Originally Posted by Donna
It is also true, people booked with ship excursions get the first tenders.
Well, as I stated above, this is simply NOT our experience! It is often said, but in our many cruises we have never seen it happen that way.
What DOES happen is that the people on ship's tours gather in designated places, and are taken to their tender when the time for their tour arrives.
However, on every ship we have ever been on, they also offer tender tickets to independent passengers as a particular location, and those who go up to get their tender tickets early usually are boarded on some of the first tenders -- in fact, sometimes before ship's excursion passengers. After that the tenders more or less alternate. Regularly during the first hour to hour and a half after docking we hear tender ticket numbers called as tenders are available to independent passengers.
So, in our experience, it simply is NOT a matter that all the ship's tours leave first, and independent passengers have to wait til last. The system seems to me to be very fair and give independent passengers their chance to get off early.
What IS true, of course, is that if you are booked on a ship's excursion you will definitely be scheduled on a tender at the appropriate time. If you are booked on an independent excursion early, then it is YOUR responsibility to be up in line early getting your tender tickets to ensure priority tendering. If you simply walk down to the tender, you will certainly see lines of shore excursion passengers being boarded before you, which is probably where this rumor originates.
Nevertheless it is not wise to schedule an independent excursion immediately upon arrival. Most reputable shore operators know this and make due allowance for the time needed to tender in. However many of them will recommend to you that you get in line for tender tix early.
The ships really do a very good job of organizing the tenders. Do not get upset over it. It will all work out.