Originally Posted by Meadbh
That's not quite so easy in Alaska, which is why they are willing to wait for you.
Perhaps the other variable is the threat of lawsuits? Alaska, being a US State, could nvolve the US court systems. Even if it's a baseless lawsuit, 12 random people in a jury are sometimes truly random in their verdicts...
Other international ports, combined with the cruise line being flagged under another foreign country, would likely not involve a US court. And it's not always easy to get you from any international port to another with other means, even with buses (and would likely require flights - and you can't just hop on a plane in a foreign country at a moment's notice to get you to the next port the next day, as their flight schedules can be far less frequent than an American or Southwest).
I remember doing a cruise in Europe a number of years ago, where the cruise ship pulled up the plank on-time, and left a woman standing on the dock who was just a few minutes late. Luckily for her, 30 minutes later, after the ship was unable to leave port due to high winds preventing the ship from thrusting away from the dock, they lowered the plank for her and let her board.