The first question you might have could be what are back to back cruises. The rather simple answer is booking two cruises to travel one after the other. There are areas that this is more common, but technically any two cruises could be booked back to back.
I Booked Two Back to Back Cruises?
Over the time I have been cruising I have booked two back to back cruises. There are a couple of reasons why I decided to book back to back options. The first cruise I booked was, in fact, two 14 day cruises back to back. With my third cruise also being a 17-day transatlantic cruise and a 12-day Mediterranean cruise.
There turned out to be a couple of reasons why I booked back to back cruises. In the end, it turned out that the reasons for both cruises but just for different purposes in a way.
When looking at the options for my first cruise I wanted to find something that seemed to be good value. The cruise I almost settled on was a 14-day Panama Canal cruise from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale for around $3,800 (AUD) at the time. Being new to cruising I was not sure what was a good price.
I am rather glad that I spent a little more time looking, as the cruise I ended up booking was much better value. I found the same cruise, with another 14-days to return to San Diego for a total of 28-days. The grand total for the two cruises combined was around $4,200 (AUD) at the time if booked together as one cruise.
The third cruise I booked was a rather similar deal on price. Although I cannot remember all the specifics on prices by booking the two different cruises together it made it more cost-effective. While I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean the price of these cruises is rather high. By booking a Transatlantic back to back with a Mediterranean cruise it allowed me to get a better per night average price.
If only all deals were as good as the one I got on my first cruise. While not all back to back cruises have these sort of deals often you can find better deals on these cruises. It all depends on the cruise line. Some will offer the individual cruises alongside combinations for easy booking. But others lines may have you jump through a few hopes. But either way, if you enjoy cruising and want to do more investigating back to back cruises might be an option.
The second reason I have booked back to back cruises is to get more time onboard. While I did not know I would enjoy cruising so much when I booked my first cruise I was looking to fill my time. I had booked eight weeks in America and was struggling to put an itinerary together.
It turns out to be a little easier to fill your itinerary when you take out a four-week block on a cruise. Having so much time onboard, also makes it a much easier deal than trying to get around between different cities and destinations.
Some Benefits of Back to Back Cruises
If you love the idea of being onboard a cruise ship than back to back cruises are likely something you may like. Especially because the number one benefit is that you get to spend more time onboard. As you can see above this was one of the reasons why I booked two back to back cruises.
There are other benefits to being onboard for extended periods as well. Some of these will depend on just where you pick to cruise. The other obvious benefit is that the more time you are booked on a cruise the more ports you will see. Both the back to back cruises that I have booked had almost no duplicate ports. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, so something worth considering.
I also find it a great point that the longer I spend on a cruise ship the less I have to pack and repack my luggage. It would have been pretty tiresome doing the pack and travel deal for both my first and third cruise. Getting between places in Central America would not have been fun.
While I got to try it both ways in Europe. With the cruise, I travelled 13 cities in about 20 days, no packing I just arrived in the port the next day. Following the cruise, I visited four cities in 12 days. Each time having to pack my bag get to and from the airport and such. The cruise option wins for me every time.
The Downsides of Back to Back Cruises
There are some downsides to back to back cruises though. But it depends why you are booking if they will even raise an eyebrow for you.
The first that comes up is the rotation of the onboard entertainment. They often have a small rotation of shows that get repeated over the duration of a cruise. So for example, if you booked two 14-day cruises back to back you would see the same shows throughout the two cruises. However, you will also likely find some other entertainers mixed in between these shows as well.
Like the entertainment, the menu and/or theme nights may be repeated. Often there will be a schedule for this sort of thing. In part to help avoid serving the same or similar things to passengers twice in the same cruise. To be honest, it is not a big problem for me, I cannot remember the food I ate a week ago let alone two weeks. And if the dessert buffet night is being revisited I am one happy cruiser.
The last comment I will make on downsides is that back to back cruises may not be for the first time cruisers. While you may look above and see that I booked a first cruise that was a back to back cruise, there are some risks in doing this. The main one will be that you are either stuck on the ship for the cruise or you are out of pocket. I would deeply consider whether this is the right choice for you before booking a back to back cruise as your first cruise.
Enjoy The Cruise
I think I often end on a similar note whenever I look at two sides to a topic. The idea is that you need to enjoy the cruise if you book it. Whether you book one cruise or half a dozen back to back cruises go and enjoy it. If the food or entertainment is the same what does it matter. Just remember it is so much easier than getting to and from airports and repacking your suitcase all the time.