Is a b2b cruise your next cruise vacation?

Simply put, a b2b cruise means back-to-back cruises whereby you book two consecutive cruises with the same cruise line. The first ending on the same day the next one begins.

The advantage of booking a back to back cruise is that you experience two different cruise routes while on board the same cruise ship. That’s an opportunity to visit many destinations in the best and simplest way we know how – by cruising.

You stay onboard the ship in the same cabin and enjoy a second holiday without needing to unpack and repack or do anything with your cruise luggage. So convenient.

What is the most popular region for a b2b cruise?

Combine itineraries on a Caribbean cruise

On Caribbean routes, many cruise ships alternate their itineraries every other week. So one week, you could cruise the western Caribbean, and the following week the eastern Caribbean islands.

A typical western Caribbean cruise itinerary includes Nassau (Bahamas), Falmouth (Jamaica), Cozumel (Mexico), Costa Maya (Mexico), George Town (Cayman Islands), and perhaps Key West, Florida, which is seemingly becoming more debatable.

Combine this with a b2b option to the eastern Caribbean, with stops such as Haiti, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and the Dominican Republic. You have a fantastic cruise vacation.

Repositioning cruises with a different start and end destination

Repositioning cruises are sometimes an excellent opportunity to tag on the second sailing in another region. Look for options on routes in South America, where the Panama Canal is a popular repositioning cruise. Alternatively, look at the seasonal cruises in the Mediterranean that end in the Bahamas.

If you choose a repositioning cruise, it will likely be longer with more sea days.

Remember that you must book a flight ticket home from a different destination. This type of ticket is called an open-jaw ticket. It is worth researching if you can save money by combining airlines to get the best price into one city and home from another.

A port-intensive Mediterranean cruise with a relaxing b2b Greek Isles cruise

The Mediterranean is a port-intensive region and offers fantastic opportunities to visit many different countries and bucket-list destinations.

Instead of looking for a round-trip cruise (leaving and arriving at the same port), find an itinerary that starts in one port and ends in another. A good example is a cruise from Barcelona ending in Rome and or beginning in Venice and ending in Athens.

Often you can add a second sailing to a new destination, such as the Western Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona, ending in Rome, followed by a cruise from Rome to the Greek Isles finishing in Athens.

This is probably one of the most popular b2b cruise options amongst cruise guests.

7 top tips when booking a b2b cruise

1. Cruise loyalty programs – points mean perks

First, make sure you register with the cruise line’s loyalty program. This way, you will be sure to get news of cruise deals and cruise line offers. In addition, it may come with some perks, such as extra onboard credit or priority boarding.

2. Consecutive cruise dates

Check your cruise dates and see if the travel dates are consecutive for both itineraries. This is important as you don’t want to find your ship sitting in a dry dock for a few days at the end of the first cruise and suddenly find you need a hotel for a few nights. The first leg of your b2b cruise should end on the same date that the second leg starts.

3. The same cabin number for a seamless back-to-back cruise

Remember to choose the same cabin number for each cruise. Staying in the same cabin will make a seamless transition from one sail to your next. If it is impossible, you must pack everything, and your room steward will help you move your luggage to your new cabin.

4. A new keycard for your second sailing

Whether you are staying in the same stateroom or need to transfer to a new cabin, you will be issued a new key card for your new cruise. Be sure to get this sorted before you leave the cruise ship if you have decided to do your excursion on land. You will need your new card to re-board the ship.

5. Muster drill the second time around

Muster drills are a must for each new cruise you do. Even if you have already done the muster drill on the same ship, you must go through the procedure again before starting your next cruise.

6. Custom checks

When everyone else leaves the ship after your first booked cruise, you will go to a consecutive cruise meet-up with other back to back cruisers. And yes, you need to go through customers again. You will need to leave the ship with your travel documents. But you can return immediately. All of this happens very quickly, and most often, by mid-morning, you are back on board, enjoying lunch or a laze by the pool, on which is most likely to be a near-empty ship.

7. Shore visit and priority reboarding

If you want to leave the ship and go and explore the port, you can do this. But check the procedure with guest services the day before you come into port. You most likely will not need to queue again when you return to the ship, but you’ll need instructions as it varies from cruise line to cruise line.

Enjoy a peaceful ship before your new cruise mates arrive

One big perk of back to back cruising is that on the last day of your first sailing, when almost all the other passengers are disembarking and heading home, you get the whole cruise ship to yourself. Almost.

It’s a perfect day to save money and get a discounted spa treatment, be first at the buffet, enjoy quiet time to yourself, or have the whole Jacuzzi to yourself.

Or you can head to your favorite restaurant to confirm or change booking times. Take the opportunity to use the near-empty fitness center or order room service on your balcony.

Find fellow cruisers who are also consecutive-cruisers

Before you start your cruise, join the roll call for your cruise on CruiseCritic, then look for other passengers doing the same sailings. It’s fun to make new friends and share experiences and shore excursions.

Meet the author: Sarah has created and booked hundreds of travel itineraries for thousands of customers during a career in the travel industry that spans 20 years. Having worked hand in hand with cruise lines, hotels, airlines and tour operators worldwide, she offers inspiring & detailed insights in the world of travel and tourism.