I was just wondering what time you have to be back on the ship before it sets sail. We are thinking of doing some tours on our own and wanted to know when we must be back on ship before we make final decisions on some ports. We are doing the Med & Greek Isles on the Emerald Princess in August.At many of our ports the ship sails at 7pm. Would we have to be back on ship by 6pm or would anytime from 6-6:45 be ok? Thanks Dora
We were on the Emerald in May on the same cruise you are taking ~ the ship will leave at EXACTLY the time that it says on your itinary. In fact, in one port we were at two people were left on the pier ~ no more than 2 minutes after we were scheduled to leave. Do not leave yourself so tight ie 15 minutes prior to sailing...anything can happen!! I would say allow at least 45 minutes - 1 hour to be back on the ship. This way you won't be worried about rushing, the stress isn't worth it!
If you take a PRINCESS tour and it runs late, the ship will wait. However, if you take another tour or go on your own and you run into problems, the ship will not wait. We did a mixture of Princess Tours and ones on our own. The Princess tours were virtually the same price and were arranged extremely well. We didn't book any Princess tours prior to departing and decided a few days in advance of the port if we wanted to take a Princess tour. Each day in your room there is a program on TV that highlights the next days tours and suggestions, you can go to the tour desk and book. There is always a chance the tour might be booked but we never had any problem and our ship was at maximum occupancy. We also found full day tours exhausting and prefered the 4 hour tours. You don't see everything, but it is impossible to do so on any tour. That way were were not rushing and enjoyed a bit more time at our leisure either on board or in the port doing shopping, having lunch etc.
Sound advice from Albertagirl. You don't really see that much more on a full day tour as opposed to a half-day tour. What you get is a longer bus ride, an expensive lunch, and more time at the factory/retail outlet of choice (glass blowing, leather craft, jewelry crafts, etc. etc.).
We like half-day tours in the morning while it is cooler. Back to the ship for lunch; then we venture out on our own if something interests us.
And as pointed out: allow plenty of time to get back to the ship. They say be onboard one half-hour prior to sailing; but aim for an hour--they won't wait.
I wouldn't allow any less than 1 hour to be on the safe side. You can usually do some last minuet shopping near the ship within walking distance. It reminds me of the time when we had a flat on our motorbike in Martinique only to fine out that the shop closes for a "siesta" for a few hours. Add to that the fact we weren't near a phone + many people in the area we were stuck didn't speak English. I play it on the safe side ever since.
Usually the ships will have the "ALL ABOARD" times listed in the newsletter they will leave inside your cabin the evening before.
Make sure your watches are synchronized to the ship's time. They will display the ship's time various places through out the ship, and especially at the Front Desk (a.k.a. Purser's Desk, a.k.a. Information Desk).
When in doubt, ask one of the crewmembers at that desk at what time you need to return on board before the ship leaves. And while there, compare the time with your watch to make sure it is the same.