What’s one of the worst things you can think of could possibly happen on a cruise? If you said, “missing the ship”, you’d be correct. And that’s exactly what happened to two passengers in Puerto Rico the other day.
The unfortunate passengers’ plight was documented on Cruceros Puerto Rico Facebook page. The group was scheduled to board the Royal Carribean Freedom of the Seas. As you can see in the video, they just missed boarding. And while that is the headline, it’s not the story.
What Happens When You Miss the Ship?
In the case of these passengers, they are in a really tough spot. They have one of two choices:
- Pay for transport to the next cruise port
- Pay to get back home
Do you see the problem here? In either scenario, the passengers have to pay out of their own pocket to get off the island.
The good news is if they are United States citizens, it should be no problem getting back to the mainland. Puerto Rico is part of the United States even though it isn’t officially a state. A driver’s license and money to pay for the ticket back home is all that’s needed.
But what if they aren’t Americans or if you find yourself as an American stranded at a dock on an island that is not a U.S. territory?
Documents You Need to Get Home
Here’s why we say you need a passport when you travel. And no, a passport card is not sufficient. Passport cards only work between countries bordering northern and southern United States. It will also allow you to get on and off the ship in the Caribbean. Air flights are another story.
The only way to travel by air is to use a passport book. Without it, you’d have to go to the embassy and obtain an emergency passport. Things get tricky when taking all the details into consideration. Mostly because almost everything you need is still on the ship, particularly clothes.
How To Avoid Getting Left
There are a number of things that can help ensure you don’t miss your ship. First, don’t trust your cell phone or smartwatch. Get a watch that allows you to set the time manually. Set that watch to ship time. The daily newsletter the ship leaves in your room will tell you what ship time is that day.
If you plan an excursion or tour, arrange it through the ship. If the excursions arranged through the ship are late coming back to the dock for any reason, the ship must wait for those passengers to arrive. Assuming you booked an excursion on your own and the bus broke down, the ship is under no obligation to wait.
It’s a terrible feeling to miss the ship. But if you get a watch you can set manually and sync it to ship time, you can avoid missing your ride. Book excursions and tours that are far away through the cruise line so that if there is something unexpected, the ship has to wait for you.
Finally, try to make it a policy to get back to the ship an hour or more before it’s scheduled to leave. This way if something unexpected does happen, you won’t have the experience these passengers had finding a way off the island.
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