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What to Do If Your Cruise Ship Leaves You Behind

If you find yourself still on dry land while your ship is sailing off into the sunset, it’s not the end of the world. Check out our tips and advice for how to prepare in case you do miss it and what to do if your cruise ship leaves you behind.

Find a port agent.

Most cruise lines have port agents stationed in the port area to assist if your ship has left without you. In cases when cruisers are late returning to the vessel, the ship’s crew will often remove the passengers’ essential items — passports, cell phones and medication — from the ship to leave with the port agents. These officials can help you with contacting your ship and making travel arrangements.

Make phone calls.

Pull out that trusty list of aforementioned phone numbers, and start by calling your ship to let them know where you are and figure out next steps, including how and where to meet up with the vessel in one of the next ports on the itinerary. You might also have to call your cruise line’s customer service department to let them know what happened and see if they can assist with booking necessary interim accommodations and travel. Finally, if you find yourself without proper identification, you can’t get through to your ship or cruise line, or you don’t speak the local language to ask for help, call the American embassy closest to the port you’re visiting, or show the address to a taxi driver who can take you there (during normal weekday business hours). The folks at the embassy can help you to figure out next steps and potentially put you in contact with someone who can help you to reach your ship or return home.

Make travel arrangements.

If you miss the ship, you’ll have to either meet it in a subsequent port of call or call it a wash and head home. Your cruise line, travel agent or travel insurance provider might be able to help you make the plans; otherwise, you’ll have to make arrangements on your own. Either way, you’ll be responsible for any costs incurred. (This is where photocopies of your credit cards will come in handy if you’ve left the real thing onboard; it’s also why we advise all cruisers to travel with passports, even if all that’s required for boarding is a driver’s license and birth certificate.)

Retrieve your belongings.

If you decide to return home instead of rejoining the sailing at the next port, you’ll have to address the fact that your belongings are still aboard the ship. The cruise line can usually have everything shipped to you, but just know that it might not be cheap.

Try to relax.

Even if you find yourself stranded, remember: You’re still on vacation. If you have time to kill after you’ve formulated a game plan, make the most of it by exploring the destination you find yourself in or locating an out-of-the-way place to try local fare. Stuck in port overnight? That’s the time to experience the nightlife you miss when the ship sails away.

culled from Cruise Critic




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“Adventure must start with running away from home” --- William Bolitho