Cruise ship visitors are issued with a landing permit only. Landing permits are handled by the cruise ship company directly in conjunction with the Travel and Shipping office. Landing permits restrict independent access to Georgetown alone. Further exploration of the island is offered by guided tour only, which may be organised through the Travel and Shipping office. Arrangements for tours are made in advance by the cruise ship company.
Independent car hire is not permitted for those issued a landing permit. Disembarkation, by means of passenger ferry to and from the Tartar Steps at the pierhead in Georgetown, is dependent on favourable sea conditions.
If the swell makes coming ashore too difficult arrangements can be made for members of the Ascension Island Heritage Society and AIG Conservation and Fisheries Department to board the ship to share information about the island and offer souvenirs for sale, often while the ship circumnavigates the island. This often provides a good opportunity for individuals to see and learn more about Ascension, including the more difficult to access areas such as the Letterbox peninsula.