"" Writer's Wanderings: Have You Ever Missed The Boat?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Have You Ever Missed The Boat?

It's probably not kind to say this but some of the best entertainment on board a cruise ship is found standing on the promenade deck and watching as people run for the ship just as the gangplank is about to be taken up. We've heard screaming, pleading, seen a husband leave his wife trying to catch up, watched as a woman discarded her shoes to run faster and more.

We've also seen those who have missed the ship and stood stranded on the dock as our ship pulled away. Two men who missed the ship threw their hands in the air and then doubled over--either from exhaustion or despair. They were met by two officials who handed them their passports, courtesy of the staff who had announced their names and waited for thirty minutes for them. They were on their own to catch up at the next port.

Another time the ship's crew lowered a boat that they use for maintenance to pick up a passenger who was crying on the dock when she missed the ship. That was an unusual courtesy and we suspect she paid for it and not just in embarrassment when, for the rest of the cruise, every time the ship's departure time was announced it was followed by "and that means you too, Mrs. ***".

So here are some tips to consider just in case you venture out on your own in port and run the risk of not getting back in time.

  •   If you want to see something in port that is quite a distance from the ship consider booking a ship's excursion rather than doing it on your own. The ship will wait for a booked excursion that is late. 
  • Take the daily program with you. The name and number of the port agent for the cruise line will be listed there. If there is a problem that's the place to start if you get to the dock and see the back of the ship as it sails away. 
  • Keep a copy of your passport with you. The cruise ship usually keeps your passport for the duration of the cruise for immigration purposes. Plus carrying your passport with you is not always a good idea with pickpockets plentiful. At least if they have not left your passport with the port agent, you will have a starting point.
  • Be sure you have a credit card with you just in case you find you need to book transportation to the next port. 
The best thing you can do for yourself is to be aware of the time you are expected to be back on the ship before it sails, account for any time zone changes that could throw you off by an hour and leave plenty of time for the unexpected, like traffic. As I say over and over, do your homework. Know how long it will take you to get to your destination and back to the ship. Then you too can stand and watch the others who run for the ship at the last possible minute.

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