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suzannecruisecritic

Anyone experienced with tendering on HAL (for Korcula and Kotor or generally)?

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We'll be on the Koningsdam this summer and Korcula, Croatia and Kotor, Montenegro will be tender ports. I'm trying to figure out realistic timeframes of how long it might take to get to shore. The tour operators I've asked have suggested about an hour is usually realistic but that it can vary from one ship to another. Anyone have experience with the process for these ports on a HAL ship? I've actually never ever tendered on a HAL ship so some general advice on how their process typically works would be most appreciated. 

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1 hour ago, suzannecruisecritic said:

We'll be on the Koningsdam this summer and Korcula, Croatia and Kotor, Montenegro will be tender ports. I'm trying to figure out realistic timeframes of how long it might take to get to shore. The tour operators I've asked have suggested about an hour is usually realistic but that it can vary from one ship to another. Anyone have experience with the process for these ports on a HAL ship? I've actually never ever tendered on a HAL ship so some general advice on how their process typically works would be most appreciated. 

 

I don't know these ports, but HAL's usual system for tendering requires passengers not on a tour to get a ticket and then they call groups by ticket number. They usually use a large area like the main showroom for passengers to gather. You have to show up with everything, ready to go. No getting a ticket and then going back to your cabin to collect your stuff. While you're out of the room your number could be called and you'd miss your tender.

 

HAL tours that leave early meet somewhere on board, but not in the independent meeting location. Tours are called as a group. If there are a lot of early tours, they seem to get priority over independents, with independents called as space is available after tours load onto tenders.

 

Also competing with you are the people in Neptune/Pinnacle suites and the 4-5* Mariners, who get priority tendering. 

 

Another factor is how long the tender ride is. I suggest you ask on port of call boards for that information. 

 

I would plan for at least an hour, and get to the ticket place as early as possible. 

 

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We have done more than our share of tendering including in those ports.  Kotor does have a pier that can handle a cruise ship but sometimes you will still tender if there are several ships in port.  As to tender operations you have to keep in mind that there are often a lot of cruisers that get "priority."  This is extended to 4-5* Mariners, suites, and of course the HAL excursions.   The system can get vicious if there are a lot of 4-5 Stars on the ship and sometimes it gets amusing.  On one of our cruises a few of the 5 Star folks managed to keep their very low tender number cards (which they got at the first tender port) to use at the other tender ports.  This meant they did not have to wait in line for tender numbers (there were so many 4-5*s we also had to wait in a "priority line" to get tender numbers).  When the CD realized what was happening they decided to reverse the tender numbers at the next port...so for example, the first tender number called was 15.  Those that had hoarded the low numbers (at previous ports) suddenly found their numbers did not work and they had to rush to back of the line :).  Was too funny and the CD got a lot of praise.  

 

Hank

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2 hours ago, suzannecruisecritic said:

We'll be on the Koningsdam this summer and Korcula, Croatia and Kotor, Montenegro will be tender ports. I'm trying to figure out realistic timeframes of how long it might take to get to shore. The tour operators I've asked have suggested about an hour is usually realistic but that it can vary from one ship to another. Anyone have experience with the process for these ports on a HAL ship? I've actually never ever tendered on a HAL ship so some general advice on how their process typically works would be most appreciated. 

I've done Korcula (what a gem) and the ride itself is 15 minutes and beautiful, but you need to calculate the waiting time on the ship..

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2 minutes ago, Sir PMP said:

I've done Korcula (what a gem) and the ride itself is 15 minutes and beautiful, but you need to calculate the waiting time on the ship..

Thank you for the feedback! Do you recall what you did in Korcula? HAL is offering very few excursions so we're researching doing something on our own.

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32 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

We have done more than our share of tendering including in those ports.  Kotor does have a pier that can handle a cruise ship but sometimes you will still tender if there are several ships in port.  As to tender operations you have to keep in mind that there are often a lot of cruisers that get "priority."  This is extended to 4-5* Mariners, suites, and of course the HAL excursions.   The system can get vicious if there are a lot of 4-5 Stars on the ship and sometimes it gets amusing.  On one of our cruises a few of the 5 Star folks managed to keep their very low tender number cards (which they got at the first tender port) to use at the other tender ports.  This meant they did not have to wait in line for tender numbers (there were so many 4-5*s we also had to wait in a "priority line" to get tender numbers).  When the CD realized what was happening they decided to reverse the tender numbers at the next port...so for example, the first tender number called was 15.  Those that had hoarded the low numbers (at previous ports) suddenly found their numbers did not work and they had to rush to back of the line :).  Was too funny and the CD got a lot of praise.  

 

Hank

Thanks Hank. That sounds crazy! What's time frame you've seen in your experience to get people off the boat? Worse than an hour? 

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21 minutes ago, suzannecruisecritic said:

Thank you for the feedback! Do you recall what you did in Korcula? HAL is offering very few excursions so we're researching doing something on our own.

The little island is absolutely gorgeous, easy to walk around and a great place to have lunch or drinks, beautiful scenery. You don't need to do a tour, the last time I was there(Prinsendam) there was a tour to Mike Grgich's original winery, which is on  the main land. Just enjoy the place..

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2 hours ago, Hlitner said:

We have done more than our share of tendering including in those ports.  Kotor does have a pier that can handle a cruise ship but sometimes you will still tender if there are several ships in port.  As to tender operations you have to keep in mind that there are often a lot of cruisers that get "priority."  This is extended to 4-5* Mariners, suites, and of course the HAL excursions.   The system can get vicious if there are a lot of 4-5 Stars on the ship and sometimes it gets amusing.  On one of our cruises a few of the 5 Star folks managed to keep their very low tender number cards (which they got at the first tender port) to use at the other tender ports.  This meant they did not have to wait in line for tender numbers (there were so many 4-5*s we also had to wait in a "priority line" to get tender numbers).  When the CD realized what was happening they decided to reverse the tender numbers at the next port...so for example, the first tender number called was 15.  Those that had hoarded the low numbers (at previous ports) suddenly found their numbers did not work and they had to rush to back of the line :).  Was too funny and the CD got a lot of praise.  

 

Hank

 

Well, that just adds support to my theory that people will do ANYTHING. 

 

Good on the CD for coming up with such a perfect solution to the issue!

 

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3 hours ago, suzannecruisecritic said:

Thanks Hank. That sounds crazy! What's time frame you've seen in your experience to get people off the boat? Worse than an hour? 

Most experienced cruisers would probably answer, "it varies" and that would be true.  Sometimes when a ship starts tendering early in the morning, you can get off pretty fast because the excursions have not started their tendering and others may not want to go ashore early.  But other times it can take an hour or even longer.  Other factors are how long it takes the tender to reach the tender pier (it can vary from a few minutes to perhaps 20 min), the weather/wind conditions, etc.  On HAL another problem can be that it takes forever to load and unload tenders because of a high proportion of Seniors...many with mobility issues.

 

My advice is very simple.  If you want to get off fast, get a very low tender number.  You do this by going to the designated lounge (it will be in your daily schedule) somewhat early so you are near the front of the line to get a ticket.  One warning.  We have often seen folks rushing ashore on the earliest tenders because they just like to be first.  So they get ashore at 8am and are in a town where nothing opens until 9 or 10 :).  We have sometimes gone ashore late in the morning and see folks coming back to the ship by 10am.  Sometimes they will complain that "nothing is open."  These are often the folks that rush ashore to go shopping only to find that the shops do not open early in the morning.  So perhaps it is good to "know your port" and have an idea what you want to do.  A little pre-trip homework can save some grief.

 

Hank

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