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JamieLogical

How does B2B actually work?

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Posted (edited)

I am vaguely contemplating doing a B2B on the Bliss in March. I am already scheduled to sail on the Bliss on March 22 out of NYC with my SO, my brother, his SO, and my parents. But I had a dream the other night about sailing the week prior or after on my own in a Studio and now I can't get it out of my head. My SO gets less vacation time than I do, so I am looking for fun ways to burn off my extra. This seems like it might actually be a good opportunity to do so fairly cheaply.

 

Anyway, I've never actually looked into B2B cruising.

  • Do you just fully disembark like normal and then just turn right around and go back through security and check in?
  • Do you need to take all of your luggage with you?
  • If I do this, I will be reaching Platinum on the first leg (currently 5 points away and these are 7 day sailings). Will I receive Platinum benefits for the second leg or will those points not post to my Latitudes in time for that?
Edited by JamieLogical

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On debark day, they will have all B2B cruisers gather in one area, often a lounge or restaurant.  Once the rest of the ship has debarked, you will be walked off as a group.  You go through security (very briefly), they will distribute your new cards, and your group will be the first to board.  You don't go through the normal check in process.  If the ship is clear for boarding, you basically go for a walk with the other B2B people. If the ship isn't clear, they will have you wait and then board first.  You could, theoretically, join your friends/family waiting to board and go back on the ship with them.

 

You can leave your luggage on board.  If you are switching cabins, staff is supposed to move your suitcase.  However, twice when I switched cabins and was back to back, my luggage was still in front of my old cabin when I reboarded, so I moved it to the new cabin myself.  In both cases, I was on the same floor, so it wasn't a big deal.  If I was switching floors, I might have let them move it for me.

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12 minutes ago, rigs32 said:

If you are switching cabins, staff is supposed to move your suitcase.  However, twice when I switched cabins and was back to back, my luggage was still in front of my old cabin when I reboarded, so I moved it to the new cabin myself.  In both cases, I was on the same floor, so it wasn't a big deal.  If I was switching floors, I might have let them move it for me.

 

Thanks for all of the great info! So you mentioned your luggage was still in front of your old cabin when you reboarded. I assume you had left it there yourself? Do they give you special luggage tags or something to put on your bags to make it clear to staff that you are a B2B passenger and that the bags are to go to another cabin rather than being removed from the ship and sent to the baggage claim area?

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Posted (edited)

When I did a B2B and switched cabins, I packed up the night before, but kept my luggage in my stateroom. The next morning I gave it directly to my room steward and he had it taken directly to my new cabin for me.  Don't risk putting your bags out at night. Keep them with you overnight for sure! 

 

I had also received my new key card from the service desk the night before and was given a sticker that said "I'm still on vacation".  I left the ship with everyone else and went into Barcelona for the day.  Upon return to the terminal I put on my sticker and was able to go around everyone who was "checking in", but clearly I still went through security.  

 

As mentioned above, you do still need to get off for a little bit if you aren't planning on exploring the port, but I think they try to keep that as short as possible for you 🙂   

 

Speak with the Cruise Next desk when you first get on the ship and they should be able to get the points applied so that they are recognized for the second half  🙂 

 

 

Edited by arjay9

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This was on the Breakaway in December in Orlando, may be different for you.

 

A couple days before the end of the first week everyone that was doing a B2B got a letter that outlined the process and a "Still on vacation" sticker, I wish I'd saved it now, but alas..  Actually, I got two letters on different days, but really easy process.

 

Switchover day everyone was to meet at Syd Normans at 9:30 AM, with keycards and a passport, if your keycard as a disembark date of 12/21 they requested that you visit guest services prior to going up too Syd Normans to get a new keycard printed.  Once they finished finding the last of the passengers that were hiding they led us down to the theater, scanned our cards out, had us go through customs (on the ship) and we sat in the theatre for about 5-10 min while customs finished cleaning the ship.  Soon as that was done they scanned our cards again to reboard us and we were free to roam as usual.  Never actually left the ship.

 

You could choose to leave the ship, but they warned that if you did you couldn't get back on until boarding started at 11, but you had an in transit sticker to avoid the lines/etc.

 

Luggage (if you were moving rooms) should be left in your room (packed), just talk with the steward and they'll take care of transferring it to the new room.  I was staying in the same so just left everything out as normal, room was ready by 10:30 when I stopped back to drop off my passport.  No special tags/etc since you're not putting anything out and the steward delivers the notices so they know you'll be staying.

 

I was able to take care of some things (like getting a Vibe pass for the second week) during the first week, but in general the systems on the ship don't switch over till morning so setting up anything like theatre or dining reservations has to wait, but you'll be the first on so easily done 🙂

 

Only thing I took with me that morning was my keycard, passport, kindle, and phone, and was able to get back into my room right away.  Absurdly simple process and really enjoyed doing the b2b overall.

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@JamieLogical

 

Anyway, I've never actually looked into B2B cruising.

  • Do you just fully disembark like normal and then just turn right around and go back through security and check in?   There are two different possibilities.   If you want to "trip" either on your own or through a group you would disembark as you would on a normal day (BUT make sure with Guest Services that you have the NEW room key before you do).  If you are "staying" on the boat the method is as pointed out in an earlier post (again get a new room key).   Just when you are allowed back on will depend on the port; tripping you will wait till they start actual boarding (make sure you have the IN TRANSIT sticker well visible.
  • Do you need to take all of your luggage with you? NO!!  If you are changing cabins your steward will know but talk to him/her the day before and arrange how he she wants to do it.  He/she and your new steward will do everything for you.
  • If I do this, I will be reaching Platinum on the first leg (currently 5 points away and these are 7 day sailings). Will I receive Platinum benefits for the second leg or will those points not post to my Latitudes in time for that?   YES, you will climb the ladder BUT talk to Latitude Reps on the first cruise to make sure they realise you are going up.

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You can leave you hanging clothes in the closet and steward will move it and hang it in new cabin.  Last time we did B2B we were given luggage tags that noted old cabin number and new cabin number and told to keep the bags inside the cabin.  We were only moving 10 doors down the hall.  We introduced ourselves to our new cabin steward a few days ahead.  On turn around day, we stopped and told him we were going to breakfast.  When we got back from breakfast he had our move completed before we even got off the ship.

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Thank you for all of the great info so far, guys! I am definitely leaning toward actually doing this. Now, I just have to decided if the week before or the week after the sailing with my family makes more sense. The three main deciding factors will be:

 

  1. Whether it seems better for my SO to have to drive to or from NYC alone.
  2. Whether it seems better to have the Platinum benefits on the leg with or without my family.
  3. Total cost of each option.

Guess I still have some thinking to do...

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The Platinum comped dinners are for two, so you'd be maximizing that by having your SO along with you. 

 

If I were your SO, I'd rather drive to NYC alone ("Yay, I'm going on a cruise and seeing my SO!") than drive home alone ("Boo, cruise is over and I won't see my SO for a week..."). But that's very subjective.

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id do teh solo sail first to get the platinum benefits.  not only does that maximize the dinners but you will also get the free bag of laundry which will be very handy if you have a week's worth of dirties.  you can send them out first day!

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2 hours ago, dcipjr said:

If I were your SO, I'd rather drive to NYC alone ("Yay, I'm going on a cruise and seeing my SO!") than drive home alone ("Boo, cruise is over and I won't see my SO for a week..."). But that's very subjective.

 

I think the same thing. My only hesitation around it is that I am the one that has always driven in the past and I don't know how comfortable he will be driving in NYC by himself. I am also a little worried about him driving while tired, because we usually leave the morning of the cruise and it's a 5.5 hour drive, so usually leave around 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning. That's a long drive to do tired with no one to help keep you awake.

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38 minutes ago, All-ready2cruise said:

Jamie, question; would you be ok driving home by yourself? If so, what about your SO taking the train?  Just an idea.  

 

Oh yeah, I am very comfortable driving by myself both long distances and around NYC. My SO, on the other hand is a less comfortable driver. He hasn't taken many long trips alone and he has never driven in NYC.

 

The problem is, if I drive myself and he takes the train (or flight), then I have to pay for parking in NYC for two weeks. My plan currently would be for me to fly in or out of NYC one-way (depending on whether I go the week before or after the family cruise), have him drive to or from NYC by himself, and both of us to travel via the car on the other leg of the trip. So we would only have to pay for one week of parking.

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It depends on the port what you do with a b2b.   There are some ports where you have to exit the ship.  I’ve never had to “gather” anywhere.  I could do what I wanted get off or stay on the ship. I’ve done 9 b2b sailings-  last year.  

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Just a thought for you...I have used Yankee Tours Cruise Express to get to port. Bonus: Free Parking. It leaves from Albany, as well as some spots way off your route. Now I know what you're thinking....Albany is off your route too. BUT it's 3.5 hours for your SO to drive there and then catch a bus, straight down I90. I know it's a wacky idea, but just a thought. Not sure if there's a Cruise Express more in the Western or Central NY region, but you may want to look into that. I find it super convenient and definitely affordable too. I hate driving in the city and avoid it whenever possible.

Edited by AKR2011

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23 hours ago, JamieLogical said:

 

Oh yeah, I am very comfortable driving by myself both long distances and around NYC. My SO, on the other hand is a less comfortable driver. He hasn't taken many long trips alone and he has never driven in NYC.

 

The problem is, if I drive myself and he takes the train (or flight), then I have to pay for parking in NYC for two weeks. My plan currently would be for me to fly in or out of NYC one-way (depending on whether I go the week before or after the family cruise), have him drive to or from NYC by himself, and both of us to travel via the car on the other leg of the trip. So we would only have to pay for one week of parking.


One thing to keep in mind, if you park at the pier, the max fare is $400, regardless of how long your itinerary is. It’s still very expensive, but you wouldn’t actually pay for more than 10 days.

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I am still hemming and hawing about whether or not to do the B2B. I was leaning towards going the week before the family cruise, but now the price for that one went up by $100, whereas the price for the week after is still the same as when I originally started considering it. However, my SO is heavily in favor of me going the week before now, because he wants to take advantage of my Platinum perks. Can't say I blame him for that!

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I did a BTB on the Escape about 2 years ago in Miami. We received a letter in our room with all the instructions. We changed from an inside the first week to balcony the second week so we had to pack up our stuff and set outside the door the night before. Our first week steward knew we were changing cabins and I believe he is the one who moved our bags. In the morning we hung out at O'Sheehans with a few others until we were escorted off the ship, through customs, and waited in the terminal for a few minutes before heading right back onto the ship well before anyone else.

Edited by cmurchake

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8 hours ago, cmurchake said:

I did a BTB on the Escape about 2 years ago in Miami. We received a letter in our room with all the instructions. We changed from an inside the first week to balcony the second week so we had to pack up our stuff and set outside the door the night before. Our first week steward knew we were changing cabins and I believe he is the one who moved our bags. In the morning we hung out at O'Sheehans with a few others until we were escorted off the ship, through customs, and waited in the terminal for a few minutes before heading right back onto the ship well before anyone else.

We have always been told to keep our luggage inside our cabin on the last night of the first cruise.  It would be too easy for it to get put with the bags to be offloaded.  Even when they gave us luggage tags that noted old cabin number and new cabin number, they told us to keep the bags inside.  Glad it worked out okay for you, but I wouldn't put my bag outside my cabin if I was staying on the ship.  Also, no need to pack the items hanging in the closet.  The cabin steward will move them and hang them in the new closet.

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Well, it looked like the decision had been made for me, as for the past two days studios had been showing as sold out on the sailing before my family cruise. Once it was showing as sold out, I was feeling pretty down about not having booked when I had the chance. Just now, though, one Studio on Deck 10 became available. It's pretty much the least desirable location, but I went ahead and put a 24 hour hold on it. Now I need to decide in the next 24 hours whether I want to call my PCC to book it for real....

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I'm a professional bad influence so I say go for it...  My first b2b was last month and enjoyed it enough that I've got another booked for this year.  It's a completely different experience, even more so for you since you'll be going from solo to with family.  Good time to try it while it's fairly inexpensive like now too 🙂

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1 hour ago, JamieLogical said:

Well, it looked like the decision had been made for me, as for the past two days studios had been showing as sold out on the sailing before my family cruise. Once it was showing as sold out, I was feeling pretty down about not having booked when I had the chance. Just now, though, one Studio on Deck 10 became available. It's pretty much the least desirable location, but I went ahead and put a 24 hour hold on it. Now I need to decide in the next 24 hours whether I want to call my PCC to book it for real....

 

Dooooooooo iiiiiiiiit 😄

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1 hour ago, JamieLogical said:

Well, it looked like the decision had been made for me, as for the past two days studios had been showing as sold out on the sailing before my family cruise. Once it was showing as sold out, I was feeling pretty down about not having booked when I had the chance. Just now, though, one Studio on Deck 10 became available. It's pretty much the least desirable location, but I went ahead and put a 24 hour hold on it. Now I need to decide in the next 24 hours whether I want to call my PCC to book it for real....

Unless the location you mention above will prevent you from sleeping, I would say go for it.  I would love to have the opportunity some day to do a B2B.  I think if I stayed in a studio, the only thing I would do there is shower and sleep, so the location would not really matter to me.

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The other factor to consider is the wonderful feeling you have when everybody is getting off the ship at the end of cruise #1 and you get to turn right around and take another cruise. (I'm smiling right now thinking of the two times that we did it.)

 

 

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