Tuesday, January 21, 2014

South Pacific: A Tender Tale

DSCF0123We think of them as ‘life boats’ during that – thankfully brief, but necessary – drill at the beginning of each cruise.

The safety drill, for you non-cruisers, is that time when passengers gather at their ‘muster stations’ near those small looking craft that dangling like bright orange ornaments from the side of the ship.

Then crew members review with us the steps to be used in the event of an emergency evacuation. We are assigned a specific life boat and that is the one we will head for in the event it should become necessary.

Those bright orange bobbles are actually called the ship’s ‘tenders’ and in a less serious vein are used to transport passengers to and from ships into ports-of-call where either the ship is too large to navigate the harbor, or too large to fit the dock or in some cases, or when there are just too many cruise ships already there (Alaska, in the summer months).

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Bay of Islands, New Zealand
We love riding the tiny tenders that bob and bounce up close to the side of the ship as passengers line up for the short rides to and from shore. 
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Somehow that tiny looking deck that hangs above the water seems a bit bigger when you are using it, but it does take a bit of balance sometimes to get from it to the tender and back (thank goodness, staff members grab you by the arm to make sure accidents don’t happen.)

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We’ve come to so enjoy this mode of transfer, that we keep our fingers crossed that we will be among the first on-board so that we can climb up the ladder and sit on the roof of the tender as we bobble our way to and from a dock.

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And while not all cruise ships can accommodate differently-abled passengers, we’ve noticed that on our last couple sailings on the solstice-class Celebrity ships, the portable dock at the side of the ship was equipped so that those with mobility issues could use the tender (but it is always wise to check in advance of booking a cruise). There were no access accommodations for the rooftop seats.

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Riding atop a tender we got a close up view of our ship and the surrounding beauty of the island of  Mo’orea.

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Maybe we enjoy this part of cruising because it affords us a different perspective on the places we visit and maybe it is because while we are ‘sightseeing’ the crew members are taking the navigation of this short boat trip as seriously as they do the entire cruise.

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Sometimes on repositioning cruises, the weather, like the cruise is in shoulder season – it is sometimes too cold to sit on the roof but that’s fine because there are good views from some inside seats as well.  (They close this hatch before taking off – I just got the photo before they did.)

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And so our 'tender’ tale from the South Pacific comes to a close.

Thanks for sailing with us today and we hope you’ll be back soon!  You can receive posts in you inbox by signing up on our homepage, TravelnWrite. Or follow along on BlogLovin or Networked Blogs – or become our newest Google Friend and Follower and add your photo to the page as well.

We are linking up with:
Nancie’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday
Noel Morata’s Travel Photo Discovery on Monday

30 comments:

  1. I guess you will always hope that these boats are only used to transport you to shore as a tourist - not as a form of rescue. It reminds me that they didn't have enough life boats on the Titanic.
    Have a wonderful week and thank you for stopping by my blog.

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  2. I don't think about the rescue operations. . .we at least have passengers on the Celebrity cruises that listen to the safety drill - on a Carnival cruises once the kids paid attention but the adults were too busy complaining about having to attend! Go figure. . .

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  3. Clever title, Jackie! I like what you said, "while we are ‘sightseeing’ the crew members are taking the navigation of this short boat trip as seriously as they do the entire cruise" I've yet to go on a big cruise ship (only a day cruise so far) and I know they are highly recommended. How many people does each tender carry? Good post :)

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    1. Excellent question; I think they have posted somewhere around 100 (if you squeezed in) in a life saving mode. But I have to admit there are some very overweight people on the cruise ships and I suspect that logistically speaking what is posted and what is reality are two different things. . .I hope never to find out! Thanks for the comment and visit, Mike.

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  4. I remember using a tender many years ago in Santorini. That little tender sure looked small from the upper decks of our cruise ship but, as you say, is a great way to transport passengers ashore. The Celebrity ship you were on looks huge!

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    1. Our ship was one of the larger ones with just under 3,000 passengers. For that distance and being so far from anything for so many days, I wouldn't have wanted a much smaller ship. Thanks for your visit Carolyn - hope to see you back again soon!

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  5. I love the fact that the tenders double up for taking you to shore! At least in an emergency, you would be familiar with them. Let's hope they will only ever be used for pleasure cruising!

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    1. That is a great point, Jenny. I hadn't thought of them that way. Thanks for visiting today!

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  6. My favourite photo is the one taken from the tender with the island in the back ground. Beautiful.

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    1. I think that was my favorite as well. Thanks for stopping by today Jan.

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  7. Clever title! And I assumed that I was going to be reading about a life saving expedition, but relieved and intrigued to hear the full story about them being used as tenders to take you to shore. What a great way to get the drills done in a pleasurable way so that people would know what to do in an emergency too :) (Thanks for commenting over at ZigaZag yesterday too )

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    1. Thankfully no life saving took place on this trip. And it is good to be familiar with these before needing them for a real evacuation - hadn't thought of that before. Thanks for visiting Johanna!

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  8. Would rather be on one of these taking me to sure, and not to save my life! I'm like you Jacke, I would not be thinking about the grim side. I would be enjoying the view. They really give you a great perspective!

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    1. Made us appreciate the size of our ship - that's for sure!

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  9. Love the title of this post, Jackie! Thanks for all the very interesting tidbits on these little,multi-purpose boats. I love the picture of one of them in the ship's window!

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Poppy

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    1. Glad you liked the title - sometimes my attempts at clever fall woefully short! And thanks for the visit!!!

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  10. Riding on a tender boat looks like fun -- way better than just walking off the boat. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we'll never have reason to use it for evacuation.

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    1. It is fun riding on the tenders - love the wind blowing our hair and the sun on our face. Thanks for visiting Michele!

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  11. Hi Jackie, I haven't been on an ocean cruise. It's good to know that they do drills and the crew take navigation and safety seriously. It's nice that enjoy your rides on those tenders to the shore. I have a friend who loves going on cruises but said she didn't like riding those tenders. I don't know why. It looks like a fun way to reach the shore for me.

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    1. I guess we all have different tastes - we look forward to our tender travel! Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. I love the title and what an unexpected surprise to see it's about the joys of tenders. We love riding the tenders! Other than fighting the masses to get out of the ship, we actually enjoy the whole experience. We love approaching the ships and seeing its size. It's also a wonderful way to approach the smaller islands.

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    1. I guess we've been lucky; aside from one stop where we had a significant line up to get off the ship, we generally have never had to fight the masses. Thanks for visiting!

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  13. I like the angle of your shots and the one with Moorea in the background is beautiful. I spent some time hiking in those hills and swimming under waterfalls there.

    Back to the cruise ship - had no idea that they called those boats tenders. The views from the little boats of the cruise ship really illustrate the size.

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    1. Thanks, Leigh. Photography while bouncing across a bay can be tricky. I envy you the time you had to hike and swim there. . .we must return and stay a bit longer next time.

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  14. I've not taken a tour cruise in ages, if I did that would be a fun one to do Jackie, thanks for the tour and joining us today on #tpMondays

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    1. Thanks for hosting #tpMondays Noel, always a pleasure being a part of it!

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  15. Never heard of these tenders, but I think I might like bobbing along in one, too. And one of these days, I'm going to take an actual cruise, not just tour the Solstice while in port -- although that was pretty cool, too.

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    1. There are great prices to be found Cathy - it is Wave Season through March when the cruise lines offer some of the best deals! Go for it! You'll love it. . .

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