Cruise tender boat

8 Cruise Tender Port Mistakes You’ll Want to Avoid

Are you going on a cruise where you will be getting off at a tender port? What this means is instead of simply walking off the ship, you’ll be taking a small tender boat to get to the cruise port. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when taking cruise tender boats.

Tender Port vs Regular Ports

When you go on a cruise, sometimes your cruise ship is too big to dock at the pier. As a result, you will need to take a tender boat to get to the pier. Instead of docking right at the pier and being able to walk down the gangway from your cruise ship to the dock, you will need to take a small boat, called a tender boat, to get to the cruise port.

Cruise Tender Boat Mistakes

It’s an extra step to get to the cruise port. It’s not the same as walking off the ship. Below are mistakes to avoid at tender ports. 

Wear Uncomfortable Shoes

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you take a cruise tender is to wear heels. Most of the time, these tender boats are one of the cruise ship lifeboats. 

It’s not a big boat, so you will want to wear comfortable shoes that allow you to embark and disembark easily. Make sure your shoes are stable—sneakers and walking shoes are great. 

Never wear heels. The last thing you want to do is to trip or get your heels stuck on the gangway!

Getting Seasick

If you are prone to seasickness, there is a chance that riding a tender boat could trigger your seasickness. That’s because the tender boat is smaller and less stable than the big cruise ship. 

The tender boat ride could be as long as 20 to 30 minutes, so you must be prepared. The best thing to do is to take anti-seasick medicine before boarding the tender boat. 

Also, try to find a forward-facing seat in the tender boat. If your tender boat has an open-air deck, you might want to sit there to get fresh air. This will help alleviate your seasickness.

Not Wearing Sunblock

When you get on a tender boat, the seats are on a first-come, first-served basis. Sometimes, you will have no choice but to sit up on the open air deck or else wait for the next tender boat. 

If you find yourself in this situation, be prepared to be out in the sun with no shade for as long as 20 to 30 minutes. 

Apply sunblock to avoid getting sunburned. Also, bring a secure hat that won’t easily fly off in the wind. A sunhat with a strap will be best if you are going on a tender boat with kids. 

Cruise Tender Boat Mistakes

Using the Elevator Close to the Tender Embarkation Area

It’s common for cruisers to make the mistake of using the elevator closest to the tender embarkation area. I recommend avoiding it at all costs because that particular elevator tends to be very busy and slow, stopping at every floor and getting packed with people. If possible, take the stairs instead. Waiting for that slow elevator can be a major time-waster!

Not Getting Tender Tickets

Many newbie cruisers don’t know the tender boarding process and make the mistake of not getting their tender tickets ahead of time. Usually, there’s a system in place for tender tickets, requiring passengers to get tickets for their group and wait for their turn to board the tender.

Announcements are made over the loudspeaker to notify passengers when their tender ticket is ready for boarding. It’s a mistake not to get your tender tickets ahead of time because then you will be at the back of the line. 

I suggest that you get your tender tickets when you wake up and then enjoy your breakfast. Hopefully, by the time you are done with breakfast, your tender ticket will be called for boarding.

Bring Water

A common mistake cruise passengers make is forgetting to bring water. On a hot day, especially when taking the tender boat with kids, it’s a good idea to bring along bottled water. 

Tender boats are usually not airconditioned and can get hot (and stuffy). Plus, the entire process of waiting for the tender boat, boarding, and reaching the cruise port can take a while—as long as 30-40 minutes.

You might get thirsty. It’s also a good idea to pack some snacks, especially if you’re with kids, just in case.

Not Knowing the Last Tender Departure Time

People often forget to check the last tender departure time. When you get off the tender boat at the cruise port, take your time to look for the sign that tells you the last tender departure time.

Make a note of this time: Set the alarm on your watch or phone to make sure you don’t miss the last tender back to your cruise ship! You don’t want to get stranded at the cruise port and miss your ship!

Don’t Forget Port Day Essentials

One of the biggest mistakes cruisers make is forgetting to bring everything they need for the port. Forgetting something when you have to take a tender boat is much more of a hassle than forgetting something if your cruise ship is docked at the port. 

If your cruise is docked at the port, you can easily return to the ship and retrieve the item you forgot. But if you forget something when you are at a tender port, you will need to take the tender boat back to the cruise ship and then another tender boat back to the port! It’s a major time waster!

Make sure you pack everything you need for the day! Check out my port day bag packing list. Print it out and use it so you don’t forget anything!

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Cruise Port & Sea Days Planner
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