What happens when you cruise back to back?

Ahoy Fellow Cruisers !

Shelby here, have you ever booked a back to back cruise, or you may have without realising it. If you were not aware of this it can be quite distressing for some people, so lets discuss the options for you so you are prepared if and when this happens to you:

What are back-to-back cruises?

Back to back cruises are a combination of two or more cruises, ie a 7 Night Western Caribbean cruise combined with a 7 Night Eastern Caribbean is sold as 14 Night Western & Eastern Caribbean cruise. European cruises are often combined also, ie 10 Night Norwegian Fjords and 7 Night Baltic Cruise combines to make a 17 Night Northern Europe cruise. The two cruises are offered to provide guests with a more detailed itinerary and more in depth destination experience. A back-to-back cruise could be either on the same ship or two different ships leaving from the same port or close by. MSC Cruises offer a 14 Night Mediterranean cruise where they combine a cruise that finishes in Genoa and one that starts in Venice and they offer a free transfer between the two ports.

Will I be able to stay in the same cabin for both sailings?

When you book a back to back cruise, your agent will search to try and find the same cabin for you, but this is not always possible, therefore sometimes you may have to move cabins between voyages, but you should be made aware of this at the time of booking.

Do I have to attend the muster drill on the second sailing if I’ve already gone to it on the first one?

Yes, you do have to attend the muster drill on both cruises as it is compulsory for all guests to attend a muster cruise no matter how many times you have cruised. Your cabin location could be different mentioned above, so your muster area could be different also and it is imperative that you know where you are going should the unlikely event arise.

Can I stay onboard at the end of the first sailing, or do I have to disembark?

The majority of times you have to disembark the ship and pack your luggage. If you are in the same cabin, most cruise lines will allow you to leave your luggage unpacked but you will have to vacate your cabin and either disembark the ship or sit in a lounge while the ship is cleaned and made ready for embarkation again.  If you are not in the same cabin then your bags will either be stored or taken off the ship, depending on the ships procedures and you would either disembark or wait in a lounge if allowed.

Do I have to go through the check-in process all over again at the start of the second sailing?

If you are made to disembark the ship then yes, you would need to complete the check-in process again and receive your new photo id and set up your onboard account.

Once I’m cleared, am I allowed to leave the ship and re-board whenever I want?

Yes, once you have been cleared you can go ashore, shop, explore and re-board before the cut off time advised for departure.

Are discounts offered if I book consecutive cruises?

Sometimes, you will be offered a discount for consecutive cruises, however the majority of cruise lines do not allow this. If a discount is available this will be quoted to you at the time of booking.

I’m a member of my cruise line’s loyalty programme. How will back-to-back cruising affect me?

Each cruise you complete counts towards your loyalty programme, therefore your ranking with your preferred cruise line will increase faster and you will reap the benefits.

What happens to the alcohol I purchase on back-to-back cruises?

Any alcohol purchased onboard will be kept and returned to you at the completion of your final cruise.

What should I pack for back-to-back cruises?

You would pack the same as you would for a cruise of the same length of time, so if you were doing a 14 night back-to-back cruise it would be the same as any other 14 night cruise. You would need to check for any themed or formal nights.


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