For many Americans, tropical cruises are a popular choice for honeymooning newlyweds. However, one couple’s worst nightmare became reality last month when their overbooked cruise ship left without them. 

According to Business Insider, Jai Raynor and his wife traveled to the Port of Brisbane in Australia for their honeymoon cruise. The married couple had always dreamed of taking a luxury Royal Caribbean cruise. They intended to spend nine days relaxing onboard the Quantum of the Seas. 

Not long after reaching the cruise terminal, however, the couple and several other guests were turned away. The cruise ship was overbooked and they were unable to sail off. 

“It was probably one of the worst days I’ve recently experienced,” Raynor told Business Insider.

Although there have been a few overbooked Royal Caribbean cruises, the chances of being on an overbooked sailing are slim. What is more likely to happen is that passengers lose track of time and arrive too late to board the ship. If you ever miss boarding time, here’s what to do if your cruise ship leaves without you.

Locate A Port Agent Immediately 

 cruise ship leaves
Photo credit: Georgy Trofimov

If your cruise ship leaves without you, the first thing you should do is notify a port agent. Most major cruise lines will have port agents near where you’d board the ship. If there’s a chance of you boarding the ship at another port, these agents will be able to help you get it figured out. If not, they can coordinate with the staff onboard the ship to gather your belongings and have them shipped to you. 

Call Your Cruise Line’s Customer Service 

Once you connect with a port agent, it’s time to start making the appropriate phone calls. Begin by calling the cruise line’s customer support line. Notify them that you have missed boarding the ship and figure out what the next steps are according to their respective policies. Once you figure out your next steps, notify your emergency contacts and begin making preparations for where you’ll be sleeping that night. This could include calling local hotels and making transportation arrangements. 

Decide If You Need To Head Home

cruise ship leaves
Photo credit: Claudia Wolff

When your cruise ship leaves you, it’s important to be realistic moving forward with your travel plans. When the Raynors were unable to board their overbooked cruise ship, they were close enough to home to drive back. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for all travelers. Once you get clarity from the cruise line about the next steps, reassess your travel plans to see if you need to head back home. Keep in mind that the majority of your luggage and personal belongings will still be on the ship. While some travelers decide to go home, others make the most of the time and enjoy the destination they’ve been left in. 

Remember All Cruise Lines Have Different Policies

All cruise lines have different policies when it comes to guests being left behind. It’s important to communicate with the cruise line to see what options are available once the ship has left without you. While some may be able to help with rebooking, it’s all at the discretion of the cruise company. Take all the necessary precautions to ensure you don’t miss boarding your ship. This includes setting alarms an hour before boarding time and not venturing too far away from the port when exploring.