Requiring a tender boat, or water taxi, is a common occurrence when cruising. Most ships are WAY too big to pull right into a dock, so a ship will anchor out a bit farther and you’ll need to take the tender boat into shore. Places such as Grand Cayman Islands and Belize City are examples of docks where the boats are used.
It’s not an overwhelming experience, but my advice is to be sure you have PATIENCE!
Although the ships do a good job at moving people around, there can be thousands of people anxious to get off the ship and start their on-shore experience. When each tender boat can hold 50-150 people, and people sometimes line up very early and don’t follow directions, it can sometimes be a difficult experience.
The best advice – BE PREPARED! Those passengers who have early excursions usually get first dibs on the boats to make sure they get there in time, so if you’re one of those people – make sure you pay attention to where you need to be and when so you don’t “miss the boat”! Sorry, bad pun.
Some ships require you to pick up a numbered ticket the day before and when your number is called you can head down to the boat. Of course, you’ll always run into the people who don’t care and just push their way through. Be ready for those people too – if you’re not patient, you might just wind up losing your mind!
The tender boat ride is usually less than 15 minutes, so it’s not too bad. But, if you think you might get a little seasick on a smaller boat, take measure to help yourself out. Grab a little bite to eat and take any seasick medication you might have. Once you start feeling woozy, it’s too late.
Also, make sure you have everything you’ll want to have with you before you leave! Getting halfway to shore then realizing you forgot your camera, money, or sun block makes for a grumpy day.
When it comes to getting back home (to the ship), do NOT wait until the last minute. Although the ship doesn’t leave at the exact minute it should, you don’t want to be in the line of 600 people waiting an hour for the tender boat. Plan your day so you can be sure you’ll get back to the ship at a good time. It also assures you’ll have time to freshen up for dinner.
Trust me, having been one of those who stood in the line that stretches a mile down a sun baked road waiting and waiting and waiting, I can tell you it’s not fun. You will pretty much be wiped out for anything you wanted to do that evening.
So, even though the tender boat stops can be a bit of a chore, with some advance planning and some common sense it shouldn’t be a problem!
For more information, be sure to check out our websites at www.cruisesinc.me or www.cruisesinc.com/rgapinski.
Coming up next – Will I get seasick?