Cruise ship missed: What to do if
you’re late coming back from a shore leave?

Cruise ship missed

The nightmare of every cruise guest: you stand at the quay wall and only look behind the smoking chimneys of your ship. No question, if the cruise ship is missed, the holiday has got a scratch.

In principle, cruise guests are responsible for being back on the cruise ship on time. Here we summarize what to do if the cruise ship is missed and how to arrange shore excursions to avoid a delay.

Self-drive shore excursions: the passenger is responsible for punctual return

Kreuzfahrtschiff verpasst

Latest date for returning to the vessel

If you organize shore excursions on your own, you as a passenger are responsible for being back on the cruise ship on time.

Important for planning your return to the ship: There are two times to consider. One is the departure time from the cruise ship and the other is the “back on board” time. For the return from shore leave only the “back on board” time is relevant. This is usually announced before docking in port, announced in the daily programme and/or displayed on monitors.

Before the actual departure from the cruise ship, some preparations are made. Most of the times, the passenger bridge is already retracted, even if the ship is still in the harbor. Whether you will still come on board at this time is a question of goodwill of the cruise line.

Be prepared for delays on shore leave

In general, we would like to recommend that you carry the telephone numbers of the cruise ship and/or port authorities with you on shore excursions on your own. Should a late return on the cruise ship become apparent, you can already contact them. With a little luck, the cruise ship may be waiting for you.

In any case, it is also advisable to carry some cash or at least a credit card with you on shore excursions, so that you are not left without money in case of emergency. Also recommended: Take your identification documents with you on the trip. If the cruise line keeps them, copies of your passport or identity card are helpful.

What to do if the cruise ship was missed

Schiff verpasst

Every now and then it happens that the ship is missed.

If you arrive at the port and find that you have missed the cruise ship, you must contact the port agent. The port agent is a kind of intermediary between the cruise lines and the local port authorities.

If passengers have missed the cruise ship, the port agent’s duties also include looking after the passengers, establishing contact with the cruise line and organising any subsequent transport to the cruise ship or the next port.

As a rule, the cruise lines hand over the identification documents to the port agent for this purpose, provided they were in the possession of the cruise lines. This is important in order to be able to carry out a subsequent transport, if national borders have to be crossed.

Basically, the following applies: You are responsible for all costs incurred by the delay if you undertake shore excursions on your own.

Our recommendation: book your shore excursions via “”

Because with us you will not only find great and individual tours in small groups at great prices, but we also guarantee you a timely return to the ship. So that you are spared an experience like in the following video…

Select routes &
book shore excursions

Further Article

Shore excursion tips and offers by email!

My consent can be revoked at any time. You can find the privacy policy of "My Shore Excursions" here.