Hello. We're going on our first cruise next month and in various posts here I keep seeing references to the need to be back on the ship an hour before departure time from port. Is that a common-sense guideline or an absolute requirement?
I ask because we are spending a day in Cozumel with a 6 p.m. departure. We are scheduled to do the dolphin swim at Chankanaab from 3:30 to 4:30 (the only time we could get.) That leaves plenty of time to be back on board by 6, but between toweling off and buying photos and possibly dropping off a rental car at the pier, I'm not sure we could make it by 5.
If we get back at 5:15 or 5:30 (or, heaven forbid, 5:45), are we ok or do we face the prospect of being turned away?
They won't turn you away if you are not back an hour before scheduled departure but if you are not back aboard by sailing time, you may have an extended stay in port, as they will not wait. The idea of being back an hour prior to sailing time is just, as you say, some common sense insurance to make sure you don't miss the ship.
Better to have some extra time than to see the ship a couple miles out to sea as you approach the dock.
Personally i think that you would be cutting it too close, waay to many variables to consider. What if the swim runs late, what about traffic? Rush hour traffic in downtown Cozumel is an absoulte nightmare, you may find yourself running down the pier as the crew hauls up the gangways or worse case scenario - watching your ship pull away from the pier.
I'm not sure whether or not there is a time difference. I know when we went in April 2004 Cozumel was an hour behind us. 4:30 local time was 5:30 ship time. If that's the case you definitely don't have enough time.
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
If the ship states that they sail at 6PM then believe me, they SAIL at 6PM and you will miss it if you arrive at 6PM. Usually they require you to be onboard no later than 1/2 hour prior to the sailing time. Also as another poster stated, they go by 'Ships Time" which may or may not be the time of the port you are in so check on that as well. Believe me, you do not want to miss the ship as it is entirely up to you to either get to the next port to meet the ship or find your own way back home. It can be expensive.
In Cozumel we were delayed at the entry to the pier for reasons unknown- The soldiers closed the gates & we just waited there in the hot sun..Maybe had someting to do with the ferry dock--point is--you never know so we always get back in plenty of time..hear of too many stories of folks missing the ship They DO NOT wait!
Ok, gang, you've spooked me! Thanks. All good points, so I'm now considering a change in plans. One possibility is to switch days and do the dolphin swim on the mainland, at either Xcaret or Xel-ha. So I'm posting a new question on the board seeking input on how the swims compare. Thanks again for all your wisdom.