Taking two cruises in a row, called back to back cruises and often referred to as B2B, makes a great way to add extra time to an otherwise too short cruise. (To me every cruise is too short – no matter how long we spent cruising I never want to get off the ship.) Often ships rotate between more than one itinerary so you see different things on each voyage. It also saves money over taking two (or more) separate cruises at different times since you only have to pay the airfare once. We took a B2B on the Liberty several years ago, with the ease of staying in the same room the whole time. We thought we’d have some time on a nearly empty ship, but as soon as the departing passengers have cleared the vessel the new batch starts to board. The back to backers are supposed to all zip through customs in a group before new passengers board, but the Liberty had a couple people who wouldn’t leave. About 20 back to backers sat waiting in the atrium long past the time we should have gone through customs until the crew could round up the errant passengers, who apparently were not easy to find, and get them off the ship.
Things went smoother on the Carnival Splendor as far as customs went, which was good because after the 8:30 cutoff for getting everything out of the room we really had nowhere to go. We had an oceanview room that slept four for the first cruise, but since the second was just the two of us we tried out one of the smaller “secret” rooms at the bow that book as inside, but have a window. We went up to talk to the steward of the new room while we still had the old one. He said we could bring our luggage up and put it in that room when we had to leave the other one whether the room was ready or not. The stewards offered to move the luggage for us, but they have a lot to do and it wasn’t that difficult to wheel our own bags to the new room. Our new steward did have the room ready by 8:30 when we had to leave the old one, but we wouldn’t have a key card for that room until after going through customs. Once he let us in with our luggage we couldn’t get back in when we left unless the steward was somewhere nearby to open the door so we made sure we took with us anything we might need before going through customs.
The Splendor had quite a lot of people doing the B2B. They probably got more than normal since the first leg was a repositioning cruise and the second a regular Caribbean loop. After we all got back from customs they had a little celebration in the atrium and took group photos of the back to backers.
While it was nice to see two different rooms, neither type of which we had stayed in before, it was definitely easier the time we spent both cruises in the same room. Changing rooms meant having to pack everything up as if we had to leave the ship even though we actually just moved 6 floors up from deck 1 to deck 7. We really liked the oceanview room on deck 1, which was just as spacious as the cabins with a balcony. While the new room wasn’t any bigger than the average inside cabin, the panoramic window more than made up for the small room size even if you did have to stand up to see over the railing of the deck outside the window. Can’t really complain about that when getting a window at inside room prices though.
Besides the obvious benefits of having a longer cruise and taking two cruises with one airfare, taking two cruises back to back means you can ask at the spa on the first cruise if they need any volunteers for models during the spa tour on boarding day of the second one. If they do you can get whatever they need you to model for at the spa for free.
We love doing back to back cruises and have another one booked.