Posted May 14th, 2018, 10:47 PM
How do you make that happen? 8 of us were doing an independent excursion in tender port for St. Malo last September on Marina. We got to the lounge early, and snagged tender tickets within the first 30 seconds of distribution. And our group leader had talked to the destinations staff on the day prior as well. Then we waited about an hour and 15-20 minutes until our tender ticket number was called. So, I'd really like to know how to make this work for our next time in such a situation.
I've never been part of a group trying to go ashore, unless you count a group of two. So maybe things are different in that case, as the Oceania excursion folks are probably trying to squeeze independents into tenders full of people on excursions. I suspect it's easier o get one or two indy people on the first or second tender than it is to get 8 people on the same tender. It sounds like they were really juggling to make things work. I think they usually have an O rep for each excursion group, and keep the group together on the tender, which might require some juggling. In some ports they can't use their own tenders and I'm guessing things can get a little "off" when they use the port's tender boats. But I don't know if that was the case in St. Malo. I also don't know if there was some other kind of situation that made the wait longer than normal. All I know is that in the past, the only time I've had any trouble at all getting on the first or second tender was when we visited Easter Island. That was a madhouse, and there were numerous groups that were quite unhappy because they had to wait, an they were afraid their tour guides would leave before they got there. But tendering at EI is really bad for every ship, from what I've heard. Every single person on the ship wants off, and they want off immediately. It's a long tender ride to the rickety dock on the island, and it's a difficult situation no matter how well things are organized.
But back to your question: I've been on the big O ships and (more often) on the small ones, and seldom had much of a wait, unless the ship came in late or other situation that caused delays for everyone. I guess if I organized a group, I'd probably try to add in some extra time for getting ashore in a tender port, especially for Marina and the larger ships. There's always time needed for tying up (if docking) or finding a good spot and anchoring (if not), getting tender boats down, taking table and Oceania reps over to the tender pier, bringing back local authorities, getting cleared, and getting people on the tender boats. So maybe it was unrealistic for me to use a half hour as the time it might take to get the first people ashore, but I've certainly gotten ashore pretty quickly in most cases, and usually on the first tender, so I've been happy. But for a group in a tender port, I'd probably assume that in most ports, meeting a tour guide an hour after docking is reasonable, but likely not before then. I'd make sure the whole group was ready (with key cards, backpack or whatever, etc.) and go to the lounge (or wherever) early to get tickets. (I'm guessing you already know that, but I thought I'd mention it in case others reading this don't know what's expected.)