Repositioning cruises offer discounted prices and exotic ports of call to travelers who vacation on a cruise ship as it relocates to a new region or port. This generally happens in the fall and spring as ships head to seasonally appropriate climates. Rather than sail a ship without passengers, cruise lines will discount fares to entice off season travelers to join them on the cruise. ABC News called them “one of the biggest bargains in the travel industry.” This makes it a fabulous way to vacation during Funtober.
Where will you find repositioning cruises in October? Translantic voyages from the Mediterranean/Europe to the Caribbean/Florida in the fall are common repositioning cruises. Ships that spend the summer/fall in Alaska or New England will also be repositioned during the Fall.
There are quite a few benefits to booking a repositioning cruise. We’ve already mentioned the discounted prices. It is often hard to beat the per day price of a repositioning cruise. You will often see them for $50 per person per day. That’s about half of the per diem price of a regular cruise.
They are often pretty relaxing as their are usually more sea days and fewer port calls than a normal cruise. If you have been on a cruise before and enjoyed the sea days, a repositioning cruise is for you. Some feature themes and guest speakers to keep voyagers entertained while at sea.
A repositioning cruise also allows you to enjoy two different ports at the beginning and end of your cruise. If you have the time, plan to enjoy these cities before and after the cruise. Or extend your cruise by doing what is called a back-to-back and save. A back-to-back is when you enjoy a cruise on the same ship at the departure or arrival city for an additional experience. Two cruises back-to-back. Because it has repositioned, you will see entirely different sights from the first cruise to the second.
Repositioning cruises are not without their drawbacks. While the cruise costs less per diem up front, one way flights to/from the departure and destination cities could eliminate this savings. And people tend to spend more money aboard the ship because of the many sea days during repositioning cruises, so be sure to understand this if you are looking for a cheap vacation.
They also tend to be longer than the standard cruise. If you are looking for a short week long vacation, a repositioning cruise is probably not for you. Some cruise ships have realized this problem however and allow you to book a portion of the repositioning cruise instead of the whole journey. Despite the increase in length, there won’t necessarily be an increase in ports. It takes a week on the open ocean to cross the Atlantic. So if you have been on a cruise before and enjoy port hopping more than sea days, it’s not for you.
Finally, the weather for these cruises can be spotty. Since it is off-season, it may be too chilly to use the outdoor pool.
That’s the skinny on repositioning cruises. For a detailed account of one traveler’s transatlantic repositioning cruise, visit this Miami Herald news article. And for additional stories, check out this thread at the Cruise Addicts discussion forum.
REPOSITIONING CRUISES – OCTOBER 2012
Carnival Cruises Carnival Spirit – 17 Day Tahiti and Fiji Islands from Honolulu, HI – 17 Days Sails: September 30
Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Epic Cruise Ship – 13-Day Transatlantic, Barcelona to Miami 2012 Sails: October 21
Norwegian Dawn – Quebec City to Tampa 16 Night East Coast Cruise – Departs October 26th.
Norwegian Jewel – Los Angeles to Miami 15 night Panama Canal cruise Departs September 27.
Although it is more expensive, Holland America offers a 75 day Grand Asia and Australia cruise on the ms Amsterdam that departs Seattle on Sep. 21, 2012 and returns to San Diego. Shorter durations on this cruise are possible.