One of the favorite things about cruising is the ports you’ll visit, the sights you’ll see, and the new experiences you’ll gain. To access the ports and all the fun, your ship will either dock right there portside, where guests can walk right off the ship, or it will “tender” passengers to shore in small boats while the ship is anchored off shore. It’s important to know the difference so you can plan ahead, especially if you have something special planned in port.
Going ashore from the Dock is preferred because all that’s required is a walk off the ship when the Captain announces you’re clear to go. Quick and simple. Tendering, on the other hand, takes some time, and in most cases, there is a schedule or ticket process so that all passengers aren’t heading to the tender boats at the same time. Some tender operations are wheelchair and disability friendly, some are difficult or impossible. If you fall in one of these categories, it’s important to check your itinerary for any ports that require tendering and whether or not they can accommodate mobility issues. If you are meeting an independent excursion at a set time, be sure you allow time to tender ashore so you’re tour doesn’t take off without you.
Consult the cruise line or your travel agent for specifics related to your itinerary.