When you are on a cruise ship and the time comes to visit a port, your ship cannot dock directly with the shore, especially if the water is too shallow. Therefore, the majority of cruise ships use smaller boats to ferry the passengers back and forth from shore to ship. These boats are usually known as tenders or shuttle boats.
Tenders are often lifeboats on the cruise ship that are re-purposed for this task. They are equipped with a few basic amenities like access ladders and grab handles, making them comfortable and safe to use. They are also equipped with engines for transportation or propulsion, and sometimes they even have small cabins for shelters from the sun or rain.
On larger ships, such as those with over 2,500 passengers, a fleet of tenders can be used at once to ensure that everyone can get off the ship on time. These tenders tend to have a larger capacity, which means that more passengers can be transported to the shore in one go.
The other option is shuttle boats. Unlike tenders, these boats are purpose-built for the transportation of people and are usually used in ports that receive a lot of cruise ships. You’ll be able to see these boats at ports such as Nassau or Cozumel. They are more substantial and have a high carrying capacity capacity. They are usually a great way to shuttle large groups like the one which is more than 100 passengers in the boat. These boats tend to have seating, air conditioning, amenities like washrooms, and other things you would expect on a regular boat.
Tender boats or shuttles work the same way. You’ll wait for your assigned time in the ship’s waiting area, which is typically in a public lounge. From there, you’ll be given instructions and informed when it’s time to go to the tender deck. You will then board the ferry or shuttle with the assigned Passengers, and then you are free to depart to shore.
Tender boats and shuttles are essential transporting mechanisms for passengers disembarking from a cruise ship. Without them, passengers would not be able to experience the beautiful port cities and all their attractions. So, the next time you are on a cruise and are directed towards a waiting area to be ferried to the shore, feel confident that you’re in good hands. These boats have proven more than once to be so reliable and safe.