Did you know that you can “link” cruises together? In other words, you can combine itineraries to turn, for example, a 7-day cruise into a 14-day or 21-day (or longer) cruise. My husband and I frequently link on Princess Cruises. In recent years, we have linked Eastern and Southern, Eastern and Western and, most recently, Eastern, Southern and Western Caribbean cruises during the month of January. A few years ago, we linked a British Isles cruise with a Trans-Atlantic cruise on the Royal Princess in October. The first time we did this, we learned how common it is – especially among seasoned cruisers.
Here’s an example of how to link cruises together:
Begin with a Trans-Atlantic cruise itinerary in the spring or fall. To link another cruise to this itinerary, find another cruise that ends on the first day the Trans-Atlantic cruise departs. The key is to make sure both cruises are on the same ship. Linking cruises is quite popular, and it works best if the cabin you select on cruise #1 is also open on the cruise you’re linking to. I recommend booking six months or more in advance – and watch for cruise sales! The best sale on Princess is the Anniversary Sale (early December through the end of February).
So how do you transfer from one cruise itinerary to the next?
On the night before the last day of the first completed cruise, you will receive a customs form and a transit card, as well as instructions explaining the transition to the next voyage and indicating where and what time to meet. You’ll probably be asked to bring your passport, transit card, current cruise card and your completed customs form.
On the day of “transit”, you will meet at the time and place indicated in your instructions, and a cruise attendant will swipe your cruise card. Once all of the transit guests are accounted for, everyone will depart the assigned area by row. A U.S. Immigration Officer will look at your passport and cruise card, and swipe your cruise card again.
It’s that easy! You don’t even have to leave the ship! Depending on how many people are “linking” cruises, this process takes approximately one hour. Of course, transit times and procedures will vary a bit, depending on the destination.
More tips for linking cruises:
- Your credit card number rolls over to the next cruise.
- Your account on the first cruise will close at the end of the first cruise. You will begin a new account on your second cruise.
- Make sure your travel agent “links” the two cruises.
- You may have the option to keep the same dining table on the second cruise. (Sometimes the wait staff changes.)
- You can keep the same cabin, providing it’s available at the time of booking both cruises (which is why it’s important to book six months or more in advance).
- Onboard credits, internet minutes and the onboard account MAY roll over. (Mine have always rolled over on Princess.)
- If you have reached Elite status (Captain’s Circle), you will get a new minibar set-up on the second cruise.
Rent a condo for the winter? Or, cruise for one or two months?
On our January 2017 cruise, approximately 400 people linked two or more cruises. We also heard of a couple from Boston who stayed on the ship from January until March. They preferred cruising over renting a condo in Florida or Arizona for the winter!
A few advantages of cruising over renting a condo:
- The scenery changes every day.
- You don’t need a car.
- All meals, entertainment, cabin cleaning, and transportation are taken care of. And there’s all kinds of activities onboard and onshore that are already planned for you.
- Plus, if you’re at the highest frequent traveler level, your laundry is done for free. Otherwise, there are laundry facilities located on each passenger deck.
- While in port, you have the option to explore on your own, have lunch, play a round of golf, shop, join a ship excursion, go sailing, or just stay on board the ship! The options are endless!
- And the best part … you meet wonderful people from all over the world.
Are you ready to book your next back-to-back cruise? Give us a call at 800 GO WITTE (800-469-4883) or fill out our Contact Form to connect with a Certified Cruise Specialist!
Photo courtesy of kansasphoto.