I'm going on the Valor in January - Western, and we are tendering in 2 of the ports (Grand Cayman and Belize). I have never tendered from ship before. We have booked excursions through Carnival for both. My question is, when your excursion is done, do you end up at the shore waiting for a boat to bring you back, or do they bring you back right to the ship? I was wondering if we'd be able to browse around any shops that might be there.
Miracle - February 2008
Liberty - November 2006
Valor - January 2006
Destiny - January 2005
We did a ship excursion in Belize last visit and the boat for the excursion picked us up at the boat, we didn't have to tender in and then go from there. The tender ride in Belize is lengthy, not half as long as the tender ride in Grand Cayman. They usually tell you in the discription of the tour on the cruiseline site. Not sure about Grand Cayman, but even if you do have to tender in and meet the excursion people on the dock, they will let people with excursions on the first tenders in order to make your tour.
Two weeks ago we tendered at both Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Many people complain about tendering, but we love it. At Cozumel they were state (Mexico) ferries holding 300 people. (By the way, the best t-shirts are $5 on this ferry). They are very careful with the passengers; we had a wheelchair on that ferry. In Grand Cayman it is the ship's individual tenders that bring you to the dock. These are fun to ride and the trip in is short at both places.They all go back and forth as long as the ship is in port. They stop 30 minutes before departure.
Ok, both Cayman and Belize are tender ports and will continue to be so. In both cases the tendering services are fairly effecient and rapid.
On Cayman the ships anchor very close to the port and you can even see the people on the dock from your Carnival cruise ship. It is possible that some scuba excursions are right off the ship but if there is I haven't seen that or heard of it. On the Conquest in Feb 2004 we were turned away from Cayman because the swell was too much for safety. This November saw NCL ships using their own tenders which are their larger enclosed life boats but not aware of Carnival doing that.
Belize is somewhat of a different story. The water around Belize City is very shallow so the ship anchors several miles off shore. Some of the snorkle, scuba and trips to cays excursions are right off the ship but not all. For land excursions the tendering service to Belize City is used. It is a professional and rapid service using rather small tenders that use big yamaha outboards to get you there quick. Last trip there it was about 20 minutes each way and actually a fun boat ride (FAST). Most of the land excursions do allow time for shopping and knocking around and drinking at the tender terminal in Belize city.
Tender ports do take additional time off of your port time, and should be a consideration in your planning.
Cozumel which really isnt the topic is a different story but addressed elsewhere on this message board.