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B2B? Pack up and get off the ship with everybody else!


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We have a Symphony B2B sailing Sep 18...this will be a far different experience than we were previously expecting to be sure.

I suppose they want us to have our bags in hand just in case our test comes up positive?

Problem is that it appears we can't get back on board until our 1pm check-in time vs. being escorted quickly back on the ship for the 2nd leg. Where the heck will we hang around for several hours between sailings?

 

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Interesting.  When I was on Adventure one of the passengers was doing a triple B2B and their testing-I think, was on day 6 instead of day 5.

I wonder if you get off the ship to test and you are positive that they no longer “have to get you home” so it’s in their best interest to do it this way.
 

I wonder if they’ll decide to charge for this in the future.

are they going to make you select a check in time?

of course, you have me to blame for this.  I just made Diamond and  they killed the happy hour drinking and I  booked my first B2B a few weeks ago.

 

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11 minutes ago, JimnKathy said:

We have a Symphony B2B sailing Sep 18...this will be a far different experience than we were previously expecting to be sure.

I suppose they want us to have our bags in hand just in case our test comes up positive?

Problem is that is appears we can't get back on board until our 1pm check-in time vs. being escorted quickly back on the ship for the 2nd leg. Where the heck will we hand around for several hours between sailings?

 

I agree. We always cruise b2b but no more if this is the protocol. How will they provide for our safety  and comfort? This latest protocol sounds like a knee jerk decision. I thought we would either get direction from guest services or attend the b2b meeting as usual and then get tested onboard, and escort us through the terminal and back on board. How do they expect us to wait in the heat for several hours with our baggage? 

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12 minutes ago, Jonathan kantor said:

I agree. We always cruise b2b but no more if this is the protocol. How will they provide for our safety  and comfort? This latest protocol sounds like a knee jerk decision. I thought we would either get direction from guest services or attend the b2b meeting as usual and then get tested onboard, and escort us through the terminal and back on board. How do they expect us to wait in the heat for several hours with our baggage? 

I’d hope you are last off the ship….but that still puts you waiting for an extended period.
can’t wait to see what happens. My B2B is in February.

im thinking something went wrong with a B2B and that’s why they changed the protocol 

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15 minutes ago, Jonathan kantor said:

I agree. We always cruise b2b but no more if this is the protocol. How will they provide for our safety  and comfort? This latest protocol sounds like a knee jerk decision. I thought we would either get direction from guest services or attend the b2b meeting as usual and then get tested onboard, and escort us through the terminal and back on board. How do they expect us to wait in the heat for several hours with our baggage? 

I would suspect you'd wait in the terminal - I can recall pre-covid that there were times we were escorted off the ship, through customs and into a special seating area in the terminal, where we were the 1st to re-board. Now how long this wait would potentially be now, is a good question.

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Tested on the ship and confirmed to be negative but you have to fully pack and sit in the terminal for fours hours?   

I’ve got a few months until my next B2B so I’ll sit back and watch but if this doesn't change I will have to figure out which to cancel.  Especially since I can’t pick check in times for my 2nd leg.  

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The problem with the email isn't the fact they are having B2B cruisers disembark that is normal procedure or the fact they are having you pack your bags.  If B2B cruiser tests positive then at least you already have your bags packed.   The problem is according to the email you will only be welcome back onboard at your designated check-in time. That make no sense to have your B2B cruisers wait in the terminal area (at least we hope in the terminal area) until their check-in time.  Pre-COVID royal took care of all of this before having customers disembark and once you were disembarked they had all your things ready for you for your second cruise, you cleared security and re-board before anyone else there was no waiting involved.

Come on Royal there is a better way to handle your B2B cruisers during a pandemic. 

Also like someone else already pointed out why can't they conduct the COVID test onboard the ship especially since they already have the test available?

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So now I have to pack my bags…get off the ship…get tested in the terminal…hopefully testing negative…and then wait. Wait until my designated boarding time. How many extra people will I meet along the way after I’m taken out of the ship’s ‘bubble’? Where will I be forced to wait? Will they send me and my luggage outside the terminal until my designated boarding time? Whether it’s a ship thing or a Port Liberty thing, this doesn’t make sense.

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10 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

So this is something new, right ?  It hasn't been like this before....I don't think ?

It always was the case that you might need to leave the ship to re-clear US Customs/Immigration, as it was based on staffing levels whether or not they would come aboard to clear B2B'ers aboard the ship. You also usually were given a card identifying you as an in-transit passenger to be able to stay off the ship and be able to return freely anytime before all-aboard time, if you wanted.

But you never had to pack up and actually take all your luggage and belongings off the ship, and then only come back at some pre-scheduled time window.

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All of my Royal pre-Covid B2Bs have been on the Anthem sailing from Port Liberty. The procedure then was we met in the Diamond lounge, CBP came and did the obligatory glance at our passports, and then we were issued our new key card. As soon as the ship got to a zero count (our old key cards were swiped off) then we were able to swipe our new cards and leave the Diamond lounge. That was it. We never had to leave the ship. All they have to do is add a quick test…if we test positive, we're already at the home port.

I know there are going to be changes and adjustments during this very difficult time. I will accept whatever is necessary to get back to sailing with patience and understanding. But…this one seems to miss the mark. Taking us from the ‘Bubble’ and sending us out to get tested and then wait…in the terminal….meeting who knows how many different port workers and contractors along the way. It’s not like getting off at a port during our itinerary. There’s always a risk there. But this is not necessary. Why create more risk?

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They have to be kidding? I really hope this is not in place early next year. We have two B2B in the same room and this defeats the purpose of having the same room and the inconvenience factor means we don't have an opportunity to enjoy the last and first days to the full taking advantage of a sleep in.

 

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27 minutes ago, CruisingOz said:

They have to be kidding? I really hope this is not in place early next year. We have two B2B in the same room and this defeats the purpose of having the same room and the inconvenience factor means we don't have an opportunity to enjoy the last and first days to the full taking advantage of a sleep in.

 

We're in the same room as well...totally ridiculous to have to pack our bags, get off the ship with them, get tested, wait for hours and THEN get back on WITH our bags and haul them back to the same room. Seems like a workday to me.

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I was on the 2nd and 3rd cruise of Odyssey of the Seas. They did require me to pack my bags, I had a room change. Royal up Junior Suite, so cool!!!!. Pre-covid you could leave your hanging clothes in the closet and pack the rest, but they wanted everything else in your suitcase.  We tested onboard one day prior and I got the results about 8pm. We  met as a group got checked in etc, walked off the ship, customs and back on board.

The CDC has a record of ships that have covid issues. Red no sail, orange several cases, yellow very few cases and green no cases. I just looked at the CDC site and there are infections on several ships. The original plan didn't work, people got infected. You can't blame Royal or the guests for that, just means they have to tighten up the policy

I much prefer Royal being as safe as possible so that I can continue sailing. I would rather endure a little aggravation than to go without like we have the past year and a half. I prefer b2b, it lowers the expense of the flight and I get to have as much fun with all new people. 7 Day cruises are way too short

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8 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

And that shows the fallacy of the protocol. You invite additional contact with people who haven't been vaccinated or recently tested by forcing people off the ship

Bingo! Let’s not test on board, and send them out to mingle with those boarding instead. ?  

I see on the other site that an updated message will be coming.  
 

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1 hour ago, teddy said:

Our back to back is in November, so we’re kind of expecting things to change by then….whether for the better or worse will remain to be seen 

Will be eagerly watching the B2B experience of you and the others sailing before December; I've got a B2B on Anthem, and I made sure to get the same cabin...which for cruises over a holiday was no easy feat. Hopefully they'll walk this back in some form in the future with the new email that's apparently coming soon.™

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I just received this same email for our B2B that starts this Sunday on Independence from Galveston. Absolutely ridiculous considering my grandson, who is not eligible to be vaccinated, will be antigen tested at the end of the cruise along with anyone who needs a test to re-enter their country after the cruise. There is no reason that back-to-backers can't also be included in this onboard testing toward the end of the cruise. I've also reached out to the company to voice my opinion.

The email also says that if you aren't eligible to be vaccinated (my grandson for example), you can not sail a back-to-back. With all the testing being done and the fact that kids are so low risk, this is a crazy policy.

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Update after reaching out to RCI: "Sorry for the trouble with this, Steve. With our last back-to-back update, we provided the wrong information and apologize for the confusion. We had advised all back-to-back guests that they were required to pack their bags and bring them to the terminal between sailings. This is incorrect. You do not need to pack your bags and bring them to the terminal. Guests who sail on back-to-back cruises must show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and are required to take a COVID-19 test producing negative results between each sailing. This test will be administered onboard at no expense to the guest. The regular back-to-back process will occur on turnaround day which means, back-to-back guests will debark (leaving their luggage onboard) and check-in for the next cruise will take place. Be sure to bring your COVID-19 Vaccine record card, as well as your Passport and any important documents needed to board your next sailing. Thank you for your understanding and we apologize again for the mix-up."

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Thankfully they just recanted the b2b mess....

 

YOUR HEALTHY SAILING UPDATE

Update: Sailing Protocols for Back-to-Back Guests 

With our last back-to-back update, we provided the wrong information and apologize for the confusion.

We had advised all back-to-back guests that they were required to pack their bags and bring them to the terminal between sailings. This is incorrect. You do not need to pack your bags and bring them to the terminal.

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47 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

OK that's much better. But why even go through that trouble? Will your documents have changed in the previous 7 days?

 

Man RC really needs to read what they write before they publish it

 

 

My general belief is that they need to get a copy of all the documents into the system related to your current sailing and simply aren't able to make that happen automatically and/or prefer the added benefit of a separately obtained additional copy. And in the case of proof of vaccination, may also have general benefit should someone be use falsified credentials. Much like submitting a photo is also something done for each checkin, which becomes the photo used for identification during the sailing. Their backend systems just aren';t designed in a way to make recording that data and associating it with multiple bookings as easy as we all may believe it should be.

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2 hours ago, Josh C said:

Well.. that’s one crisis averted.. what will today bring us.. 

This optimist is hoping that they will get the vast majority of kinks/changes out of the way soon, as the hoops they have to jump thru are finished up.

We can hope, right? ? ?

And who else thinks Michael Bayley....and several others....had to have a stiff drink after this fiasco?  ?

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‘We provided the wrong information’…’this is incorrect’…     
More likely somebody carefully thought this process through and decided this was going to be the official B2B policy. Without hoisting it up the proverbial flag pole to see who saluted it. I can’t really blame them. Things are changing so quickly and decisions are needed practically yesterday, so hasty decisions are being forced…and mistakes will be made by good meaning people. Rather than sticking by a bad decision and not admitting fault as it only affected a small, but loyal, group…Royal acted immediately to issue a correction…and an apology. Not something you see too often by big business.
I appreciate Royal acting so quickly to change it. It may have sounded like a good idea, and was probably made with input from health officials, but somewhere along the way reasonable accommodation for the customer must also enter into the formula.  
Thank you Royal!

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