port times/shore excurtions start time.

Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 05:14 PM
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port times/shore excurtions start time.

on my upcoming cruise in march i noticed that a majority of the shore excustions start the same time as when the boast gets into boat. how is this possible, since i assume it takes time to get the boat settled and ALL the passengers off.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 05:59 PM
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The nice thing about booking excursions with the cruise line is you won't miss it if the ship arrives late and the ship won't leave you behind if the excursion is running late (something that can happen with private excursions).

Cruise lines, like airlines, pad their schedules and as a result often arrive ahead of schedule (weather providing). Also, if you are scheduled for an early shore excursion, you and your party will be given priority debarkation for that port - so don't worry about how it's all going to work out...remember you are on vacation! Don't sweat the details, let the cruise line do that.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 08:41 AM
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However, if you book independant excursions take into consideration that it may take up to an hour or so to get off the ship. Handicapped, priority passengers and people that booked the cruise line excursions get off the ship first. Then everyone else. Most independant operators know this and will work with the cruise lines schedule though. Any port that requires tenders to get to shore give yourself 2 hours to get off the ship. It is totally annoying getting on/off the ship and one of the reasons I really don't like cruising. If the port time is 8 - 5. It's really about 10 - 4, so adjust your time accordinly.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 10:22 AM
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I feel sorry for the people that have trouble disembarking at a port for their private tour...not the ship excursion.

I have cruised a lot and never had any problem at any port and I have never book a ship excursion.

I guess I must just be lucky.!

I am usually one of the first to disembark , at times I am waiting for them to lower the walkway.

I have never been told , that I cannot disembark and to go back until all the ship tour customers have disembarked !!!

Good Luck
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 07:52 PM
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Many folks that hate the crush of crowds (and can afford it) opt for the cruises with fewer passengers such as Regent, Silversea, Seabourn and Windstar. But it you're pocket book is tight or you just prefer Carnival, Norwegian or Royal Caribbean then keep cruising and eventually you will obtain the past passenger status high enough to earn you priority embarkation and debarkation - or you can just choose to cruise with Lucky Percy above

That said, I've never had the difficulties that KVR has experienced. I do agree with her, however, make sure you plan to be back on the ship one hour prior to scheduled departure if you go wondering on your own or use a private excursion company - no one likes to be left behind.
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Old Jan 25th, 2012, 09:51 AM
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I never had experience problems that KVR encountered. But, on a tender port, they do give priority to those on the earlist ship's sponsored shore excursions, and of course, their "elite" customers. Even with that, the delay is usually no more than half an hour. You get yourself a tender departure time and then show up at the prescribed time.

One problem with booking any type of "off cruise line" shore excursion is the "guarantee". There are two issues:
1. On a tender port, if the water is too rough, you will not be tendered ashore for safety reasons. I have experineced this several times, first hand. If you book a ship's excursions, no issues and you don't pay. If you pre-book with someone else or pre-paid, good luck on getting all of your money back.
2. second issue is getting back to the ship on time. If you are on a ship's excursion, if the group is late, they will wait or somehow get you to the next port to meet the ship (not their preference but they will pay). It happened to us once and good thing we were on a ship's excursion. The ship waited for almost an hour as there were 3 buses late getting back. The highway was closed due to a horrific accident and the buses were re-routed. If you are on your own excursion and you are late, you are on your own and literally missed the boat.

We judiciously book ship's excursions, or our own or book nothing. Knock on wood, we haven't run into any problems yet. One time in Eqypt, we were really late getting back (traffic issues, what else?) and the ship's staff was looking for us. The purser was actually at the port's outside gate waiting. She spotted us, got us through the gate and bypass all the security. We got on board just in time. The safety nets under the planks had been removed already and the other gangways were shut. When we get back to our cabin, the ship is already moving. We were lucky.

As long as you know the risk, go ahead and save money. We do.
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Old Jan 25th, 2012, 10:33 AM
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Here is part of a trip report done on Fodors done by group when they arrived in St.Petersburg.

"Our first day in St. Petersburg didn’t start off well.

Six of us had pre-arranged a private tour with a company named DenRus. We had been told by DenRus that the ship would try to make us disembark after the ship’s tours and to just ignore the ship’s directives and get off anyway.

We tried. The ship literally had staff members blocking our attempts to get to the gangway and would not let us proceed.

It was ridiculous. So by the time we were able to even get off of the ship, it was already 9:00 a.m.; we had planned on starting our tour at 8:30 a.m. Once we got off, another nightmare -

there was another cruise line docked right behind of us and all of their passengers were disembarking and going through the same customs point as we were. "

End of the quote excerpt from their report.

Now here is an excerpt from my trip report when I arrived in St. Petersburg:

"I guess most cruise ship tours start at 8 AM and later because here is what happened to me :

I got off the ship at exactly 7 AM walked right into the Customs place ( not a single person in line),she took the copy of my passport and handed me a red card and off I went.

Alla Tours was waiting for me( 4 of us ) on the other side of the building.
We got into the van and were off at 7:11 AM ( Wow!!!)

Because of our early morning start each day we saw many extra places."

End of my excerpt from my Trip Report.

So here is a case of two different cruise ship arrivals into St.Petersburg...and

two very different disembarkment experiences .

What Can I say. I was lucky the crew was nice to me and gave me no hassles.

This was the first time in my crusing life that I was the FIRST one off a cruise ship.

The two crew memembers at the gangway, just unhooked the chain as I arrived, they let me through and said,"Have a nice day " !!

What a wonderful welcome into St.Petersburg.

So now when I read of other cruise lines hassling people about getting off the ship at a port...I get a little ticked off.
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Old Jan 26th, 2012, 12:34 PM
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Percy, what cruise line was it, and who arranged for your Russian visa? youself? Ship? Or Alla tour?
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