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Port days, how do they work?


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Usually the ship will dock at the port and then await clearance from the local authorities. They will announce that the gangway is open and on which deck. Or, if it’s a tender port, when the tenders are ready to start ferrying passengers to the dock. You’ll scan your SeaPass card when you disembark the ship and then again when you return.
Virtually all ports have local security set up to make sure only cruise passengers get back aboard so you’ll need your SeaPass card, and usually a government photo ID such as a driver’s license. Welcome to the message boards!

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Thanks to everyone for the answers 🙂 Would you know how much time, more or less, is needed to come back on board? Like for example, say that all passengers should return aboard within 5pm, how sooner should I return to port to allow me to return on board without risking being late?

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1st time cruiser here.  How practical is it to come back on for lunch and then leave again (assuming in the nearby vicinity).   Just trying to save some money since lunch is included but not if it is going to take hours out of the day to board and get off again. 

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We are usually on at the minimum 1 hour before the ship leaves. Most of the time we are back well before that especially if all we were doing was shopping and having a bite to eat somewhere. If you're on a Royal Caribbean excursion and there is an issue with getting back on time, the ship will wait for you. If you went out on your own and got an excursion and it is late getting back, you are out of luck, you will be left waving goodbye to your ship.

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On 5/4/2022 at 1:31 PM, LovetoCruise87 said:

We are usually on at the minimum 1 hour before the ship leaves. Most of the time we are back well before that especially if all we were doing was shopping and having a bite to eat somewhere. If you're on a Royal Caribbean excursion and there is an issue with getting back on time, the ship will wait for you. If you went out on your own and got an excursion and it is late getting back, you are out of luck, you will be left waving goodbye to your ship.

I have always been terrified of being left behind, so if we do an excursion it's always through the cruise line. 

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As others have said, there will be an announcement as to when the ship is cleared and you can exit. Because our phones automatically set themselves to the current time zone, that is not always in sync with ship time. We found this to be an issue on our last cruise. We waited over 45 mins for a couple late for an excursion because they were using local time and not ship time!!! When you leave the ship, you will need to take a photo ID with you as well as your SeaPass card. Have this with you so you don't wait to disembark and then have to go back to your room to retrieve your ID. Another lesson learned the hard way. Happy Sailing

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3 hours ago, Kathleen said:

As others have said, there will be an announcement as to when the ship is cleared and you can exit. Because our phones automatically set themselves to the current time zone, that is not always in sync with ship time. We found this to be an issue on our last cruise. We waited over 45 mins for a couple late for an excursion because they were using local time and not ship time!!! When you leave the ship, you will need to take a photo ID with you as well as your SeaPass card. Have this with you so you don't wait to disembark and then have to go back to your room to retrieve your ID. Another lesson learned the hard way. Happy Sailing

Thank you for the advice, will make sure to have everything with me. It's not the first time that I read someone writing about ship time. Which time zone does the ship stays on? 

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On 5/3/2022 at 6:57 AM, BrianB said:

Me too! I like to be sure that I’m aboard and settled so I can watch sailaway. Also, sometimes it can get very busy later and there may be long lines waiting to board.

Fear of missing the ship is one reason why I always, I'm probably paying more, purchase my excursions from the cruise lines.  If you purchase an excursion from, in this case, Royal Caribbean, if your excursion is running late, the ship won't leave without you.  Some exceptions apply, like impending bad weather, social unrest, natural disaster.....

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On 5/5/2022 at 6:27 PM, Joanna990 said:

Thank you for the advice, will make sure to have everything with me. It's not the first time that I read someone writing about ship time. Which time zone does the ship stays on? 

I am also wondering about this?   We are on an Alaska cruise in couple weeks 1 way from Vancouver to Seward.   Does ship time switch to Alaska time once it departs Vancouver or does it stay on Pacific time.

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18 hours ago, Oneoftheks said:

Do children need a picture id also to return to ship ?

It depends on the port. In Nassau, to get into the port area you have to show ID + seapass card. Other ports, just seapass card.

We always bring our passports off the ship anyway, but when we get back  to the ship, it's just seapass card.

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On 5/5/2022 at 3:51 PM, Kathleen said:

As others have said, there will be an announcement as to when the ship is cleared and you can exit. Because our phones automatically set themselves to the current time zone, that is not always in sync with ship time. We found this to be an issue on our last cruise. We waited over 45 mins for a couple late for an excursion because they were using local time and not ship time!!! When you leave the ship, you will need to take a photo ID with you as well as your SeaPass card. Have this with you so you don't wait to disembark and then have to go back to your room to retrieve your ID. Another lesson learned the hard way. Happy Sailing

It stayed on Eastern time if I remember correctly and I guess I did not have an issue until we got to Costa Maya (I think). I was not paying attention to the time announcement and went by what my phone had switched over to because I had my phone on wifi. The ship time was an hour ahead of what I had, making people who had purchased the excursions late if they failed to go by ship time. Fortunately we were sailing Star Class and the Genie arrived to walk us off the ship at the correct time. We were not ready as we thought we still had an hour but hustled up and were just a few minutes late. There was another couple on the excursion that also made the same mistake and we ended up waiting for them about 45 minutes. I believe due to their lateness they were tracked down on the ship as they came running to the excursion!! Weird experience as I didn't remember this ever happening to us before. From now on I will pay closer attention and ask my steward . I also think it is mentioned in the nightly newsletter in your cabin and in the APP. 

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