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2sailors February 23rd, 2008 01:56 PM

Itinerary time zone?
We had this discussion last evening, and don't know the answer. Sure wonderful people here can answer! The times listed in the itinerary - are they Atlantic time zone or Eastern? Traveling to So. Caribbean next month, and now wondering about docking times. If itinerary says 7am - 5:30pm, is that the local island time, or Eastern (standard or daylight?)?
Thanks much!

dina February 23rd, 2008 02:55 PM

It's ship time. Seriously... you follow the time set on your ship and you'll never miss anything.

subtropic February 23rd, 2008 03:14 PM

Dina is correct. Depending on your embarkation port, that is the time that will be used throughout your cruise. You will be reminded of that fact. It will not change even if you cruise through a different zone.

2sailors February 23rd, 2008 04:00 PM

Thanks much! Knew someone would reply!

Sheffie February 24th, 2008 06:59 AM


Originally Posted by subtropic
Dina is correct. Depending on your embarkation port, that is the time that will be used throughout your cruise. You will be reminded of that fact. It will not change even if you cruise through a different zone.

Well . . . usually? I have been on a lot of ships that HAVE changed time on the ship. It is entirely up to the captain.

Just check your Cruise Compass and be sure to see what the clock says as you get off at each port. You can also ask the crew as you get off.

jimt February 24th, 2008 11:43 AM

I agree with Sheffie I been to the same ports with different Captains and one changed the ships to local and the other did not change the ships time to local time.

subtropic February 24th, 2008 01:18 PM

Well then I stand corrected. I have never recalled a change of ship's time after getting under way.

eddie2086 July 18th, 2014 12:12 PM

this is a fascinating question..until seeing this online a week ago, i had never heard of ship time. I have learned that the ship sets its clock to the port it leaves from. After being on another cruise website, i have heard some the the craziest answers to this question and even berated for daring to bring a factual question up. There are people who say everything is based on ships time and nothing else, including itineraries. It didnt make sense to me. So being retired law enforcement, i decided to dig a little.. this is what i found.

The Captain of a ship may or may not change the clocks of the ship to local time, even on the same line, there is no policy.

Whether the Captain changes or not, the crew will tell you the night before to revert to the new time zone, or local time of that port. It will show you that ships time and local time are not generally tied together for your events and trips

I spoke to four different cruise line reps who all said itineraries are based on local time and not ship times, except when your cruise never leaves that time zone, IE a Southern Carribbean cruise which might stay in the same zone the whole cruise.

The question asked by me, was if you leave Miami on a Panama cruise which ends on the west coast, and docks at 8am , if it were ship time, it would be five am. If everything is based on Ship Time, that would mean you would get off the ship at 530am local time and 830 ship time. If Itineraries were based on ship time, your vendor for your excursion is not going to pick you up at 530am..simple.

the other question is why would the ship tell you to adjust your watch to a different time other than ship time if everything is based on ship time. The ship is responsible for your trip. Why would they put you on a different time than ship time and expect you to make it back ontime.? because its local time...

the easiest way is to just ask the people on the dock when you get off the port and ask them what time is it now and what time do we get back. you will see it s all local time..

SausPud July 18th, 2014 01:00 PM

Went on a cruise that travelled in 5 different time zones. The ship had its own time and then local times varied alot. When you ported, it was explained very easily, "the time to return to ship is 5pm local or 6pm ship time, remember ship time is 1 hour ahead of local time."
So if the ship is changing its clocks every day, they tend to stick to one time and just advise you of the different local times in port.

eddie2086 July 18th, 2014 07:49 PM

but you see how the confusion can occur..who hears every announcement..all the cruises i have been on use local times for their itineraries.. and i have never wore a watch..never missed a ship ...

MTL July 19th, 2014 10:29 AM

Even if you cross over the pond either way it is always ship's time

Have a nice day. MTL

eddie2086 July 19th, 2014 11:17 AM

now mtl..think about this.. you arrive in barcelona from miami...5 hour time change..are you saying itineraries are based on ship time? your itineray says you arrive at 8am..if thats barcelona time your ship time says 3am.. do you stay on the ship for five hours before you can get off?then lets says you have to be back on board at 530pm ship time..that means youare back on board at 1230 barcelona time? so you go across the pond for a 4.5 hour trip into spain.. i dont think so

croozbabe July 19th, 2014 01:24 PM

I have been on several cruises overseas. The ship's clocks are ALWAYS set to the time at the port. Why in the world would the ship stay on one time if sailing in different time zones??? That would only make for mass confusion and cause passengers to miss the ship when returning from excursions and time ashore. There is no difference between ship and local times...period.

eddie2086 July 19th, 2014 05:39 PM

croozbabe, there are several people who feel the ships time never change, and itineraries are based on ships time and local time is irrelevant. I have heard everything from "you just better know when to be back" to "ports change all their clocks to ship time" to outside excursion vendors just know"...i agree one hundred percent with you.. never wore a watch and never missed a ship...

Mike M July 19th, 2014 05:47 PM


Originally Posted by croozbabe (Post 1504368)
I have been on several cruises overseas. The ship's clocks are ALWAYS set to the time at the port. Why in the world would the ship stay on one time if sailing in different time zones??? That would only make for mass confusion and cause passengers to miss the ship when returning from excursions and time ashore. There is no difference between ship and local times...period.

In the Caribbean many cruise lines, especially Carnival, will remain on the time zone of the home port.

This doesn't work if you are cruising overseas. On a transatlantic the ship changes it's time forward or backward each day, depending if it's going to Europe or from Europe and use local time. Notices are on each nights newsletter instructing you to set your clock ahead or back. In Asia they will usually go by local time.

We were at Nachi Cocum, in Cozumel last June. There were some people from another Carnival ship there with us. They left from New Orleans and were on Central (local) time. Our ship left from Orlando and we were on Eastern time. We all got a bit confused for a minute or two. :)

Take care,

eddie2086 July 20th, 2014 02:21 PM

thats why ports are always on local time..i read on another block the that in ports, shops change their times to ship times. . now you see if you had two different ship times, passengers get confused...when they tell you on board to adjust your clock its always to local time. and your itineraries are local time..when all aboard is 530 local time as it takes about a half hour to get the ship read for departure.

DiamondMember July 21st, 2014 03:26 PM

The time starts in the time zone you depart from. Then the captain can "choose" to adjust the time if they are cruising to place with different time. If they choose to remain on the time zone from which the ship departed from; they will tell you to stay on "ship's time" while in port and ignore the local time. This is VERY typical in the caribbean when sailing to Mexico as Mexico does NOT have day light savings; we are typically an hour off from Fort Lauderdale and therefore the Captain can choose to have you set your clock the night before (at 2am) to the new time of the port prior to docking or ask that you stay on "ship time". It's entirely up to the Captain. For example, I sailed on both Allure and Vision this year; both ported in Cozumel. Allure asked that we all stay on Ship Time; while the Vision captain asked we set our clocks back an hour. It just depends on the captain.

eddie2086 July 22nd, 2014 12:04 PM

that exactly is my point.. how do you send a ship load of passengers off a ship on two different times...the only consistent way is to base everything off local time...using your example are on florida time and you arrive in san diego on a panama canal, thats a three hour time do you dock at 8am ship time, which is 5am, or is it 8am local, which is 11am ship time

DiamondMember July 23rd, 2014 01:32 PM

Eddie - As prevoiusly mentioned, the Captain makes the determination as to whether to change the ship's time to accomodate to the local time zone. While I have no facts to support this statement, I'd probably believe that any time shift greater than 1 hour would most likely be indicative of the Captain asking the guests to change the time before they go to bed. Your example of a 3 hour time change would clearly require the ship's time to change to accomodate to the new time zone; however, a one hour difference appears to be acceptable to the line given my own personal real-lift experience.

eddie2086 August 9th, 2014 12:58 PM

here is a email response from the royal carribbean shore excursion department...

Jul 22

to me
Hello Edward,

I hope this email finds you well. Please be advised that all debarkation times on itineraries are on local times.

Thank you and have a great day.

now are you telling me the Cruise Line people responsible for setting up shore excursions for their passengers are wrong August 9th, 2014 03:09 PM

In 47 cruises on 11 cruise lines in different parts of the world, my wife tells me she can only remember one time (happened to be on a Carnival cruise) where the ship time was not changed to local time. (Her memory is better than mine!)

During our 12-night Baltic cruise, it seemed like they were changing the ship time almost every night - I think it was 4 different time zones going and 4 different time zones coming back.

But one thing is for sure, they ALWAYS announce whether to set your time back or ahead - often not only verbally announcing it through the speakers, but also in the daily newsletter. Plus, there is almost always a clock by the disembarkation point along with a sign telling everyone what time to be back on the ship.

Three things I always tell my clients: 1) Wear a watch (preferably water proof if you plan to go in the water) and check it regularly. Also, double check to make sure it's set to the ship time, which may or may not be the same as local time and do not rely on local people or clocks to keep track of time; 2) Take the daily newsletter with you when going into port. Not only does it include the times for everything, it also has the local contact information should something happen and you need to contact the ship; and 3) NEVER assume what you know or what other people tell you ahead of time will be true for your cruise. Things change all the time and what may have been one way before may be completely different now.


DiamondMember August 9th, 2014 07:13 PM

Eddie - I can only share my personal experiences as to what has actually happened to me. On the six cruises I've sailed on Allure in the past 3 years; she did not adjust to the local time when visiting Cozumel; however, I was on Vision of the Seas in July and that Captain adjusted the clock by the hour. Honestly, it really doesn't matter - the ship will communicate all time changes during annoucements, printed in the compass as well as special dedicated notes left on your bed.

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