First Time Back To Back Cruise

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#21
San Diego
160 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
Originally posted by sknight
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.
It depends on what the previous last port of call was. If it was a foreign port, then yes, you must clear immigration at Ft Lauderdale. If it was a US port, then no, you do not have to clear immigration again as you would have cleared at the previous port of call (assuming the port before that one was a non US port). We did two HI circles out of San Pedro. The first went straight to HI and then Ensenada on the way home to meet the foreign port rule. As San Pedro was our first port of call after a foreign port, we cleared customs and immigration when we disembarked. The second cruise first stopped at Ensenada and then went onto HI. We were required to clear immigration prior to docking in HI. On disembarking in San Pedro when we got home, we were only required to clear customs. Immigration was not required as we visited no foreign ports after leaving HI

We did B2b out of Fort Lauderdale last year and we did not have to leave the ship. We (and about 400 other odd passengers) did have to wait for over an hour in the Princess Theater as another b2b passenger didn't think the immigration instructions applied to them so they didn't bother to present themselves to immigration. They were only "caught" when they tried to use their cruise card at the IC.
#22
Chelsea MA
3,994 Posts
Joined Mar 2014
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 have to get off the ship. Then go through customs and re-board with only the people on the B2B.
All the arriving passengers have to wait until you are all back on. Most of the time it takes about a Little over 1 hour. Have a great cruise. I love B2B cruises we have been on seven of them.
Tony
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#23
Bay Area, CA
378 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
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).
Good Point. I guess I should have mentioned in the thread that both embarkation/disembarkation ports are San Pedro, CA. I was wondering if the customs procedures differed from port to port. Now I know. Thank you for your input.
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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


#24
Bay Area, CA
378 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by NavyVeteran
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.
Thank you for the info. We had thought about getting off the ship and taking a tour of the U.S.S. Iowa next door. We will have to think about that. Also thought about buying some duty free booze at the end of the first leg and than taking it to the car. That probably wont be a good idea. LOL. I just don't want to get off the ship and deal with the crowds and the questions. I am glad to hear that the main dining room will be open for lunch. I do hate the progressive cruise check in. Usually the main dining room is closed by the time my group is allowed to board.
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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


#25
Bay Area, CA
378 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by Lucky TGO
You have to get off the ship. Then go through customs and re-board with only the people on the B2B.
All the arriving passengers have to wait until you are all back on. Most of the time it takes about a Little over 1 hour. Have a great cruise. I love B2B cruises we have been on seven of them.
Tony
Thank you Tony. Good to hear.
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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


#26
Bay Area, CA
378 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by polmcs
It depends on what the previous last port of call was. If it was a foreign port, then yes, you must clear immigration at Ft Lauderdale. If it was a US port, then no, you do not have to clear immigration again as you would have cleared at the previous port of call (assuming the port before that one was a non US port). We did two HI circles out of San Pedro. The first went straight to HI and then Ensenada on the way home to meet the foreign port rule. As San Pedro was our first port of call after a foreign port, we cleared customs and immigration when we disembarked. The second cruise first stopped at Ensenada and then went onto HI. We were required to clear immigration prior to docking in HI. On disembarking in San Pedro when we got home, we were only required to clear customs. Immigration was not required as we visited no foreign ports after leaving HI

We did B2b out of Fort Lauderdale last year and we did not have to leave the ship. We (and about 400 other odd passengers) did have to wait for over an hour in the Princess Theater as another b2b passenger didn't think the immigration instructions applied to them so they didn't bother to present themselves to immigration. They were only "caught" when they tried to use their cruise card at the IC.
Wow. So many rules to consider. But your post makes sense. Thank you. I had not thought about that aspect.
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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


#27
Bay Area, CA
378 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by NavyVeteran
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.
Ah ha. you answered my question. 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


#28
Bay Area, CA
378 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by sknight
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.
Thank you sknight. you have added more light to my inquiry. So just so I am clear. I may leave the ship when disembarkation has begun. I do not have to report to the designated area with the rest of the B2B passengers because I will be accounted for when I leave the ship. Correct? Than I go through Customs and immigration like the rest of the passengers. I will also have to wait to re-board when the new passengers are allowed to embark. Correct.
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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


#29
pa
7,021 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Originally posted by michca53
Thank you sknight. you have added more light to my inquiry. So just so I am clear. I may leave the ship when disembarkation has begun. I do not have to report to the designated area with the rest of the B2B passengers because I will be accounted for when I leave the ship. Correct? Than I go through Customs and immigration like the rest of the passengers. I will also have to wait to re-board when the new passengers are allowed to embark. Correct.
Correct on both points. Also the intransit card will provide you with prompt boarding even if there is a backup of new passengers. This will all be spelled out in the instructions received in your cabin a few days prior to returning to Ft. Lauderdale.
#30
Clearwater Beach, FL
400 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by sknight
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.
We did a b2b in Ft Lauderdale last January on Royal. NEVER again! We all were herded off the ship and then had to sit in the hot building for about 2 hrs! When people started complaining, princess finally brought out bottles of water. It was a terrible experience.
#31
pa
7,021 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Originally posted by Gatormomma
We did a b2b in Ft Lauderdale last January on Royal. NEVER again! We all were herded off the ship and then had to sit in the hot building for about 2 hrs! When people started complaining, princess finally brought out bottles of water. It was a terrible experience.
Waiting in the terminal was probably because immigration did not wish to come on board. The long wait may have been because one or a few passengers did not think they had to leave the ship and could not be located. Hopefully with the new medallions it will be easy to locate missing passengers. We found the easiest way to handle the turn around is to exit the ship just before final call. Go shopping, or take the Sun Trolley to the beach area. Return to the ship around noon or later. You avoid all the waiting around.
#32
Chelsea MA
3,994 Posts
Joined Mar 2014
Originally posted by sknight
Waiting in the terminal was probably because immigration did not wish to come on board. The long wait may have been because one or a few passengers did not think they had to leave the ship and could not be located. Hopefully with the new medallions it will be easy to locate missing passengers. We found the easiest way to handle the turn around is to exit the ship just before final call. Go shopping, or take the Sun Trolley to the beach area. Return to the ship around noon or later. You avoid all the waiting around.
What are the people thinking? When they are walking around the ship with no one on the ship except them??
I know it does happen because it happened to me. We waited 2hrs one time. A lady and her husband showed up and everyone started yelling at them and she started crying. There were about 450 very mad people there at the time. Emerald Princess 2012 and it’s still happening . Most of the time it takes about 1hr. if all goes well.
Tony
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#34
Halifax
396 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by Lucky TGO
You have to get off the ship. Then go through customs and re-board with only the people on the B2B.
All the arriving passengers have to wait until you are all back on. Most of the time it takes about a Little over 1 hour. Have a great cruise. I love B2B cruises we have been on seven of them.
Tony
I don't think you intended it, but this sounds like you have to debark and re-embark with the other B2B pax. You can get off anytime, with any group, go through customs/immigration and then go off on your own and return when you want. If you are on your own, there is a secondary door (you may have to ask about the location) for crew and B2B in Port Everglades for expedited boarding of these two groups. I don't know about San Pedro.
#35
117 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
This may not be relevant to this topic, but we disembarked the Caribbean Princess in Fort Lauderdale last week after a Transatlantic. We were told that US Customs is no longer requiring the customs form that we have historically filled out and presented with our passports. We were not given a form and no one asked for it. A minor point, but one less thing to do.
#36
Land of Bad Comedy
3,066 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
No form...Is now the rule of the day. If you are over limit, the form must still be required.
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#37
sw, Fl - Fort Myers Area
5,665 Posts
Joined Nov 2015
The larger the number of people doing a B2B means a higher possibility of having to wait up to an hour for the few stragglers to alive so everyone can proceed through imaginations together.
I've stopped going through with the group & just unload everything I don't need for the second trip to my car. It makes for easier disembarkation on the last day.
Even a morning shopping or just walking around for a few hours is better than sitting there waiting for people who are to inconsiderate to show up on time.
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#38
Land of Bad Comedy
3,066 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Originally posted by floridalover5623
The larger the number of people doing a B2B means a higher possibility of having to wait up to an hour for the few stragglers to alive so everyone can proceed through imaginations together.
I've stopped going through with the group & just unload everything I don't need for the second trip to my car. It makes for easier disembarkation on the last day.
Even a morning shopping or just walking around for a few hours is better than sitting there waiting for people who are to inconsiderate to show up on time.

I can only imagine.
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Not all opinions expressed are necessarily true, factual or useful. Just like every other Cruise Critic Member.