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Back to Back cruises questions:


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I have been on many cruises, but never on back to back consecutive ones.  Do you need to disembark between cruises?  Or has that changed? Also, do you need to get up early like the passengers leaving?  I understand that there is a meeting to attend ?? Any information on B2B would be great! Thanks!

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This was the pre-pandemic process.  No one knows how or if it will work during the initial restart phase.

Consecutive cruises work differently in different regions.  In the U.S. CBP (Customs and Border Protection) requires a ship to reach a zero guest count between sailings in order to "clear" the ship before new guests for the next cruise can board.  For the most part this will require that every guest including consecutive cruisers vacate the ship. 

Typically the process involves a consecutive cruiser meeting point and time such as 9:30am in a venue on the ship depending how many there are.  Once the bulk of normal cruisers have left the ship, consecutive cruisers are escorted in a group to visit CBP in the terminal.  CBP does a document check to process each consecutive cruiser.  After a short wait once CBP confirms the ship is empty of all guests, consecutive cruisers are allowed back on first and then the normal boarding process begins.  

You don't have to pack and take your luggage with you if you have the same cabin.  If changing cabins typically you pack everything except clothing hanging in the closet.  Leaving your luggage in your cabin when you go to the consecutive cruiser meeting the cabin attendant will move it between cabins while you are going through the CBP process above.  Rarely some guests report having to move their own items between cabins.

Sometimes (but not frequently) CBP might keep you in the consecutive cruiser group on the ship and they will come on board to process consecutive cruisers.  There is no way to know if you'll get this treatment.  One week CBP might ask everyone to go into the terminal and another week they could decide to do it on board.  

During this process you'll get new SeaPass cards.  Sometimes you can keep the old cards, sometimes they collect them when you get your new cards. 

You have to settle your account on board as if you are leaving the ship like everyone else.  The next cruise has a different account for any purchases on the consecutive cruise.  

Before sailing you should check in online for each cruise separately as if you are taking two different cruises on different ships.   Royal truly treats the two cruises as separate events so you should go through the motions as if they are distinctly separate cruises.

If you plan to leave the ship on turn around day you typically are instructed to visit guest services early, collect you new SeaPass card and then you leave the ship when general debarking is occuring.  You'll go through CBP like you do every cruise and then you are free to roam off ship.  Upon returning to the terminal you have to go through security like everyone else and assuming the ship is already boarding you walk on like everyone else new to that cruise.  

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There is an alcohol loophole some consecutive cruiser attempt.  Normally if you buy booze on the ship during a cruise it is kept and distributed on the last night so people can pack it.  If you visit the shops on board on the last day they often let you take your purchases with you assuming you are going back to your cabin to pack it.  Some consecutive cruisers have acquired a bottle on the last day that they then can keep in their cabin for the consecutive cruise.  

Technically this isn't breaking any policy since you are not bringing the bottle of booze onto the ship.  

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4 minutes ago, Vancity Cruiser said:

As one of the conditions of the conditional sail order is no cruises longer than 7 days I would assume that back to back cruises would not be allowed during the initial return to cruise phase.

How about a 3/4 B2B?  🙂 

No one knows what the restart phase will look like or how long it will last if the promised vaccine is as effective as everyone hopes.  The CSO specifically states that the 7 day limit can be shortened or lengthened at any time.

The CSO expires in November 2021 so we can hope for the best and that the B2B process or eligibility won't be altered for too long.  

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Knowing that the CDC seems to have a 7 day or less limit as a starting point; I booked back to back cruises on Independence of the Seas in March. I booked B2B 5 night and a 4 night cruises. They have different western Caribbean itineraries. I hope that they will not be cancelled because it looks like a very fun combination! 

Record? :I think that I might have a record for the most cruises cancelled, mostly because of the virus but I also had one cancelled because RC changed the cruise length and itinerary. Off the top of my head, I believe I've had 5 cancelled.

 

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I have done several back to backs on the Anthem out of NJ. As previously noted, the pre-pandemic process differed depending on the ship or port. In NJ, back to back passengers (along with any guest entertainers who were staying for more than one cruise) met in the Diamond lounge by 9am. Security set up a scanning desk at the entrance. After our name was checked on the list, our room keys were taken and security scanned us out...thus allowing the ship to receive a ‘zero count’. CBP officers came to the lounge and checked our passports. Then we were handed our new room keys (even if in the same cabin...the new key had the new expiration date) and when boarding commenced, we were allowed to leave the Diamond lounge, scanning our new key cards. Very easy, convenient process. Hopefully, after the pandemic, it continues.

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14 hours ago, Phillip Diamond Plus said:

Knowing that the CDC seems to have a 7 day or less limit as a starting point; I booked back to back cruises on Independence of the Seas in March. I booked B2B 5 night and a 4 night cruises. They have different western Caribbean itineraries. I hope that they will not be cancelled because it looks like a very fun combination! 

Record? :I think that I might have a record for the most cruises cancelled, mostly because of the virus but I also had one cancelled because RC changed the cruise length and itinerary. Off the top of my head, I believe I've had 5 cancelled.

 

12 so far...and January’s eleven night cruise will most likely be cancelled because of the seven night maximum cruise limit.  I know...I’m very fortunate to be retired and able to do so many cruises. I wish we all remain healthy and safe as this pandemic subsides and we can return to some sense of normalcy.

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I'm probably not thinking this all the way through, but it seems to me that B2B pax would be preferable to newbies boarding.  If, in fact, disembarking pax are going to be required to get an "exit COVID test", and the B2B pax come back negative, then wouldn't it be super simple just to let them stay on board and continue for another cruise ?  It would save Royal the expense of having to test these pax as new, onboarding pax and it would reduce the volume of utter madness that is going to be going on out in the terminal (projecting...I know).  IMO, these continuing pax will be waaay easier to process than all of the new pax coming on board.

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2 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I'm probably not thinking this all the way through, but it seems to me that B2B pax would be preferable to newbies boarding.  If, in fact, disembarking pax are going to be required to get an "exit COVID test", and the B2B pax come back negative, then wouldn't it be super simple just to let them stay on board and continue for another cruise ?  It would save Royal the expense of having to test these pax as new, onboarding pax and it would reduce the volume of utter madness that is going to be going on out in the terminal (projecting...I know).  IMO, these continuing pax will be waaay easier to process than all of the new pax coming on board.

I think the same.

You're already in the "bubble" from the first cruise.

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I have a B2B, 10 & 11n, 2 slightly different southern Caribbean itineraries on Celebrity Reflection starting March 3rd. I'm with Twangster on this subject. We just don't know how RCG is going to play these. I'd like my chances of sailing if these were 4 & 5n B2Bs. I think WAAAYTOOO is thinking clearly in his view that keeping passengers in the bubble on a B2B has benefits to RCG in a whole lot of ways. So, maybe this cruise will go. I've been hopeful before only to get gut punched ..... I think I'm batting under .200 with my predictions to date. I've been wrong on guessing restart dates among others. So, my lack of enthusiasm is waning. 

I too have had 5 cruises cancelled since March, 2020, the latest a really nice 5n New Years' cruise on Millennium. We had already sailed 2X in 2020, the last one ending March 15th,  right before shut down. I have taken 3 FCC, applied them in a rolling fashion to upcoming cruises that were subsequently cancelled and L&S'ed two - one an October, 20 Translant, Barcelona to Miami and the other the over NYs cruise. The New Years L&S preserved a really good deal but not over NYs. I was given 7 options from 12/10/21 - 3/03/21 - one of them would have been over Christmas which would have been nice but we have other plans. So, we took 01/22/21 only because our schedule will permit that....... on Infinity which is planned to replace Millennium out of Miami in late 2021 and into 2022 

You can look at this two ways: (1) Celebrity has a lot of my money or (2) my next 5 cruises are more-or less paid for. Still, this whole pandemic thing sucks. It's really quite disruptive and a real shame having essentially lost a whole year to laying low. I'm 72, in good health but that lost year ain't coming back. The prospect that it is likely that planning travel to Europe before late summer, 2021 is going to be dicey. That just adds more lost months with restricted travel and specifically cruising - something that we love and had planned to do a lot of. Oh well, patience is a virtue ...... that I'm running really short of!!!   

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11 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I'm probably not thinking this all the way through, but it seems to me that B2B pax would be preferable to newbies boarding.  If, in fact, disembarking pax are going to be required to get an "exit COVID test", and the B2B pax come back negative, then wouldn't it be super simple just to let them stay on board and continue for another cruise ?  It would save Royal the expense of having to test these pax as new, onboarding pax and it would reduce the volume of utter madness that is going to be going on out in the terminal (projecting...I know).  IMO, these continuing pax will be waaay easier to process than all of the new pax coming on board.

 

A B2B guest who picks up the virus during a bubble excursion near the end of cruise one has the potential to spread the virus to guests on both cruises.  Bubbles aren't perfect.  Tests aren't perfect.  A B2B guest could very well become infected during cruise one.

I think the initial 7 day limit wasn't established with B2B guests in mind. 

Consecutive cruisers are a very small minority even on those rare occasions when the numbers are in the hundreds.  Most B2B I've done have had 12 to 45 consecutive cruisers on ships with 3k or 4k guests on board.  Oasis in December topped over 300 because it was super cheap and it was in the heart of C&A ville.  The progression through Miami's new terminal A took nearly 25 minutes to be processed by CBP. 

I'm not even sure the CDC employees involved with the CSO are aware of the concept of B2B.  

The initial 7 day cap was a SWAG.  By limiting length it reduces the opportunity for a ship wide outbreak gone unchecked and spiralled out of control.  The CDC inherently doesn't trust any cruise line so the 7 day cap is last resort failsafe if cruise lines break protocols or testing doesn't catch everyone.  

If ships are allowed to sail and the initial processes work the CDC can and probably will update the cap.   

The Sea Dream case in the Barbados right now is why there is a length cap in place.  Despite all the testing including testing at the pier before boarding, a positive case slipped on board and the ship is returning to port.  If that cruise was longer and that case still didn't get detected the opportunity for spread increases the longer cases go undetected.  If that positive guest sat near a B2B guest the virus could spread to the next cruise.

 

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7 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Hmmm....then the whole experiment is destined for failure.  What are crew other than B2B2B2B cruisers. Any one of them could cause a spiral out of control.  I guess they have to do what they can to minimize the risk...

Which is why the CDC wanted to extend the cruise ship ban.  Clearly with the pandemic numbers in play ships should not sail right now.  The issue is how to restart once the numbers are within reasonable levels.

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