Question about wait times to get off ship at ports...
Some friends just got back from an NCL Cruise (their first cruise ever) to the W. Caribbean, and they said they didn't care for cruising mostly because they said they spent most of the cruise waiting in line for one thing or another, such as tickets to shows, etc.. They particularly were upset about how long they had to wait to get off the ship at ports when they hadn't signed up for a cruise line sponsored excursion. They said the people that signed up for excursions were called off the ship first and all others had to wait until their number was called. This was at tender ports, and unfortunately for them, all four of their ports ended up being tender ports because the docks were full. Our friends waited as long as 3 hours just to get off the ship! This seems crazy to me and unreasonable. Is this how it is on RC too? We are booked for our first cruise in April and I am hoping it is not going to be a lot of standing around waiting in lines for things, especially on port days! Please tell me that RC handles this differently than NCL! Do you also have to wait to get off the ship at non-tender ports?
On another topic, I am wondering if RC offers bar set-ups in the rooms like some other cruise lines do? If so, how do you get that set-up ahead of time? Thank you so much for all the help. These posts are so informative and helpful!
I've never had to wait any where near that long to get a tender off the ship, that is highly unusual. Yes, its true, if you have an excursion, you get off first and usually its a short time later that everyone else can get off. The tenders can hold a lot of people and it shouldn't take that long. Also, most cruises, you may have one or two tender ports, but that also sounded like a lot, very weird. That certainly wouldn't turn me off cruising.
Donna thanks for your comments. We are doing our first RCL cruise in may and I don't expect any problems.
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Some friends just got back from an NCL Cruise (their first cruise ever) to the W. Caribbean, and they said they didn't care for cruising mostly because they said they spent most of the cruise waiting in line for one thing or another, such as tickets to shows, etc..
Sorry, but your friends had to be exaggearating a bit. To begin with... There's no shows on NCL that you have to get tickets for. The only tickets on the ship would be on RCI for the Ice Shows. There's no cost, it's just seating is limited.
When the ship's to use tender ports there is waiting. No easy means of getting 2000 + people off a ship to land a few hundred yards away. And, yes, they do get the people who've booked ship's shore excursions off first.
Even when a ship IS using tenders they move everyone on tours off first, which may take an hour at the most, then you might have to get a ticket for the tenders (how will be explained on board), but that is just something the ship does for a little while when there are more people than the tenders can handle. Getting the ticket means you don't have to wait, you can go and do something else until they call your number. Getting the ticket is easy.
To answer your question, however, Royal Caribbean does not tender that much, they usually dock the ship - however it depends on the port. At some ports ALL ships must tender - like in Grand Cayman. I believe that is one reason why Grand Cayman is losing ships.
As for NCL, I agree the original person was exagerating. I have never waited three hours for a tender, nor have ever waited for a ticket to see a show on NCL
I usually book excursion at ports that have tenders. RCI gives you a number and time to meet in a lounge or theater. Probably had to wait about 30 minutes to get off ship. It does take time to get hundreds of people off a ship when tendering. We just relax and talk about what we want to do in port. When returning back to the ship, it's wise to get to the tender early. If you arrive an hour before the last tender, chances are so did lots of other people. We did this in Cayman Island and waited about 1 1/2 hours before getting on the tender. Needless to say, the ship left late, there were many people behind us in line. There's no easy way to get to and from tender ports. Just bring lots of patience, OR stay on the ship and relax at an almost empty pool deck. Shops, shows and casino close while at port. Just keep in mind that when you are traveling with 2,000 other people, you're bound to wait for some things.