Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
wizard-of-roz

Worst Back to Back Ever Experienced

Recommended Posts

We just disembarked the Royal Princess.  We had a Back to Back.  First week; California Coastal - Second week; Mexico.  We had finished the first leg of our cruise and were told to go to a lounge to meet with Princess Staff.  I walk with a walker and a Service Dog.  No consideration was made for me or my dog.  For those who required wheel chairs, they were provided, with someone to push them.

 

We were asked to walk off the ship, through the terminal in Los Angeles, over uneven ground, past the luggage area, walk outside past arriving passengers, past the registration desk, through TSA and meet with Immigration Officers.   We then walked around the elevator building and walked up the ramp and the gangway to re-enter the ship.

 

I totally understand the guidelines and laws that require Passengers in Transit to present their Passport, meet with Immigration, etc.  The necessity to have passengers march off the ship, through the terminal, go through TSA again is unnecessary, redundant and extremely demanding for someone who is physically challenged.  It made no sense and I'm angry at myself for not refusing to do it.  Except for the necessary meeting with immigration and maybe spending some time in a lounge, privately until we're cleared to re-board, the aforementioned was totally ridiculous, tiring, unusual and not needed!

 

I've cruised 34 times, 8 of which were Back to Back on other cruise lines and NEVER experienced such disgusting demands made by Princess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the way we experienced the process in San Pedro. Have you done back to backs at that port before using a different procedure?

In Fort Lauderdale sometimes you have to go back through the terminal, never outside of security, past immigration and back on the ship. Sometimes immigration comes on board. I have seen it both ways.

San Francisco was very similar to Fort Lauderdale.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, voljeep said:

immigration / customs decides the procedure, not Princess, correct ?

Partially both. Configuration of the terminal, will immigration come on board, amount of immigration agents available, all factors.

I have done the b2b in San Pedro this past February. You exit the ship, pass through immigration. Once that is done Princess leads you as a group out the terminal door exit, outside along the sidewalk through all the disembarking passengers and their luggage, back into the terminal entrance, through security, to a section of the standard waiting area where we waited about 10/15 minutes, then back on the ship. This was at Pier93. The OP was on the Royal at pier 91/92. This is a smaller building probably more difficult for the turn around.

I agree with the OP. Princess needs to study these logistics and provide better flow. 

Seems to me that once you exit the ship and pass through immigration Princess should arrange for you to embark via the same gangway that you used to exit and not lead you outside as described.

With the amount of b2b passengers increasing all the time Princess and immigration need to streamline the process. It runs better in Fort Lauderdale.

The first b2b at a U.S. port we ever did was in April 2011. There were about 20 passengers doing the turn around. We met at Vines, the staff member had a list of names, when we were all there we walked through immigration and back on. Now we find as many as 600 or more.

For years I have been mentioning in the survey that the U.S. b2b process requires improvement. Some improvement can be done by the cruise line. Some improvements may be possible working with CBP as a cruise industry. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The worst B2B I have done is in Vancouver. No one came with us and we struggled to get back on the ship as no one knew what "intransit meant". It was early in the season. I had a disabled parent and also a Service dog.

 

What Roz described is easy compared to what we went through in Vancouver.

Edited by Coral

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The in-transit passengers on the Regal Princess doing the Canada/New England cruise out of New York had to go through a procedure similar to what the original poster described.  It was a real mess and the Princess people working in the terminal were clueless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@wizard-of-roz I am sorry to hear of your struggles. Why did you not ask for wheelchair assist? What accommodation did you want them to make without a request ahead of time? When I read the title of your thread, I was expecting to hear that the cruises themselves were the "worst". Is your only complaint about your travels the process for exiting and re-boarding?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The process is designed without any thought to those who need accommodations, other than having wheelchairs handy.  I sympathize.  Unfortunately, I think passengers must anticipate and recognize a situation where they might be pressed beyond their capabilities and immediately speak up.  A protest will slow down the whole group, which can be awkward, but it should make them more responsive.  When they don't hear an objection, they will just march you through their poorly thought out plan.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Vancouver-  they did not offer wheel chair assist at all. No employees walked off the ship with the group. They told us to walk off and walk back on which was not possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Coral said:

In Vancouver-  they did not offer wheel chair assist at all. No employees walked off the ship with the group. They told us to walk off and walk back on which was not possible.

Is this an issue with U.S. immigration which has a presence in Vancouver for Alaska cruises or with Canada immigration?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In-transit procedures are a melange of Princess' doing, their port agent's doing, the port's doing, and CPB's doing   ...in order of decreasing control by Princess about what happens.  The last of those folks has the most authority, the least concern for passengers, and sets the path they take once they set foot on a gangway.  Can you spell "TSA"?  😞

 

Were I mobility-challenged and doing back-to-back, I would ensure I visited the Purser's and had a chat a day or so before turnaround.

Edited by Haboob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So sorry to hear you did not get assistance during your In-Transit check-in procedure.  We were on Grand Princess doing the Cal Coastal and Hawaii B2B on November 3, 2019 out of San Francisco.  There were 28 of us doing the B2B.  The ship was having a large crew Turn Over and in our B2B group, one lady needed wheel chair assistance.  So it happens the Captain's wife Amy was in our group.  Because of the short staffing (no crew available), she stepped up to assist pushing of the wheel chair, with Captain John Harry Smith walking by her side as we went down the switch back ramp into the Cruise Terminal to the Immigration Officer for a facial I.D.  We all returned as the Captain's wife pushed the wheel chair up the ramp to reenter the ship.  That's a class act.  Three cheers and a big "BRAVO ZULU" to the Captain's wife Amy.  HOO RAH !!!!

CCD   copy.jpg

CC   .jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, skynight said:

Is this an issue with U.S. immigration which has a presence in Vancouver for Alaska cruises or with Canada immigration?

We had done LA to Vancouver and then was doing Vancouver to Whittier and back to Vancouver.

 

I think it had more to do with Vancouver doesn't have their act together for the first few weeks of the summer. It was pure chaos (which had nothing to do with our B2B2B). My Mom had hurt her back so I had a wheel chair for her plus her Seeing Eye dog. Princess told us to walk off, go through immigration and walk back on. No one went with us. If it was just me, I would not have cared. I probably would have walked around Vancouver for awhile. 

 

There was no way of me speaking to the Passenger Services desk in advance that would have made this better. They had no clue what to expect once they docked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the process fails to meet your expectations, please lower your expectations!

 

Another thought might be that if one is "safe enough" to board on leg 1, NOTHING should be needed for leg 2 - its already been done.  Even the Ft Lauderdale necessary disembark, sit on a chair, and re-board is only done because "its the rule".

 

Meanwhile, I have added an item to my packing list "leave my 3 inch pocket knife of mass destruction at home".  Its the rule!

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we sailed with my then 85-year-old mother-in-law, we requested wheelchair assistance for her at embarkation and disembarkation even though she did not need it regularly. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the process and routing is controlled by CBP and varies by port and their staffing. If they decide to route the In transit passengers out through the normal CBP check station which exits out side of security  then that is what the cruise line must do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

We did a similar b2b out of 91/92 in March (Royal maiden out of LA) - the turnaround was indeed the pits, a real cluster.  Long long walk - the in transit group totally broke up in the crowds of embarking pax, and several of us had to guess where to go.  DW uses a scooter and that made it both good and bad (bad over the uneven ground and through the throngs).   So I agree there is a bad turnaround process for the Royal in LA.

Edited by Ferd Berfle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, npcl said:

the process and routing is controlled by CBP and varies by port and their staffing. If they decide to route the In transit passengers out through the normal CBP check station which exits out side of security  then that is what the cruise line must do.

For us, that was not the issue. It was the beginning of the season and people were not well trained. We eventually found where we were supposed to go (despite employees having no clue) and then we saw the intransit sign.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your responses.  It seems I am definitely not alone in the way in which this Back to Back was handled.

 

To answer some of your questions.  I walk with a walker and when I was offered a wheel chair, my concern was storage of my walker and mostly the handling of my Service Dog.  Since I had never done a B/B in San Pedro, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.  The walk was way too much for my dog.  The terrain was uneven, rocky at some points and hot at others.  He weighs 103 pounds, with thick black fur, and there's just no way I could have carried him or placed him on my walker.  He got sick when it was over with diarrhea and exhaustion. I had no idea where we were going and how much further we had to walk.  The folks leading us through the terminal disappeared and we had to find our way on our own.If it were not for the gentleman in front of me pushing an elderly lady in a wheelchair, who I was following, I would still be wandering the terminal.

 

When doing a B/B on board a HAL ship, we were given a notice the night before disembarkation and asked to meet in a lounge where Immigration officials awaited us.  We never had to traverse the terminal in San Diego or asked to leave the ship.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, wizard-of-roz said:

Thank you all for your responses.  It seems I am definitely not alone in the way in which this Back to Back was handled.

 

To answer some of your questions.  I walk with a walker and when I was offered a wheel chair, my concern was storage of my walker and mostly the handling of my Service Dog.  Since I had never done a B/B in San Pedro, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.  The walk was way too much for my dog.  The terrain was uneven, rocky at some points and hot at others.  He weighs 103 pounds, with thick black fur, and there's just no way I could have carried him or placed him on my walker.  He got sick when it was over with diarrhea and exhaustion. I had no idea where we were going and how much further we had to walk.  The folks leading us through the terminal disappeared and we had to find our way on our own.If it were not for the gentleman in front of me pushing an elderly lady in a wheelchair, who I was following, I would still be wandering the terminal.

 

When doing a B/B on board a HAL ship, we were given a notice the night before disembarkation and asked to meet in a lounge where Immigration officials awaited us.  We never had to traverse the terminal in San Diego or asked to leave the ship.  

Sorry for your experience. it sounds awful both for you and your dog. I am lucky to be able bodied, but having read your story, I have no intention of ever doing a back to back. If I want a longer vacation, I will just find a longer cruise.

Hope all is well now and you and your dog are fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, wizard-of-roz said:

 

When doing a B/B on board a HAL ship, we were given a notice the night before disembarkation and asked to meet in a lounge where Immigration officials awaited us.  We never had to traverse the terminal in San Diego or asked to leave the ship.  

The San Diego way is the way it should work. It is the way it basically works with Princess in Ft. Lauderdale. Princess really needs to step up their game in San Pedro and other ports and work with CBP to improve the entire process. Since this effects business in the port areas it would not be out of the question to get the local elected officials involved.

If you haven't already completed your survey, I would mention this in the comments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/25/2019 at 6:04 AM, wizard-of-roz said:

We just disembarked the Royal Princess.  We had a Back to Back.  First week; California Coastal - Second week; Mexico.  We had finished the first leg of our cruise and were told to go to a lounge to meet with Princess Staff.  I walk with a walker and a Service Dog.  No consideration was made for me or my dog.  For those who required wheel chairs, they were provided, with someone to push them.

 

We were asked to walk off the ship, through the terminal in Los Angeles, over uneven ground, past the luggage area, walk outside past arriving passengers, past the registration desk, through TSA and meet with Immigration Officers.   We then walked around the elevator building and walked up the ramp and the gangway to re-enter the ship.

 

I totally understand the guidelines and laws that require Passengers in Transit to present their Passport, meet with Immigration, etc.  The necessity to have passengers march off the ship, through the terminal, go through TSA again is unnecessary, redundant and extremely demanding for someone who is physically challenged.  It made no sense and I'm angry at myself for not refusing to do it.  Except for the necessary meeting with immigration and maybe spending some time in a lounge, privately until we're cleared to re-board, the aforementioned was totally ridiculous, tiring, unusual and not needed!

 

I've cruised 34 times, 8 of which were Back to Back on other cruise lines and NEVER experienced such disgusting demands made by Princess.

First, never compare one cruise line with another.  They are all different in many ways. Second, the procedure used is not something that the cruise line dictates, it is Customs.  Third, there could be many elements to the decision made by Customs as how to best clear returning passengers.  Fourth, you should have taken personal responsibility and requested a wheel chair assist.  Lastly, certified, trained service animals are not only trained to perform a certain medically needed service but are trained to the point of being very physically fit and it sounds as though your animal may only be able to walk short distances and with that in mind, I go back to my fourth point and personal responsibility and coordination with the cruise line would have prevented this issue.  I hope that any future cruises will go more smoothly for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for this post.  We'll be taking a b2b Hawaiian cruise from San Pedro in Feb./March.  If this is the procedure they're following DH will need a wheelchair.  While he is fine walking around the ship and ports at his own pace,  this sounds like too much for him.  We had a similar experience in Southampton even though we had asked in advance about how strenuous the walk would be.  They said it was a short walk, and then it turned into a 20 minute walk.  At one point we just stopped and asked for a wheelchair.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Q&A with InsureMyTrip
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...