So you’re visiting an island for the day – maybe enjoying a few cold ones – and lose track of time – OOPS! To the many readers who have asked “will the ship leave without me?” - The answer is a definitive YOU BETCHA! Cruise ships run on a schedule – X-number of hours to dock at the next port, and they stick to it.
The only time Lorraine has seen exceptions to “departure time” is when a ship-approved shore excursion is running late – then there is a wait for passengers to return – otherwise, you need to be prepared to find your own way to the next port. She personally witnessed a group of six or eight late arrivals in Cozumel running down the pier yelling “WAIT! WAIT! COME BACK!” as the ship pulled away –someone from a balcony yelled to them “get a watch!”
Be sure to keep time a priority when ashore – especially when return to the ship involves a “tender” ride. The line for tenders gets longer and longer as the day wears on and while you may think you have plenty of time, you could be in for a rude awakening! The closest Lorraine has come to “missing the boat” was in Costa Maya. She was happily consuming “cold Sols” and did not realize that her watch had stopped - no problem – the port’s time was one hour different than ship’s time. She leisurely browsed the shops –priced-out a Costa Maya condo (like in her dreams) – and returned to the ship at what she thought was an hour before the posted “Guests Onboard” time. There she was on the Lido Deck enjoying a coffee when the ship began to move – OMG! It turns out the port’s time difference was one hour, BUT in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION. Had she not returned when she did, the only way home from Costa Maya (the ship’s final port) would have been a minimum 2 hour cab ride to the nearest regional airport to get a flight to Mexico City to get a flight to Houston. Hullo? her passport was locked in the safe on the ship.
And, once Lorraine and daughter got caught short in Key West – departure time was Midnight and “passengers onboard” was 11:30 – well – at 11:10 we were at the opposite end of Duval Street in some sleazy bar……you have never seen two panicked people move so fast! Then on a later cruise, daughter (with Lorraine as co-conspirator) was frighteningly late returning to the ship in Acapulco!
In retrospect, we laugh about our “near misses” – but at the time, believe me – THEY WERE SCARY!
Have you ever had a “close encounter” or witnessed one? Let Lorraine know – she loves your input!