We have the opportunity to spend 14 days cruising aboard Princess in the Caribbean / Panama Canal this spring. I read that Princess offers discounts on a second 7 day cruise when booked back to back with the first.
Has anybody done this? While the ports of call would change, if you're aboard the same ship are shipboard activities, entertainment, movies and dinner menus the same every week? Are these items the same on different ships during the same time period? The other option is the 10 day Panama Canal cruise.
We did back to back Princess Cruises in Alaska and shows and menus were the same. We did get a good price break for the back to back. I do not know about how they work it in the Caribbean. I assume the same.
We are doing an Ocean Princess repositioning cruise, San Juan - Vancouver, 22 days, 04/29/0. This is actually 3 cruises back-to-back-to-back: a 12-day Panama Canal (SJ-Acapulco), 7-day Mexican Riviera (Acapulco-LA), and 3-day Coastal (LA-Vanouver).
As I understand it the menus and the entertainment will be repeated. However, I am not worried. On our Alaska cruise (Sun P. 05/15/00) there were a few shows we missed, and there were many things on the menus I could not try in 7 days - there are four different entres every night, plus the four 'always availables'; also, many of these were so good that I would probably order them on the next cycle. You always have alternative dining as well. Assuming you only order one entre every night, it would take months of back-to-backs before you were forced to eat something twice if you exausted all the possibilities in the dining room and the alternatives.
We inquired about doing a back-to-back cruise on the Dawn (14 days, different iineraries) sailing December 2, 2000 from San Juan. The only discount they were willing to offer was a waiver of the port charges for the second half; a savings of roughly $80/person.
Not exactly the discount we had expected, especially since we are Captain's Circle members and three-time (would've been four) Princess cruisers.
Needless to say, we passed on the "deal".
For other reasons, we're on Celebrity Galaxy out of San Juan on 12/2/2000 with four days pre-cruise and one day post-cruise in San Juan.
We had tentatively booked a back to back on the Century, Western Carib.
7 days then Eastern Carib. the following week for 7 days (Nov/Dec). We had a great deal on the cabin due to early booking and were not given any indication from either Celebrity or our TA of any additional discount for the back to back. We also wanted a longer cruise and to experience Celebrity Cruises.
Another reason for booking the same ship back to back was the "luxury" of having the same cabin each week and not having to pack up and leave with the rest of the passengers.
As time passed (we booked almost a year in advance) we got to thinking that maybe it would be nice to experience another ship for one of the weeks. I had asked for some advice in the message boards,and it was only then that I clued in to the fact that menus and entertainment was the same each week. We still wanted to experience the Century but agreed that we didn't want to see the same menu and entertainment 2 weeks in a row.
Since the Ryndam was sailing from the same port and doing the same itinerary as one of our weeks on the Century and since the price was the close to what we were already paying, we decided to "jump ship" and booked her for the Western Carib. We're happy with our decision as we haven't cruised with HAL since 1993 on the Westerdam and 1994 on the Noordam.
We don't think it'll be a big deal packing up and both ships leave from the same port so there's no inconvience there. Now we're really interested in the differences we'll find between these two cruise lines; food, service, ammentities, entertainment etc. I must state that we depart on every cruise with a positive attitude and the intention to make it a great vacation. We do not intend to "pick apart" each cruise ship looking for problems and such, we're happy with our decision and actually a little more excited now.
Whew! what a lengthy discourse! Hope I didn't bore you with all the extra details and hope our experience helps you make the right decision for yourselves.
Only 42 more days!