We all have those feelings of jealousy on disembarkation morning when we run into those people who are doing back-to-back cruises, especially when they are paged to clear immigration for those subsequent sailings. But have you ever wondered what it’s like to actually be that person staying on while you head home, or what extra benefits you get?
The process for being a back-to-back passenger actually starts a few days before the ship reaches its final port. If you’re continuing on for the ship’s next sailing, a letter will be placed in your cabin explaining what will happen when everyone else is disembarking and the few hours between when the old passengers leave and when the new ones arrive. It will also explain when you will receive your new cruise cards for the forthcoming voyage.
When the day comes, you will generally be required to meet in one of the ship’s public areas to review and clear customs again, in a way similar to any port of call in another country. You can then enjoy the port city for the day and re-board the ship ahead of sailing time, just like normal. If you choose to stay on the ship for the day and take advantage of the facilities while they are empty, you may find a slight delay to those plans as many customs agencies around the world require every passenger to be accounted for before they are released.
Some cruise lines will even offer special shore excursions in a home port to guests who are sailing off again that day. Options include shopping expeditions and walking tours, among others. If an organised excursion isn’t your thing, asking the crew for the best things to do around the port can fill in some time and also save you a fortune as the crew generally look for low-cost or no-cost options which can be done in a short amount of time.
Back-to-back cruisers will generally also be offered special perks for being onboard for a prolonged period – including special parties on formal nights exclusively for their attendance, as well as priority reservations in select dining venues and preferred seating in the theatre for shows. Simply enquire with the Loyalty Host or guest services desk to find out what perks you may be entitled to on your second voyage.
Don’t forget perks for booking multiple voyages on the same ship aren’t just confined to onboard. Many cruise lines also offer discounts or other incentives such as free air tickets for booking back-to-back voyages. Asking your travel agent or speaking with your cruise line’s reservation team will ensure you are able to take advantage of such benefits.
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