. Of course the only other people there were the other 4 joining us, and I guess it depends on the ship too. We had previously gone to the front desk and asked if there were ever exceptions made and the front desk manager agreed to help us out if there was any problem. We were on the Oosterdam, but I'm sure all of the ships have cordial front desk crew members. Just plan ahead instead of getting there in a frantic - I'm sure they will help you out! Have a great time - Capt Dave is a blast!!

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I must say that this is totally a concern of mine. We arrive at 6:30 and are to meet Captain Davey at 7:30 am. I told him I was concerned and he told us the same thing....be polite and firm. The more I hear about the tender in Sitka, the more I think we'll be missing our tour.

 

Davey has been doing this for quite a while - he wouldn't waste his time or yours by booking you on a tour unless he was sure you could make it. I've been out with him twice - you're in for a great day!

 

Murray

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Thanks everyone! I feel better and will take the suggestion of going to the Front Desk and letting them know what is going on.

 

We can hardly wait. Captain Davey is one of the most personable people I've dealt with in planning our cruise...can't wait to meet him in person!

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You can try the nice approach at the front desk but I agree with Capt. Davey. Whenever we have an early excursion we get in line early as advised by many. Then we are polite but firm if questioned about ship excursions, bracelets, etc. We have never been denied our spot in line. Ship excursion people don't have any right to be off the ship before you.

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We were on the Carnival Spirit last year and we had a tour with Captain Davey at 9:30a.m. (our arrival time was 8:30). We were on the first tender and just made it to shore just in time for our tour; I think there was some delay with starting the tenders that day. However, your tour starts at 9 and you arrive in Sitka at 6:30am, so you do have some extra time.

 

On our cruise, if you wanted to get off the ship on one of the early tenders, you had to get a tender sticker for each person (everyone does not have to be present). We were told to wait in a lounge and eventually 2 or 3 crewmembers showed up with the stickers. When they made an announcement, everyone just ran up to the table to try to get stickers; essentially it was a free for all, so we had to get ourselves in there to get the stickers and there was no advantage for us waiting at least 45 minutes in the lounge.

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Tender operations are usually very well organized, and the operators ashore are well aware of what is happening and will account for any delays.

 

That said, I think that their suggestion to be "polite but firm" is a bit misleading. Neither is going to do you any good, nor will tipping anybody, as tickets are purely first come first serve. It is simply a matter of being up early, waiting in line for the tender tickets and getting some of the first ones.

 

They are not going to leave without you unless you dawdle and fail to get your tickets early. If you are on one of the first few tenders ashore you will be fine. If you fool around and a number of tenders come and go and you are not on them, the operator may conclude you are not coming. Sadly there are some inconsiderate pax who just decide not to go and don't let the operator know. So he is in a bit of a spot. He wants to be fair and wait for those who are booked, but can't keep a whole boatload waiting for somebody who might not show.

 

Don't obsess over this. Both the ship and the shoreside operators do a very good job and are well aware how it operates. Just get in line early and you will be fine.

 

As for tendering later in the day, most often the lines are gone by an hour and a half after tendering begins. HOWEVER sometimes it is true that lines can get longer as the day goes on. So again, even if you have a late tour, allow plenty of time to tender ashore and do not dawdle.

 

Have a GREAT cruise!

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Ship excursion people don't have any right to be off the ship before you.

 

Yes they do. One of the subtle reasons ship sponsored excursions cost more. One of the marketing tools cruise lines use to sell their excursions. As well, suite passengers and high tier elite cruisers are given some of the first tender tickets as part of their promised/expected perks.

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On Carnival, if not on a ship tour or Platinum, you usually need to get tender stickers.

 

Before you get the stickers, your entire group needs to be together and ready to go. The stickers will have a number on them and when they call that number you need to be ready to go.

 

I am on the May 27 Carnival Spirit sailing but am doing a ship tour in Sitka. If I remember, I'll try to see what the procedure is for others.

 

http://www.zydecocruiser.com/CarnivalSpirit/Alaska/index.htm

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Yes they do. One of the subtle reasons ship sponsored excursions cost more. One of the marketing tools cruise lines use to sell their excursions. As well, suite passengers and high tier elite cruisers are given some of the first tender tickets as part of their promised/expected perks.

 

You took the words right out of my mouth. We aren't tendering at any of our ports this year but, if we were, we would get priority tender tickets, and have them at the beginning of the trip for all ports where needed. After suites/elites, then come ship sponsored shore ex, then comes everyone else. And tender lines tend to be highly contentious at their very best. Bottom line.....get there early, so you will be close to the front of the "everyone else" line (since I don't know how Carnival handles the priority tickets issue and who gets them, if anyone).

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You took the words right out of my mouth. We aren't tendering at any of our ports this year but, if we were, we would get priority tender tickets, and have them at the beginning of the trip for all ports where needed. After suites/elites, then come ship sponsored shore ex, then comes everyone else. And tender lines tend to be highly contentious at their very best. Bottom line.....get there early, so you will be close to the front of the "everyone else" line (since I don't know how Carnival handles the priority tickets issue and who gets them, if anyone).

 

Tender lines "contentious"? Completely contrary to our experience on HAL, Princess and Royal Caribbean. Tender lines have always been orderly and well organized. The few "priority" passengers do not make much difference. It is simply NOT true that ship's excursions all have priority. The ship's excursions depart at staggered times, and independent passengers have tender access between ship's departures. The early passengers who get their tender tickets in the first group will be off the ship almost as early as the first ship's excursions. I think the only time it would be "contentious" is if someone is trying to "buck" the line. Relaxing, following the process, and taking your turn will get you off the ship in good time with no problems. This is not as big an issue as people are making of it.

 

Have a GREAT cruise!

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Tender lines "contentious"? Completely contrary to our experience on HAL, Princess and Royal Caribbean. Tender lines have always been orderly and well organized. The few "priority" passengers do not make much difference. It is simply NOT true that ship's excursions all have priority. The ship's excursions depart at staggered times, and independent passengers have tender access between ship's departures. The early passengers who get their tender tickets in the first group will be off the ship almost as early as the first ship's excursions. I think the only time it would be "contentious" is if someone is trying to "buck" the line. Relaxing, following the process, and taking your turn will get you off the ship in good time with no problems. This is not as big an issue as people are making of it.

 

Have a GREAT cruise!

 

Sorry you can be wrong. I HAVE been in horrific tender "lines" several times. The last one, last year, of which I DID have a "priority" tender ticket and a slight delay from the "posted" tender time. I don't know how frequently, you are first in line, up "early" to get off the ship, but I have seen it happen more than once.

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