What happens if I miss the boat?

Lost in a world of culture, history, amazing food and more, it can be easy to lose track of time while in port. Or maybe that tour you thought would take 1 hour is still going…3 hours later.  What about traffic jams, poorly signed streets, illness and misplaced belongings?

When that 1 hour guided tour turns into more than you planned for. Yes, there are many reasons passengers may be delayed in returning to their cruise ship, only to find that it has set sail without them. There’s no need to panic, though – the MyCruises has put together some ideas on what to do when you miss the boat.

Locate the Port agent

While your cruise ship’s Captain will do everything, they can to wait for you, cruise ships often have tight scheduling needs and the staff have thousands of other passengers to consider. So, if the cruise terminal is painfully empty when you return, your first port of call should be the Port Agent.  Most cruise lines have Port Agents whose job is to assist any guests who have missed the ship. These agents are usually located within the vicinity of the port. The port agents can help you with accommodation, travel arrangements, contacting the ship and may be able to retrieve your belongings from the cruise ship staff, including essential items such as
Passports and medications. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye out for the Port Agents’ details and make a note of them. These can be found in the daily schedule or the newsletters onboard.

Tip: Keep a note in your phone with emergency contacts & take photocopies of passports, credit cards & travel document details and take these photocopies ashore with you.

Get in touch with the ship

With the help of the Port Agent, your next course of action is to contact the ship’s staff and let them know what has happened. After, you’ll need to confirm the ship’s itinerary and figure out the next steps, such as which port you’ll be able to meet the ship and when. Watching the ship depart the dock is not meant to be part of the plan.

Tip: Be careful of booking cheaper shore excursions through local operators – it might not be worth the risk as there is no guarantee the ship will wait for you if that tour is late. If you purchase a ship-sponsored shore excursion that is late returning to port, the ship will either wait for you, or the cruise line will take financial and logistical responsibility for getting you to the next port of call to meet the ship.

Make a trip to your Embassy

If you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you don’t have your passport, you’ll need to make your way to your country’s embassy. Here, the staff will be able to provide you with options, such as cancelling and reissuing your passport (at a cost).

Tip: Always make note of the time you are required to be back onboard, and what time your ship is due to depart. Listen for announcements and read your daily onboard newsletters for information.

Cut your losses

Want to return home or make alternative travel arrangements instead of re-joining your ship? If your belongings weren’t left with the local Port Agent, you’ll need to provide the cruise ship’s staff with an address and request for your belongings to be shipped there. Just remember that this may be quite expensive.

Try to stay optimistic

While inconvenient, stressful and expensive, remember missing your ship is not the end of the world. With the right information on hand, you can take steps towards ensuring you and your belongings remain safe. This leaves you with the opportunity to make the most of a bad situation and enjoy what’s left of your holiday.

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