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What to do if you are left behind.

Discussion in 'Know Before You Go' started by Gayle V, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. Gayle V

    Gayle V Cruiser's Compass Editor

    Hi all, I was reading Dereckbc's post below, where we all recommended that a new cruiser stay with the cruise line's excursions, at least for the first cruise.

    Well, I talk a bit about that in the Cruiser's Compass, but I just realized that I never included any suggestion about what to do if you actually do get left behind at a port of call.

    So I started to type up an bit to add to the Compass. (It got a bit wordy, but that's no surprise for me:) Figured I'd post it here first for Dereck's benefit, and to have it vetted by other experienced cruisers. Do any of you have anything to add or correct in this?

    What to do if you get left behind:

    OK, so you didn't think it could really happen. You thought for sure, that you'd be done with that golf game (or island tour, snorkel excursion, etc.), in plenty of time. I mean, the time just flew by; and who would have thought there could traffic like that on such a little island? So what do you do now that the ship has sailed without you?

    First, quickly, take a picture. Not many cruisers actually come home with a photo of their own ship sailing off into the sunset. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.). Actually, you need to get moving fast. Find out precisely where the harbor pilot's boat is located, and get there quick.

    If you haven't cruised before, you probably don't realize that it's not actually the captain who is at the helm of a ship, as it maneuvers into and out of a port. That job, in fact, is performed by the local Harbor Pilot, who, with his more thorough knowledge of the individual harbor, brings the ship into a safe docking. And visa versa, he later, also safely maneuvers the ship back out to sea.

    When the big ships come close to their island destination, the local Pilot boat runs out to meet the ship, at which time that Harbor Pilot makes the precarious climb up a ladder, to board the ship. Then in the reverse, the little pilot boat chases the ship out of the harbor, and the pilot descends the ladder, down to the little boat that will take him back home and allow the ship to sail on without him.

    And that is where your window of opportunity lies. If you can get to the Harbor Pilot's boat, before it leaves, the crew of that little boat, can usually be inveigled (read that as $$) into ferrying stranded passengers out to reunite with their ship.

    Just remember that the "window of opportunity" is brief, likely not more that 15 or 20 minutes. And the reunion with your ship requires you to step (more like jump) from a small moving boat, onto a rope ladder hanging down the side of a likewise moving ship; so that you can then make the precarious climb up the thirty feet or more, onto your ship.

    I've seen people do it a few times and it looked pretty scary to me. If it's too scary for you too, then your only remaining option is to pull out the plastic, and start booking the necessary flights and hotels, that will catch you up to your ship.

    This is the point at which you will be very grateful to have bought the travel insurance, and to have carried your passports and cruise line's contact number with you onto the island. Good luck.

    By the way, Dereckbc, and or any one else who hasn't looked before, there are number u-tube videos posted of tardy cruisers being left behind and even a few of them, making the climb from pilot boat to ship.
  2. nieciez

    nieciez Well-Known Member Community Sponsor

    And don't forget each port has a local Ship's Agent. The name and address is usually on the map/shopping guide they give you when you first get off the ship at each port-of-call. That should be your first stop if the harbor pilot idea fails.
  3. red stripe

    red stripe Well-Known Member

    Sure wish that you would post one of those videos Gayle.
    It sounds a lot riskier than I would like to attempt.

    Better to use the plastic
  4. Calgon1

    Calgon1 Awaiting results of mental evaluation

    An alternative to the harbor pilot's boat is to hire one of the local speedboats. Be prepared to be taken for two rides. One to the ship and one to your bank. I would love to say that you will not be taken advantage of, but the truth is that you will probably end up paying whatever the maximum is that you can withdraw from an ATM.

    If those options don't work then you'll be heading to the local airport and praying that there is a flight to the next port of call that will get you there before the ship leaves again. Again, be prepared to max out that credit card. The only seats that will probably be available on no notice will be first class. Oh well, at least you'll get a "free drink".

    And, just in case your passports are back in the safe in your cabin ... Head to your embassy (or consulate). You're going to have to have a passport to book that airfare to the next port of call (or, back to The World). Geting a replacement could take a few days, so don't expect to make the next flight out. So, go ahead and check in at a local hotel. As I said, it may take awhile ...

    And, no, your cruise insurance won't cover it.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  5. Gayle V

    Gayle V Cruiser's Compass Editor

    Thanks Denise, I do mention the port agent earlier in the page. I'll have to reword it into this part too.

    Red. I couldn't find many of the ones I'd seen, but here are a few:

    First, this is the couple that missed the ship in Nassau. I've no idea what happened to them, if the caught up with the ship, (if they got divorced, who knows)

    YouTube - Does the cruise ship wait for you?

    In this one they catch the ship via tug boat. Maybe the ladder wouldn't be so bad after all:

    YouTube - Cruisers miss ship catch up with tug

    I like this one, cause it really tells their whole story. (And they did get a nice photo of their ship leaving.)

    YouTube - Liberty of the seas part.05 missed the ship!

    There are a few I saw filmed by the other passengers on the ship. Actually I think we have a little bit of footage like that, but I haven't a clue where it is , or how to post it.
  6. red stripe

    red stripe Well-Known Member

    Wow! what videos.

    I felt sorry for the couple in the first clip, even though it was their own fault.. what a nightmare! I would not have stopped running, and I most certainly have been in tears.

    the second one.. Oh sure.. I would have been worried about my shopping bags...:doubledown:

    The third one really amazes me.
    that the ship had waited 1 1/2 hours for them already, and that they allowed them to board from a tug. I would think that the insurance issues would have precluded that.
    and two of the people being in their 70's...

    Thanks denise and calgon for adding more info.

    I have no idea if it would expedite things.. as I pray never to have to find out.. But we have a colour photocopy of the pages in our passport and carry it while onshore.

    We always do our thing in the mornings, and allow plenty of time for the return.
    But you never know....
  7. Funnel

    Funnel Sweden Unleased - Special Contributor

    Gayle, this is a good thing to add to the Compass! I'll have to print it out and bring it on my next cruise, just in case... :whistle:

    That was exactly what the captain on Voyager of the Seas told us when arriving in Toulon, France; "If you miss to board the ship you will have the opportunity to take beautiful photos of the ship sailing away into the Mediterranean Sea".

    From my balcony I saw a lot of people being late back to the ship in Livorno, Italy. Most of them had rental cars and probably were stuck in heavy traffic on their way back to the ship. Some of them made it, but they were waiting for at least another car when I closed the door to the balcony and went down for dinner instead.

  8. Jeanie

    Jeanie Well-Known Member

    Oh my, what a scary thought? One reason wy we always board an hour before departure

    I can not see me climbing on a ship
  9. iluvcruzin

    iluvcruzin Well-Known Member

    This is exactly what I would suggest. Most times it's in the shopping guide and other times it's in the ship's daily newsletter.

    Don't leave the ship without it. Call this person before anything else and ask for assistance. Skip picture taking etc...
  10. BSeabob

    BSeabob Reinststed due to good behavior-Subject to change Staff Member

    Very Important
  11. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Forever Remembered

    In addition to knowing the details of the Port Agent in each port and bringing it with you, you should make a photocopy of the information page of your passport and carry that with you if you haven't brought the passport itself off the ship. This is extremely important in a foreign country.
  12. Calgon1

    Calgon1 Awaiting results of mental evaluation

    Also. Before you leave the ship, make sure you set your watch to SHIP'S TIME. It may be different from local time, and ship's time is what is used to identify when the ship departs ....
  13. LS5099

    LS5099 Well-Known Member

    Just a few corrections as I see it:

    1) "If you haven't cruised before, you probably don't realize that it's not actually the captain who is at the helm of a ship, as it maneuvers into and out of a port." This needs to be clarified. The Harbor Pilot is telling the Captain where to maneuver but has not actually taken control of the helm.
    2) Most cruise lines will not let passengers board from a Pilot Boat for insurance reasons. Most Pilot Boats will not take passengers to departing cruise ships for that reason.
    3) Most insurance policies will not pay off for self inflected delays.
    4) Good advice to take a color copy of your passport with you while on shore just incase. For security reasons (mostly the possibility of it being stolen), it is unwise to take your real passport ashore.
    5) Always take a credit card with you. I advise just one, that way if it’s lost or stolen, the other one you left onboard the ship can be used to continue you vacation.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  14. red stripe

    red stripe Well-Known Member

    I wondered about that especially when I saw the people boarding from a tug. I was amazed that the ship allowed them on.

    so noted, and I mentioned in a post above that we carry a colour copy of the passport hopefully to expedite things....Just hope never to have to use it:biggrin:

    when ashore.. we always have a credit card, and it is one that we (Einstein) has memorized the number also to expedite in case it was lost or stolen. If you do not have a good memory like Einstein.. then perhaps writing it down in some way that it looks like a phone numbers list, and carry that separately, If that worried you, then perhaps splitting up the number between you.whatever works for you...

    And calgon.. another good point:doubleup:

  15. maw

    maw Wordsmith

    Since I broke my ankle in Cauymans on my second cruise I carry my passport on person when ashore. I was injured on a ship excursion and they immediatly notified ships agent. A representative of ships agent was with us most of time until I was off loaded on pllane from an ambulance. They contacted ship and it waited while Kim and Penny went back to get Daw and I some cllthes , meds etc. The ships agent found Daw a room for night, helped her make reservtions for flying out and my ambulance and her transporttion to hotle and airport. Very nice young lady.
  16. Gayle V

    Gayle V Cruiser's Compass Editor

    Hi all,

    LS5099, Yes that's true. Yesterday I wrote a thank you to Calgon and added an FYI about this, but the board VERY FREQUENTLY times me out, and I lose everything I wrote as an answer. I rewrote it three times and three times it disappeared. ( Yes I kicked myself for not saving it each time, but .. oh well.) I eventually gave up and didn't answer.

    What I was trying to add to the article was: That I called the people at insuremytrip, and they said, that they DO cover, but only IF you've bought "missed connection" coverage, and IF it's a covered reason. Clearly lingering too long at Carlos 'n Charles, would not be a covered reason.

    Whether or not it's allowed, is one thing. What they do is another. Which is why it's going to cost you some big $$$. If it was allowed, I don't think they could charge you like that. That said, it's a fact that they definitely DO do it. I've watched it twice from my balcony, and both those times the boat said "PILOT" on it in great big letters. I think we have some video of it, here somewhere. It was from only a few cruises ago, so it can't be more than a year or two old.But like I told Red, I can't seem to find it.

    Thank you all, Ship Maven, Calgon, Red, Denise, and LS5099 for the other suggestions, but almost all are already in the Compass: Ship's time, Ship's Agent number in the shopping guide, passport copy, bring 2 credit cards, keeping the numbers etc. (Although those ideas on how to keep those card numbers secretly, are new.) I actually go on at length about "time" in there, and include the rest.

    The one topic that I didn't know how to present is the idea of carrying only a "copy" of the passport. If you remember, I asked here on the board for help with that, and talked to John about whether to include it. I wasn't sure if the paper copy of the passport would actually do you any good, or if you were likely to get laughed out of the airport, if you showed up with just that. I even tried calling government passport office to ask. Trust me, that's an effort not worth the aggravation involved.

    I never came up with a good answer. Like I told John, I hesitated to include it, as a suggestion, for fear some poor stranded soul (or injured like Maw) would take that as gospel, and be really angry at us here on Cruise Addict's when it didn't work. So my final choice was to just offer it as an idea, including the caveat that it might be a useless effort in the end.
  17. red stripe

    red stripe Well-Known Member

    Gayle, when responding to maws Ramble I open a word document and type what I want to say in it. then I copy and paste it into a post. I have written out long responses only to have the same thing happen:madd:

    And we can see all too well by the video links that you provided that they do at times allow people to board from a pilot boat or a tug..
    very dangerous.

    About the passport copy.. I am sure that showing a copy will not get you on a plane. We do it as we think/hope that IF we were stranded.. having that copy showing our names, photo and number and place where it was issued from MIGHT help expedite receiving travel docs that we can use.

    Maw and paw are very wise to carry their passport off the ship, as they have health problems. Also they are only doing certain things. I hate to take mine because we are on cats, swimming, snorkeling etc. I would be worried sick if i had it with me on a beach.

    About the pilot thing.. I was not sure on that.
    I had always understood that the pilot was in control of the ship once he was at the bridge, and that responsibility for getting out past the buoys marking the channel was his. But that authority ended when he reached that goal and gave back the vessel to the captain.

    It did NoT give the pilot authority to bring people on from his craft or to tell the captain he had to pick people up from a tug.

    if this were the case, the guy could bring his family on-board for a quick tour of the bridge etc.

    Perhaps Mary Ann can answer this?
  18. Gayle V

    Gayle V Cruiser's Compass Editor

    If that were the case, he could charge for the trip on a regular basis. Now wouldn't that be an exciting excursion?:biggrin:
  19. red stripe

    red stripe Well-Known Member

  20. Calgon1

    Calgon1 Awaiting results of mental evaluation

    RE: Passports

    The only advantage of having a photocopy of your passport with you would be (as Red stated) to expedite the issuance of temporary/replacement travel documents by your embassy/consulate. Some places (retail businesses) may accept a good quality (color, sharp, clear photo) photocopy for verification of identification (use of a credit card, etc.), but I would not attempt to rely on a photocopy for travel ...

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