First Time Back To Back Cruise

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#1
Bay Area, CA
378 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Hello there fellow Princess Cruisers. My wife and I have booked our first back to back cruise. We will be cruising aboard the Ruby Princess on March 22, 2018 and arrive back in port on March 26th. We will than start the 2nd leg of our journey that same day and we have the same room booked. Does anyone know what the disembarkation procedures are after the end of the first cruise? Do we get off the ship go through customs than have to wait to re-board the ship with all the newly arriving passengers? Or do we just stay on-board the ship? Thank you
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Grand Princess: 2003, Caribbean
Dawn Princess: 2006, Mexico
Golden Princess: 2011 Alaska
Golden Princess: 2013 Santa Barbra/Ensenada
Ruby Princess: 2014 Caribbean
Golden Princess: 2014 Catalina/Ensenada
Disney Dream: 2015 Bahamian Cruise
Ruby Princess: 2017 Mexican Rivera


#2
Sacramento
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2016
Can you keep the cruises but book it as a 14 day cruise instead? That is what we did on our upcoming Regal cruise in Feb. It was two cruises but we had the option of booking a 14 day and we won't have to bother with customs and such. I believe we even saved $100 off the fare too.
#3
Pacific NW
666 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Each time we have done a back to back the procedure is different. Sometimes it is a simple change of cards, sometimes it is a quick exit/entry the ship and sometimes it is exit and enter later.
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#4
South Florida
4,560 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by Sacto Rick
Can you keep the cruises but book it as a 14 day cruise instead? That is what we did on our upcoming Regal cruise in Feb. It was two cruises but we had the option of booking a 14 day and we won't have to bother with customs and such. I believe we even saved $100 off the fare too.
Customs is only done at final disembarkation no matter how the cruise is booked.
But as the OP (and you) are returning to the US turnaround port after visiting foreign ports you will be subject to an Immigration inspection--again, how the cruise was booked is irrelevant.

...and you know. one of these days someone who starts a thread on this very popular topic is actually going to specify what turnaround port they are talking about. Because procedures do vary even between US ports (ie in Port Everglades you usually have to step off the ship, albeit briefly; in San Pedro, sometimes the passport inspection is done entirely on board).
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Debarking is a cruel procedure done to dogs.
Upgrades, Upsellls and Move Over Offers are completely different things.
As are being denied boarding and being disembarked early.
And don't get me started on Port Charges vs. Government Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses.
The Jones Act is for cargo. The PVSA is "that terrible law" that restricts USA domestic sailings. But without which there would likely be no cruise ships with casinos, duty free shops, and international crew members willing to work fantastically hard every single day.
Lots of people fly in the morning of the cruise and catch crazy early flights home. Why ask us if you can? Just to be harassed by the regulars?
No hotels have free shuttles, free breakfast, free wifi, or free parking. You pay in the rate. And could have found a better deal paying by the piece.
And don't forget: the cruise line is in complete control of the weather, political unrest, medical emergencies, and anything else that delays or re-routes your cruise. Be sure to demand compensation as it is you and only you who were affected.
#5
Texas
1,827 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by michca53
Hello there fellow Princess Cruisers. My wife and I have booked our first back to back cruise. We will be cruising aboard the Ruby Princess on March 22, 2018 and arrive back in port on March 26th. We will than start the 2nd leg of our journey that same day and we have the same room booked. Does anyone know what the disembarkation procedures are after the end of the first cruise? Do we get off the ship go through customs than have to wait to re-board the ship with all the newly arriving passengers? Or do we just stay on-board the ship? Thank you
You do not go through customs unless you are taking luggage or other goods off the ship. However, you do go through US immigration. The procedure varies. You will receive specific written instructions in your cabin. If you don't receive them the day before the turnaround day, then check with Passenger Services. You will receive your new cruise card (if you old one does not cover both cruises) and a paper that says your are intransit. You will need both of those items, along with your passport, for immigration.

If you want to go off the ship, you may. In that case, you will leave with any departure group and return to board when new passengers board.

If you do not want to go anywhere off the ship, then you will meet with other B2B passengers at a designated meeting place on the ship. Sometimes immigration checks are done on the ship and you won't have to leave. More often, you will leave the ship as a group, go through immigration, and reboard almost immediately - before any of the new passengers. The only delays generally are if some passengers don't report as instructed - they have to account for all passengers before anyone can re-board.

You do not take any luggage off the ship with you - you just leave it in your room. Lunch will be served in the MDR until 12:30 pm, and that is a lot less hectic than the buffet. You do not need to go to the safety muster drill - it is for new passengers only.
#6
Texas
1,827 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by Sacto Rick
Can you keep the cruises but book it as a 14 day cruise instead? That is what we did on our upcoming Regal cruise in Feb. It was two cruises but we had the option of booking a 14 day and we won't have to bother with customs and such. I believe we even saved $100 off the fare too.
According to the Princess website, OP booked a 4-day Los Angeles round-trip cruise (with stops in Santa Barbara and Ensenada) followed by a 5-day Los Angeles round trip cruise (with stop in Cabo San Lucas). Princess does not offer the option of booking these as a single 9-day cruise.

The immigration process is exactly the same for a turnaround day in the middle of a single cruise or between two cruises booked back-to-back. The immigration people don't care how you booked the cruise. You go through exactly the same process either way.
#7
Texas
1,827 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by fishywood
Customs is only done at final disembarkation no matter how the cruise is booked.
But as the OP (and you) are returning to the US turnaround port after visiting foreign ports you will be subject to an Immigration inspection--again, how the cruise was booked is irrelevant.

...and you know. one of these days someone who starts a thread on this very popular topic is actually going to specify what turnaround port they are talking about. Because procedures do vary even between US ports (ie in Port Everglades you usually have to step off the ship, albeit briefly; in San Pedro, sometimes the passport inspection is done entirely on board).
This statement is not entirely true. Customs is done at an intermediate port if you take goods ashore - for example, if you wanted to take your dirty laundry from the first cruise ashore and leave it in the trunk of you car in the parking lot. If you take goods ashore without declaring them, then you are breaking the law.

If you take anything ashore that you purchased on the ship or in another country, then you would have to pay duty unless you use your personal exemption. You can only use your personal exemption once each 30 days. If you use you exemption to bring in a $5 item on the turnaround day, then you will not be able legally to claim any exemption at the end of your cruise.
#8
pa
7,020 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Navy Vet is correct. ALL passengers must go through immigration on turn around day in San Pedro. You will have detailed instructions delivered to your cabin. Follow them EXACTLY. You do not want to be the passenger that holds up the entire boarding process. If you decide to stay on the ship show up at the designated on board location, usually the theater, at or before the time indicated with your passport and any other required documents. The process can not begin until until all b2b passengers have been accounted for. If you decide to leave the ship you may do so at any time after disembarkation has begun. Bring your passport, Customs declaration, $0, and intransit card with you. You will have to go through immigration in the terminal. You can then do what you want in town. You can re-board anytime after general boarding has begun. You are not required to go to a second muster drill.
#9
pa
7,020 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Originally posted by Sacto Rick
Can you keep the cruises but book it as a 14 day cruise instead? That is what we did on our upcoming Regal cruise in Feb. It was two cruises but we had the option of booking a 14 day and we won't have to bother with customs and such. I believe we even saved $100 off the fare too.
You assumption is incorrect. When the ship returns to Ft. Lauderdale you MUST go through Immigration. It doesn't matter how you booked the cruise, this is U.S. law. Follow the instructions provided to you exactly. Read my previous post for more details.
#10
Lihue HI & Calimesa CA
5,079 Posts
Joined May 2013
Originally posted by NavyVeteran
You do not need to go to the safety muster drill - it is for new passengers only.
You don't have to go, but you'll probably hear it. We stayed in our cabin on one turn around day (after reboarding ) and it was loudly broadcast in our cabin.
Since then, we go the the muster, at least there's entertainment in the form of people watching.
#11
Lihue HI & Calimesa CA
5,079 Posts
Joined May 2013
Originally posted by fishywood
Procedures do vary even between US ports (ie in Port Everglades you usually have to step off the ship, albeit briefly; in San Pedro, sometimes the passport inspection is done entirely on board).
Never had passport inspection on board in San Pedro and that's our "home" port.
Others have reported staying on board in the theater in FLL. So, AFAIK, it depends on how many are doing a B2B and for the convenience of the immigration personnel.
#12
South Carolina
28,478 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
You don't have to attend the 2nd muster drill.
Best to get out of your cabin and to an open deck where it's not so LOUD.
On a recent B2B we had a Muster Drill Party at Outrigger Bar for those of us on our roll call who were staying on for the B2B. Fun!
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80+ Cruises .... Princess, Celebrity, RCCL, HAL, Carnival, NCL, Costa, etc. (Still miss Sitmar)
#13
Sacramento
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2016
Originally posted by fishywood
Customs is only done at final disembarkation no matter how the cruise is booked.
But as the OP (and you) are returning to the US turnaround port after visiting foreign ports you will be subject to an Immigration inspection--again, how the cruise was booked is irrelevant.

...and you know. one of these days someone who starts a thread on this very popular topic is actually going to specify what turnaround port they are talking about. Because procedures do vary even between US ports (ie in Port Everglades you usually have to step off the ship, albeit briefly; in San Pedro, sometimes the passport inspection is done entirely on board).
Are you trying to be combative or helpful? Sometimes it's hard to tell on a forum bulletin board.

At any rate, the info I posted was what my TA told us. We will not have to get off the ship or go through customs when it returns for the first part. I believe that was what was asked.The cruise I am on sails out of Port Everglades.
#14
South Florida
4,560 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by Sacto Rick
Are you trying to be combative or helpful? Sometimes it's hard to tell on a forum bulletin board.

At any rate, the info I posted was what my TA told us. We will not have to get off the ship or go through customs when it returns for the first part. I believe that was what was asked.The cruise I am on sails out of Port Everglades.
Sometimes you have to be practically borderline combative to get sufficient additional information out of an OP to properly answer the question. Such is reality on a message board.

But whichever US port is being discussed, there will be an immigration inspection. You may get lucky and not have to get off the ship--but more than likely you will. If your TA actually told you that you will not be subject to any inspection because your B2B was booked under one booking number they are colossally incompetent.

In summary:
A couple days before the turnaround day you will receive instructions in your cabin as to how ongoing passengers are to proceed on that day.
Follow them.
That is all.
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Debarking is a cruel procedure done to dogs.
Upgrades, Upsellls and Move Over Offers are completely different things.
As are being denied boarding and being disembarked early.
And don't get me started on Port Charges vs. Government Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses.
The Jones Act is for cargo. The PVSA is "that terrible law" that restricts USA domestic sailings. But without which there would likely be no cruise ships with casinos, duty free shops, and international crew members willing to work fantastically hard every single day.
Lots of people fly in the morning of the cruise and catch crazy early flights home. Why ask us if you can? Just to be harassed by the regulars?
No hotels have free shuttles, free breakfast, free wifi, or free parking. You pay in the rate. And could have found a better deal paying by the piece.
And don't forget: the cruise line is in complete control of the weather, political unrest, medical emergencies, and anything else that delays or re-routes your cruise. Be sure to demand compensation as it is you and only you who were affected.
#15
Indiana
1,800 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Just wanted to echo a few posters on the importance of reporting to wherever you're directed to go on turn around day ON TIME. On the Regal in February the number of passengers staying onboard was quite high, and we were assigned to meet in the theatre. Customs came aboard and we did not have to leave the ship, but nobody was too happy about that one special couple that had to be summoned and searched for and held up the process. They got a fair amount of heckling. If I recall the crew made them go directly to the end of the line for "reboarding" after Customs finally cleared us to do so.


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Cheers to sunny skies and smooth seas ~ Lynn & Tom

Upcoming cruises:

Ruby Princess, March 10, 2018 California Coastal
Royal Princess, Nov. 9, 2018 S. Caribbean

Past cruises:


Regal Princess Feb. 12 W. Caribbean
Regal Princess Feb. 19, 2017 E. Caribbean
Crown Princess May 21st 2016, Return to Alaska!
Crown Princess May 20, 2016, Vancouver to Seattle
Emerald Princess, Feb. 6, 2016, W. Caribbean
Regal Princess Nov. 8th 2015, Reunion Cruise!
Caribbean Princess Jan. 2015, Car. w/Grand Cayman
Regal Princess Nov. 2014, E. Caribbean
Ruby Princess Feb. 2014, Car. w/Grand Turk
RCCI Navigator of the Seas Nov. 2010, W. Caribbean
RCCI Majesty of the Seas Dec. 2007, Christmas cruise
CCL: Carnival Spirit June 2002, Alaska
CCL: Carnival Triumph Aug. 1998, NY to Halifax
#16
Sacramento
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2016
Originally posted by fishywood
Sometimes you have to be practically borderline combative to get sufficient additional information out of an OP to properly answer the question. Such is reality on a message board.

But whichever US port is being discussed, there will be an immigration inspection. You may get lucky and not have to get off the ship--but more than likely you will. If your TA actually told you that you will not be subject to any inspection because your B2B was booked under one booking number they are colossally incompetent.

In summary:
A couple days before the turnaround day you will receive instructions in your cabin as to how ongoing passengers are to proceed on that day.
Follow them.
That is all.
If you would read the post instead of interjecting things that were not said it would even be more helpful. I said the TA said there would not be a customs inspection if we're continuing on our 14 day cruise.

Nowhere did I mention that she said there wouldn't be some kind of immigration inspection.

The OP had also specifically asked about Customs Inspection and that was what was answered.

Borderline combativeness is a not usually the best method of helping folks.

Happy cruising!
#17
pa
7,020 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Sacto Rick

Just to clear things up so you fully understand. When the ship returns to Ft. Lauderdale all passengers that are continuing on will have to go through immigration and Customs. This is a single officer, it isn’t two separate stops. Leave all luggage and personal stuff in your cabin just like any other day. You bring your passport and Customs declaration with you. Over the last two to three years we were required to complete the U.S. Customs declaration on turn around day. Since we are not actually importing anything we just fill out the form with zero dollars. You will have two choices:
  • Remain on the ship. If you choose this option you will report to the designated on board location, usually the theater, not later than the time indicated. When you enter the theater you are scanned off the ship. In Ft. Lauderdale the officer normally comes on board after every other passenger has disembarked, usually around 10:30 or 11:00. You then walk through the immigration process and are scanned back onto the ship. Sometimes the officer does not come on board. In that case a staff member will walk the entire group to the terminal and through immigration.
  • You can disembark the ship any time after the disembarkation process has begun. You go through immigration. You are then free to explore Ft. Lauderdale, go shopping for wine, or whatever. You can re-embark anytime after embarkation has begun, usually around noon. In this case don’t forget your intransit card.
We have done it both ways. If your ship is at pier 2 it isan easy walk down SE 17th Stto Publix and Total Wine. When we leave the ship we do so just before finalcall to disembark. The immigration lines are shorter. We take a nice walk andpurchase what we need. We then return right around noon.Once through security you allowed right back on the ship. Just show them your intransit card.
#18
10,854 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Originally posted by JF - retired RRT
You don't have to go, but you'll probably hear it. We stayed in our cabin on one turn around day (after reboarding ) and it was loudly broadcast in our cabin.
That’s my queue to step into the shower to get cleaned up for sailaway and dinner. The water helps mask the sound a little.
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1203 days ~ 121 cruises ~ 29 ships ~ 20 years ~ 6 continents ~ 5 cruise lines
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#19
Oakville, ON
1,998 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by PescadoAmarillo
That’s my queue to step into the shower to get cleaned up for sailaway and dinner. The water helps mask the sound a little.
On your TO-DO list (in the latest blog post), you forget an item to keep checking CC and post responses.
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Island Princess - BVE on Dec 6/17 @ PE
Island Princess - 60-day Grand South America, Jan 24/18.... & .... no FCD left as we have re-booked this one as 3 separate segments and saving a bundle.
#20
10,854 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Originally posted by steelers36
On your TO-DO list (in the latest blog post), you forget an item to keep checking CC and post responses.
Haha. We are sitting having a meal (lunch? dinner?...there’s only breakfast and one other these days), eating the very last of the leftovers and I had a peek at CC. G just looked at me and said, “God I’m tired.” Yep, we are. Not too much longer now...
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1203 days ~ 121 cruises ~ 29 ships ~ 20 years ~ 6 continents ~ 5 cruise lines
1 happy cruiser!!
My travel diary from Winters spent at sea: