It’s probably every cruisers worst nightmare, you have a wonderful day ashore, run a bit late and arrive back to the port to find your ship has sailed without you.
I have to admit, I have never been in this position myself, but I did come INCREDIBLY close to it once!
During a call to Belgium a few years ago I went off exploring with a few people from the ship. We had a wonderful day walking around Ghent before finishing our explorations at a local brewery. Before we knew it, it was time to make our way back towards the ship, so we hailed a cab and off we went. As we approached the port, the traffic was gridlocked – there was just no movement at all. We sat and waited for what felt like an eternity and eventually the clock ticked passed our back onboard time. By now I had started to become incredibly nervous. We sat for a little longer and then the taxi driver jokingly said “I hope this doesn’t make you late for your ship, when do you have to be back onboard?” to which we all replied 20 minutes ago. He laughed at first, but then realised we were not joking. We sat for a little longer and then he suddenly made a sharp turn out of the queuing traffic. I am sure he should not have taken us where he did, but we found ourselves speeding along a dirt track that ran alongside a railway line – it was a real adrenalin rush, I have to admit! Finally, we made it back to the ship, but she was singling up ready to leave and the gangway had been removed. I can honestly tell you that we made it back onboard by the skin of our teeth – a minute longer and she would have sailed without us. Simple as that.
Expect the unexpected
The most annoying part of the situation was that we could see the ship the entire time, we just couldn’t get to her! We later found out that there had been an accident on the railway line and the Police had blocked the roads – our little off-road adventure was probably the only way to get to where we needed to be.
The moral of todays’ blog is to ALWAYS leave yourself more than enough time to get back to the ship because they will NOT wait for you!! In hindsight, we should have left the brewery earlier than we did.
If I could give any advice on how to deal with this, should it happen to you, it would be to always arrive back to the ship an hour before she is due to sail, it is far better to be safe than sorry! I would also advise that you take a photocopy of your passport ashore with you, if you don’t want to take your actual passport – this will make things a lot easier should you find yourself in this position and having to go to your embassy for an emergency passport – a credit card, and what I would call “emergency cash”: a separate, small amount of cash that you could use if you needed a taxi, or to join your ship via train at the next port, should you be able to.
If you think there is a chance your day could be ruined by rushing around and panicking over late public transport, then just do something else or pay to take the tour with the cruise line – at least then you know if you are late, the ship will still be waiting for you when you get back.
If you are dreaming of a fabulous cruise holiday in 2016, look no further! We have a choice of great value cruises from around the world! Take a look at our main website for more details.