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Can anyone estimate how long it takes to get off the ship when you do not book the ship's excursions?

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Jul 2nd, 2007, 01:32 PM
  #1
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Can anyone estimate how long it takes to get off the ship when you do not book the ship's excursions?

We will be a group of six on the Celebrity Millenium arriving in Civit. at 7:00 am. I know passengers who booked the ship's excursion have priority, but can anyone estimate a time for people not booked on the ship's tours?

I know there are advantages to booking the ship's tours, but the excursions to Rome are really pricey for a large family. I'd go for it if I were traveling alone or with one other person.

Thank you for any information.


Luisah is offline  
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Jul 2nd, 2007, 04:55 PM
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I am not sure I completely understand your question. We have been on six European cruises and just walk off the ship at any time that we want to. I have been held up because of ship excursion. Normally we are off the ship even before the escursions start.
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Jul 3rd, 2007, 06:42 AM
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Thanks for your response fmpden.

To clarify: I've read on Fodors that passengers who book the ship's excursions have priority disembarking and the other passengers have to wait. I've also read that passengers are given color-coded tickets to disembark.

We are not booking the ship's excursion in Civit., but are booking a private tour, so I'm looking for an estimate of the time that we can disembark to meet the driver if the ship docks at 7:00 and we have to wait to disembark after the passengers who have booked the ship's tour to Rome, for example. We want to get to Rome before 9:30 and I just don't know if we can do it.

The ship is the Millenium, which is huge, and I have no idea how to estimate the time. I don't believe we can just walk off whenever we want to, unless it's after all the passengers who are taking the excursions have left. I read here on Fodors that one poster counted 19 buses lined up at the dock, so that could be close to 700 people.

Thanks again.

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Jul 3rd, 2007, 06:56 AM
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Hi Luisah,

I just got back from the Millenium Mediterranean Legacies cruise. We took shore excursions through Celebrity at each port. As soon as the ship is docked and has been cleared with local authorities they made an announcement that people could proceed to the gangway to disembark. The tour groups are all told to meet in a designated area and given color coded stickers before they are lead down to the gangway in separate groups of maybe 100 at a time. I never saw anyone held up at the gangway because they didn't have a sticker. We were probably one of the first groups off the boat in Civit. and I was still able to look over our balcony and see people getting off the boat to meet their private tours or get into taxis well before we even went down to meet our group. I would imagine you would have no problem getting off the ship even before the tours because the boat docks at 7:00am, but the tour groups won't even be told to meet their groups until about 7:20. Once the gangway is announced I think its pretty much a free for all.
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Jul 3rd, 2007, 08:10 PM
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---------To clarify: I've read on Fodors that passengers who book the ship's excursions have priority disembarking and the other passengers have to wait. I've also read that passengers are given color-coded tickets to disembark. ----------

Sometimes the Fodor's information is not completely accurate or may be misunderstood. We have been on five Europe cruises, just returned from the 6th ---- Rome to Rome on Holland Am, We rarely use ship excursions. We have never had to wait for a ship group other than a minute or two as the mob trooped down the staircase when our timing is off. When they open the door we are often the first half dozen or so off the ship. Never a problem or a question.

Disembarking at the end of the cruise is a slightly different procedure. There is controled fifteen minute time intervals most often. Sometime during the cruise you will be asked to specify or request a time to leave. Normally we get a time block within 15 minutes of what we requested. Once we got a later time that we wanted and we just ask them to change it and they did. The staggered times is just to control the flow and the luggage if you have given them your luggage to take off the ship,

One time we had to be first off because we were catching a connecting ferry with a min amount of time for the connection. We could not get the first time slot so we just walked off with the first group. We did get stopped brief at the exit as they tried to explain that our luggage would not be available and we explained that we had our luggage and keep walking. What are they going to do? The cruise is over. But the key to that is we pack light and carry our own luggage on and off the ship.

All of the ship's excursions are pricy, hurry up and wait, and of marginal value, in our opinion, On our last cruise we did not take one ship excursion. Taxis and private guide are the way to go especially if you are a group of six. Until this last cruise we always traveled with out two sons but even by ourselves we don't consider the excursions.

Good luck --
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Jul 4th, 2007, 04:10 AM
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Millenium is actually mid sized by todays standards, not huge, just FYI.

In certain ports of call, Celebrity's Elite (frequent) cruises will have priority debarkation. I am one and this is one of the few perks offered to Elite guests.

And it is also true that in some ports of call, the shore sponsored excursions will be allowed off first, before the mad crush of everyone else trying to maximize port time.

Bottom line is that, unless it is a tender port, the delay to debark should be minimal. Once the ship is cleared, the announcement is made and folks can debark at their whim. In non tender ports, I doubt there will be much delay at all since you simply need to scan your card as you leave and there is no hold up anywhere else.
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Jul 4th, 2007, 06:46 AM
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Thank you both. I now have a clearer idea of the process.
Luisah is offline  
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Jul 5th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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What you read might have been in regards to "tender" ports. I've been on cruises on Celebrity where if the ship has to tender passengers to shore, than those on early-morning ship's excursions usually get priority. Everyone else gets a tender ticket from a designated location (time and place posted in the daily newsletter). The ticket has a tender number, and when the number is called you proceed to the tender. How strictly this is regulated seems to change from cruise to cruise and from crew to crew ... if the lines are short, they sometimes allow you to board an earlier tender number, but usually you have to wait for your number to be called. Once the morning rush is over, you can disembark at your leisure (no tickets required) as they usually run a shuttle service of sorts between the ship and shore.
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Jul 10th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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Unless you are to be tendered to the port-o-call, you can pretty well just "get off" the ship when it docks.
disimbarking at the end of the cruise is another subject, however.
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Jul 10th, 2007, 10:52 AM
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On Carnival they always let the people who have the earliest booked excursions disembark first. They are sent to a priority location and given first right. (Which is a good idea, so they are not late).
Unfortunately, if you book an excursion through an independent company, and not the cruise lines, you are out of luck. You may have to wait awhile. And if you are late arriving at your port, you may have to wait a LONG time.
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