If your ship leaves without you, all is not lost. However, there are a few important steps you should take right away.
When planning the details of your cruise vacation, the last thing you want to do is miss your cruise.
Although missing your cruise is not very common, these events unfortunately happen for a number of reasons both within and outside of your control. These are the pitfalls every sailor hopes to avoid.
To avoid getting into this problem, there are several things you can do to be proactive, and plan such as: choose your trips wisely, pay attention to the time – especially when it varies within different time zones, and book your trips for the previous days instead of the day of departure.
Here are some things to know if you find yourself in this situation, and three things to do if you miss your cruise.
Does the Cruise Ship Wait for Passengers Late?
In most cases, no, cruise ships do not wait for passengers who are delayed – either on the first day of the voyage, or when leaving the port on the way to the destination.
However, there are exceptions to this which we will discuss below.
Arrival and departure times for each destination are included in your itinerary when you book your trip and are announced each day when you board. In addition, you can find this important information written on your travel application, which is useful to download and use during your vacation.
For cruises that still offer daily paper itineraries, port arrival and departure times will also be listed there.
It is important that you know this important information to avoid missing your cruise due to timing. Cruise ships run very regularly and very tightly to allow other ships to stop at the same port after departure, so any delay can cause problems during the journey.
Related: Travel insurance and why you need it more than you think
Are Travelers Refunded for Missing Their Trip?
The short answer is no, travelers will not receive any refund if they miss their trip.
The reason is that it is the passenger’s responsibility to arrive on time for their journey. In order to receive any refunds, the cruise vacation must be canceled in accordance with the instructions provided by the cruise line, which is usually 30 days in advance.
Investing in extra cash through travel insurance can reduce some of the losses due to missing your trip, but this depends on the circumstances.
Related: How to cancel a cruise: cruise cancellation policies
Is the Walking Board Some Place to Invite?
If you miss your first boarding on the first day of your cruise, you may be wondering if you can just fly to another port of call and board there. Although this seems like a feasible option, it is often not possible.
The Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886 was enacted to prevent passengers from boarding and disembarking at various ports in the United States.
For example, if your flight departs from New York, and the first port of call was in Miami, you will not be allowed to board there. This is because foreign-flagged vessels are not allowed to board and disembark passengers. Ships are often foreign-flagged, meaning that their country of origin is outside of the United States.
The Passenger Vessel Services Act does not address foreign port operations, so this may happen in some cases, however, a vessel is allowed to refuse a passenger for any reason it deems necessary.
There are rules and regulations specific to the country you may be traveling in, so it’s always best to speak to your cruise line directly.
Here is a video of what we call “pier runners” trying to get back to the ship on time.
What Should You Do If You Miss Your Ferry?
Here are three things you should know if you are experiencing this:
1. Contact Your Cruise Line Directly
If you find yourself missing your trip for any reason, the first thing to do is book your cruise directly. It is important to let them know where you have to deal with the next steps, and see if there is a possibility of boarding at the next port. The port agent at the port of disembarkation should be able to help you connect with your cruise directly.
Your Trip can help you cancel, and re-book any important travel related items, such as flights, tours, restaurants, and more. If you need to arrange new accommodation or arrange to meet at another port of call if possible, your cruise agent can also help.
Although not a guarantee, some cruises will offer guests the option of receiving future shipping details for the missed portion of the cruise. For this reason, it doesn’t hurt to ask your cruise line what options are available for your event.
2. Create New Travel Arrangements
Missing your cruise means that new arrangements must be made – either on the way to another port of call, or back home, and book a cruise.
Your tour will be able to create the best plan here based on your travel needs and legal requirements. In many cases, your cruise can help you make new arrangements, and cancel old ones to reduce the stress of doing it yourself during a difficult time.
3. Contact Your Travel Insurance Company
If you have taken out travel insurance for your holiday, it will be very important that you contact them directly if you miss your trip.
Although it is not a guarantee, your travel insurance can reimburse you in the event of a flight delay, or cancellation, car delay, or other events related to factors beyond your control. This will depend on the company you invest in, the policy you choose, and the conditions.
If you miss your cruise due to timing issues, or other personal issues, your travel insurance may not cover this, and you could be on your own. Similarly, if the policy you have taken out covers mainly travel events, you may not see any refunds, so it is important to do your research when choosing your insurance.
How to Be Prepared to Avoid Missing Your Trip
You may be wondering, how can I be prepared to avoid missing my cruise? There are several steps you can take to make sure you arrive on time, every time, and avoid the unpleasant experience of missing your trip, and ruining your vacation.
Track All Your Trips Through Your Travel Guide
When choosing who and where to book your tours, it can be overwhelming and different options. While it may be tempting to go with the cheaper option through another vendor, this may not be the best option out of your wallet.
Third-party vendors have no relationship with, and therefore, no responsibility for, your shipping. This means, if they experience an unplanned delay or an accident, they are not responsible for reimbursing the passengers at a certain time. When this happens, your ship will leave without you, regardless of the situation.
Booking your trips directly through the cruise line’s website, or via a phone agent means that the ship’s crew will be aware of any delays and wait for parties who may have experienced a delay.
Familiarize yourself with Ship Time
Although ships go through different times, the ship sets a standard time that does not reflect the port time – this is called the ship’s time.
The time of your port of call will reflect this time, so it is important to know this. Most mobile phones these days automatically change to port, or world time, so bringing a watch with you on the go is often a good idea.
The ship will announce its arrival time in port, and when it is scheduled to depart, and there are also clocks. However, knowing what time you are on the ground is important so you don’t miss your train within an hour.
Set an Alarm on Your Phone
If you’re worried about missing your cruise while in port, and don’t want it to derail your vacation plans, setting up reminders can be a great way to enjoy your time while still being reliable.
Setting an alarm on your phone while you’re port checking is a great way to make sure you don’t waste time and arrive at your port too late. This method can help you determine how much time you have left on the surface, which will ensure that you increase your time.
While missing your cruise isn’t an everyday occurrence, it’s something every cruiser should keep in mind when coordinating their vacation plans.
Missing a ferry is not the same as missing a plane, or a train, where you can hop on another one that follows your destination. There are a lot of moving parts that go into any cruise, and you can end up with financial problems instead of fun memories of your cruise vacation.
Following the tips mentioned above can go a long way in making sure you don’t miss your cruise, and knowing how to deal with it if you do.
Read more: 10 things that will prevent you from getting on a cruise ship