Time passes at a different pace when you’re on vacation. Normally that’s a good thing, but when you’re on a cruise vacation timing can be everything, especially when it comes time to leave a port of call.
Cruise ships keep a tight schedule and cannot wait around for the dozens of stragglers who inevitably return to the ship late from every visit ashore. Whether you lose track of time while shopping for commemorative Will & Kate salt and pepper shakers, or are waylaid returning from your dogsledding excursion, you can find yourself left behind at port after the ship has sailed.
One of my colleagues used to work on a cruise ship and I have tapped into her knowledge to gather these tips on what to do if you miss your cruise ship:
First off, there is no need to panic. While it’s a big deal to have the ship sail on without you, it is an everyday occurrence for cruise line staff, who are well equipped to sort out your problems.
For days when you will be at port, cruise lines typically provide passengers with leaflets with essential information such as a map of the area and the address and phone number of the company’s Port Agent.
The Port Agent is your lifeline if you miss your cruise ship. As soon as you realize that the ship has left, either phone the number on the information sheet or go to the local address listed for the Port Agent.
The Port Agent will make whatever arrangements are necessary for you to rejoin the ship. They can arrange for your transportation to the next port of call, accommodations if required, and look after communicating all of the relevant details to the ship. You are on the hook for any costs associated with these arrangements but the Port Agent will sort out all of the hassles so that you can resume your cruise.
So, while it is a situation that’s best avoided and definitely worth preventing it if at all possible, rest assured that it you will not be stranded in a foreign country, and it shouldn’t ruin your trip altogether.