Saturday, November 10, 2007

Advantages of Booking Back-to-Back Cruises

For many people, a cruise by itself is a luxury to be enjoyed, but what if you could take back-to-back cruises and stay on vacation twice as long?

A back-to-back cruise is when you schedule two consecutive voyages on the same ship.

It may not be as pricey as you think, as many cruise lines offer discounts for your second cruise in a back-to-back scenario. Why? They love to get their cabins booked, and they also love to keep you coming back with discounts for frequent cruisers.

Scheduling a back-to-back cruise doesn't necessarily mean seeing all the same ports over again either. There are a lot of cruise lines that offer alternating itineraries. For example, in your first week, your ship might cruise the eastern Caribbean and in the second head over to the western islands.

Though alternating itineraries for back-to-back cruisers are probably most common the Caribbean, you can also find them in Alaska, on the Mexican Riviera, along the east coast and Canada, and even in Hawaii.

Ok, so we've got two perks so far: discounts for back-to-back cruises and the chance to see twice as many ports. Here's one more advantage to taking two cruises in a row:

You only have to fly down once!

If you booked two cruises a couple months apart, you'd have to pay the expense of flying or driving to the departure port twice. With back-to-back cruises, you get two vacations (or one extended vacation--however you want to look at it) for the price of one round-trip plane ticket.

Tips for booking back-to-back cruises

To keep things stress-free, it's a good idea to book your sailings a good six months in advance. This is a good way to ensure you can get the same cabin for both trips (who wants to pack and unpack again in the middle?). Of course, if you don't mind moving, you may be able to finagle a free cabin upgrade in as a perk of booking that second trip.

Also, consider talking to a travel agent, since they may be aware of specials that aren't advertised on websites.

For more information on this topic, check out this great article on the subject that was printed a couple years ago in Cruise Travel.

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