Thanks so much for your reply. Your the first person who's suggested what my common sense told me; that tenders will very likely be going out at 5:00, or even 5:15. (especially since the two Princess sponsored exchursions don't come back until 5:15 and 5:30--there have to be tenders still running for those folks right?) I know when you book privately, there's always a gamble involved, but I guess I can only make the most logical decision, and then just hope for the best. This all started because we very much wanted to see the fjords BOTH in by boat AND from the top of Mt. Dalsnibba, and you can't do that with Princess since that's two separate tours which overlap--so you can only take one or the other. By booking with a local company, we were able to do both the RIB tour AND the bus ride up the mountain. (not to mention saving a lot of money) But the downside is this uncertainty about timing. Ironically, the bus is actually a quasi-public bus and thus far more likely to run on time and be back at 4:55 as advertised, as it has a strict schedule and is not obligated to worry about leaving folks behind. But there is still always that chance of something bad happening and disaster striking. (thanks for the tip about the bus to Allesund, though your comment about the ship simply 'skipping' a port does make me gulp)
Anyhow, hope your cabin situation gets straightened out, and maybe we'll meet on board. (I may be the one waving goodbye from the dock in Geiranger...)
Thanks again; I really appeciated your expertise.