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SLJ

Went on the Blue Lagoon Excursion and......

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Me and my family just returned from Allure (May 12-19) and had a phenomenal time. The only blemish was the excursion we bought (through RC). I want to know if this is their usual way of handling excursions on RC.

The Dolphin Encounter was from 12-5pm. We were corralled into Amber Theatre at 11:15pm to await for the gangway to open, which was fine. They sat us down by excursion type. But we sat there for 45min and didn't get off the ship till 12:15pm. Once we were off, there was a huge crowd waiting around not knowing where to go. We just blindly followed a moving line that had the same sticker as us. We waited in the hot sun for another 45min before we got onto the ferry. My two young kids were over heated. Our dolphin time was for 1:15pm and we didn't get to the island until 1:30pm. Thank God we were able to do the dolphin encounter right away and it was the most fun activity we've ever done. But then we were told to line up for the last ferry at 3:45pm as it'd leave at 4pm. So after a quick lunch and photo selection, we didn't have time to even walk into the turquoise water never mind enjoy the beautiful beach.  So our 5 hr excursion turned out to be 2.5 hour.

Is this normal for RC excursions?  Does it take 1.5 hours every time to just get off the ship? We have another cruise booked and if this is a norm then I might consider booking a third party excursion instead.

 

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Well, yes and no.  The excursion times from RCI always includes the transportation time which can be significant depending on what you are doing.  Based on your description I would say your excursion was approximately 12-5pm with a bit of buffer in case something happens (which includes waiting for those inevitable people who don't show up on time).  A third party version of the excursion might have said meet our ferry at 1PM at this dock and it would have been up to you to figure out how long it would take to get there.

My excursion experiences fall into one of two categories:

1) Meet on the dock and find the person holding up the Name/Number of the excursion to get your sticker/wrist band.  Once everyone is there, the group heads off to the bus/ferry/etc as needed.  If it's a large excursion, sometimes one person repeatedly takes smaller groups to the transportation while another waits for more people to get off the ship.  In this case, how long you wait depends on the capacity of the gangway and whether your fellow excursion guests are on time.

2) Meet somewhere on the ship but otherwise similar procedure but they do have to stagger when the different excursions leave or there will be chaos on the stairs/gangway.  However, there's no real need to meet early.  Just swing by a few minutes before the departure time, grab your sticker and join the line of people already streaming out of the ice rink, theater, etc.  So in your example, I wouldn't have gone to the theater until 11:50AM.  Worst case, the whole line is already gone and you just catch up on the dock.  They'll be waiting for you.

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