Sorry you missed your excursion and lost the money you paid. Have you tried to contact the excursion company to see if you can get a refund since it wasn't your fault? I have been preaching for years of the issues one could face when it comes to booking 3rd party excursions, not to mention missing the ship completely if your private excursion returns to the pier late. And it seems all the lines I have sailed do what you state and that is to give preferential treatment to those that have booked excursions through the cruise line. Good luck on getting your money back. I hope the excursion company backs you.