Cruise Pier Runners

8 Simple Blunders that Can Make You Miss Your Cruise (Ruin Your Vacation)

Are you planning to go on a cruise? If so, you need to read this to avoid making costly mistakes that could result in missing your cruise ship and getting stranded at the cruise port or worse, denied boarding by the cruise line!

1. Miscalculating the Time It takes to Get Back on the Cruise Ship

One of the biggest mistakes that any cruiser can make that can cause them to miss the cruise ship is miscalculating the time it takes to get back to the cruise port. This has happened to me a few times, and I’ve had a few close calls almost missing the cruise ship because I underestimated the time it takes to return to the port. Yes, I was one of those “pier runners” running on the pier trying to get back on the ship before the all-aboard time!

Once in Nassau, we almost missed the ship because we took a taxi to Atlantis and didn’t anticipate the time it would take to get back to the port. We got stuck in heavy rush hour traffic, and I really thought we were going to miss the ship’s all-aboard time and be left behind in the Bahamas. Luckily, we made it back just in time.

Another time, in Ireland, we assumed we could easily get taxis to and from Blarney Castle, but we struggled to find transportation back to the ship. There were no taxis, and Uber kept canceling our requests. We were stuck for over an hour, worrying about being stranded. We eventually came up with a plan to take the local bus to Cork and then a train back to the ship, not knowing how long it would take. Thankfully, we managed to get an Uber just in time. It was a close call! Lesson learned: always research before exploring a port on your own, and make sure you leave enough time to get back on the ship!

Mistakes to Miss Your Cruise

2. Going on a Cruise with an Expired Passport

Make sure your passport is not expired. An expired passport can lead to issues, and the cruise line may refuse to let you board. Typically, they require your passport to be valid for at least six months after your cruise. Therefore, check the expiration date of your passport and ensure that you renew it!

When cruising with kids, it’s important to stay updated on their passport expiration dates. Unlike adult passports, children’s passports expire after 5 years, not 10.

3. Forgetting Your Prescription Medication

One of the worst things that can happen that can make you miss your cruise is forgetting your prescription medication. If you forget to bring it with you, you will probably not want to get on the cruise ship to avoid any potentially dangerous life-threatening scenario. 

It is very risky to forget your prescription, and finding a pharmacy to fill it while cruising internationally can be tough. 

I recently heard about a passenger who missed her cruise because her asthma medication was in her gate-checked bag, which was later lost. If you have to gate-check your carry-on bag due to a full flight, always remember to take out your prescription medications and keep them in your purse in case your gate-checked bag gets lost. Bringing extra prescription medications for unexpected delays is also a good idea.

4. Forgetting to Bring your Passport

A big mistake that can cause you to miss your cruise is forgetting to bring your passport. You need your passport to board the cruise ship, otherwise you will be denied boarding. The exception will be if you are going on a closed loop cruise where the departure and arrival ports are U.S. ports, and you are visiting Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean. 

My advice is to always bring your passport, even if you are going on a closed loop cruise. You might need it in the event you get stranded at the cruise port and need to fly back home. And always make photocopies or take pictures of all your passports and important IDs and documents so that you have them handy. Having photocopies of your old passport will make it easier to get a replacement. 

Mistakes to Miss Your Cruise

5. Flight Delay

A big mistake that many cruisers make is they arrive at the cruise port on the day of departure. This is very risky because there are many things that can go wrong, potentially causing you to miss your cruise ship. 

Your flight might be delayed or canceled, and there could be major traffic congestion from the airport to the cruise port, making you miss your cruise ship. 

It’s best to arrive the night before and stay in a hotel near the cruise port. This way, you can avoid worrying about flight delays and cancellations since you arrived a day early.

6. Late Shore Excursions

One of the most common ways to miss your cruise ship is by taking an all-day shore excursion run by an independent tour operator rather than the cruise line. Since the shore excursion is operated independently, there’s no guarantee that you’ll make it back on time, and the cruise ship won’t wait for you if your tour runs late. 

Sadly, this was the case for some cruise passengers who found themselves stranded on an African island; they returned from their independent tour at 4 pm, an hour after the 3 pm all-aboard time.

If you choose to go on a shore excursion with an independent tour operator, make sure you take a morning tour to allow for extra time in case of delays. Give yourself a few hours’ buffer, just in case. 

If you can’t find an independent tour that ends early enough, it’s best to either skip the tour or book a shore excursion through the cruise line so there is a guarantee that you won’t be left behind.

7. Not Realizing There is a Time Change

One common mistake cruisers make that can cause them to miss the ship is not realizing there is a time change. As the ship sails into different time zones, the time onboard will change to adjust to the new time zone. 

Not knowing about this can result in missing the cruise ship and getting stranded at the cruise port. Even a one hour time change can cause you to miss the ship if you don’t make it back on board in time. 

To avoid this, it’s important to review the daily planner, where any time changes are usually announced. Also, you should always confirm the ship’s time with the cruise staff before disembarking to make sure that your watch or phone is set to the correct time.

8. No Parental Consent

If you plan to take a child who is not your own on a cruise, it’s important to have the parents sign and notarize consent forms. For example, if you’re a grandparent taking your grandchild on a cruise, make sure that the consent form is signed by the child’s parents and notarized otherwise, the cruise line will deny boarding. 

If you are a single parent and taking your child on a cruise, you should check to see if you need a consent form signed by the other parent. If your last name is different from your child’s, you should also always bring your child’s birth certificate as proof.

Free Cruise Toiletry Bag and First Aid Kit Packing List

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Cruise Toiletry Bag and First Aid Kit Packing List

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