Transatlantic Cruises Are Repositioning Cruises
A transatlantic cruise is a cruise that, rather unsurprisingly, crosses the Atlantic. Cruise ships usually come from the USA to Europe in spring and then return to the USA in Autumn/fall. The cruise lines usually find it more profitable to be in warmer climates during the colder months.
Many transatlantic cruises will extend their itineraries at either end to provide guests with a chance to either see the Caribbean or parts of Europe.
A typical transatlantic itinerary may look something like the itinerary below:
Southampton, Madeira, Antigua, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Vincent, Barbados.
Alternatively, the itinerary may spend longer in Europe like the following itinerary:
Southampton, Zeebrugge, Portland, Le Verdun, Bilbao, Lisbon, Ponta Delgada, Fort Lauderdale.
Transatlantic cruises typically take 14-16 days but they can be completed in as little as 7 days if they head straight across the Atlantic. A typical transatlantic cruise will have between 6-7 sea days.
Cunard offers transatlantic cruises year-round in a traditional setting. The ships cross the Atlantic and then come back.
Advantages Of A Repositioning Cruise
- Lower cost. And not just a little lower, the average daily cost of a typical repositioning cruise is less than half of a turnaround cruise.
- Generally, repositioning cruises are less crowded. As they often sail below capacity, there are fewer passengers. However, the staff size is the same, resulting in a higher staff to passenger ratio, and the illusion of better service.
- Only have to unpack once. This is an advantage of all cruising.
- Exotic ports of call. Tahiti, Moorea, Kauai, Aruba, Cartegena, American Samoa, and Puntarenas Costa Rica are amongst the more exotic ports we have visited on repositioning cruises.
- Longer-term onboard activities and lessons. On the Golden Princess, we took daily lessons and learned to play the ukulele. On other repositioning cruises, we have taken lessons in watercolour painting, ballroom and tango dancing, portrait photography, and more.
- Better enrichment and lecture series. Topics we have enjoyed include blogging, stargazing, and nature including local birdlife.
- More laid-back atmosphere. While we love port days, back-to-back, day after day, they becoming tiring.
Go Without A Good Book
Repositioning cruises are ideal for relaxing with a good book so remember to pack a novel or download a selection on your iPad or Kindle before you go. While it’s true that most cruise ships have an onboard library, the selections can be sparse. It’s far better to bring your own.
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What Kind Of Ship Is Best For A Repositioning Cruise
The best ship is the one whose onboard vibe, activities and entertainment jive with your personality. The last thing you want is to be bored when you’re out at sea, days away from your next port of call. Active types would fare well with lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, while those interested in a more laidback atmosphere should consider Celebrity, Princess, Holland America or — if you’ve got room to splurge — a luxury line like Silversea or Crystal Cruises. Some lines also spice up their repo itineraries with themes, such as food and wine or bridge, which makes for a fun opportunity to learn something new or simply spend your sea days relishing a hobby you love.
Its Not A Young Crowd On Repositioning Cruises
Retirees have long known about this travel secret of repositioning cruises. Many savvy seniors rightfully take full advantage of it. If youre below the age of 60, youll likely be among the youngest 5% of passengers on a repositioning cruise. This may be a turnoff to some younger folks, so we find it worth mentioning. If youre looking to hang out with a bunch of like-minded millennials, then you may want to rethink taking a repositioning cruise.
How to overcome: Enjoy everyone! For us , we love meeting interesting people regardless of whether their one of the few passengers on repositioning cruises that are around our age to the 80-year-olds on the cruises and everyone in between.
Besides, 60s are the new 40s! This isnt your geriatric retirement center. The folks who go on repositioning cruises tend to be adventurous souls who like to have a good time. Many of them have done a heck of a lot more traveling than we have and have some incredible stories to share. Theyre often savvy travelers too and understand great travel value, so we always share that in common with our fellow repositioning cruisers.
These adventurous cross-ocean cruise itineraries tend to attract fun loving group and many can party harder than we can. Just think about your crazy drunk uncle or your fun aunt. There are lots of them onboard, and they are awesome!
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Repositioning Cruises Have Quieter Ships/themed Cruises
Repositioning Cruises Are Quiet
When cruising on a repositioning cruise, cruise ships will often cruise at less than full capacity. Repositioning cruises are usually outside of the school holidays so families tend to avoid them. This means that a ship that could hold 4000 guests at full capacity may only have 3000 onboard.
I took a repositioning cruise from Singapore to Tokyo and there were only a few children on board. This meant that most cabins that could berth 3 or 4 only had 2 occupants. We never struggled to find a seat on board and personally, I prefer my cruises to be a little more on the quiet side.
Cruise ships will still have full entertainment schedules on repositioning cruises. The same shows will be shown in the theatre and although the schedule may be slightly different from on a regular cruise it will have the same elements. Repositioning cruises are often longer than regular cruises so you might actually have some extra entertainment onboard.
Repositioning Cruises Are Often Themed Cruises
In contrast to the idea of quieter itineraries, some repositioning cruises will actually be busier. In order to attract cruisers to the route, the cruise line may put on a themed cruise. Cruise themes range from tv shows, food, or celebrities all the way up to entire decades.
You can follow my adventures on the 90s themed cruise below:
Check Flight Prices Too Late
While cruising at the last minute can be incredibly cheap, the same does not usually apply to flying at the last minute. Before you book that bargain, check how much the flights are going to cost or if there is any availability. That great deal might not be so great after all if you have to pay a fortune to fly to your departure port or back home from the disembarkation port.
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How Much Does A Repositioning Cruise Cost
While these repositioning cruises are very luxurious, they often cost less than a ticket for a coach seat on a cramped redeye flight between the same two points.
Ok, so how much does a repositioning cruise cost? It always depends. Different ships and different itineraries will have different prices. Those prices fluctuate too, based on the demand of each repositioning cruise.
The lowest price weve ever seen for a long-distance repositioning cruise was $159 per person for an inside cabin on the Pullmantur Monarch. That came out to only $12.23 per person, per day to live in luxury as we crossed the Atlantic for two weeks! Yes, that low! Its almost hard to believe.
The best part is that particular repositioning cruise is that it even included alcoholic drinks, which is extremely rare on cruises. So we took that super cheap repositioning cruise just to see what it was like. We couldnt afford NOT to go! So how was it? You can read our full review of our $159 Pullmantur Monarch cruise here.
Meanwhile, the cheapest repositioning cruise weve seen on a 5-star ship on one of the major cruise lines is on the Norwegian Epic, cruising from Miami to Barcelona. Weve regularly seen this transatlantic passage for less than $300!
Those are fairly extreme scenarios. But we simply want to show that the deals are out there.
When Leaving For A Repositioning Cruise You Need To Have All Of The Necessary Documents To Enter And Reside In The Destination Country Until Your Comeback Flight
It might seem obvious, but you need to remember that some countries will require a visa or a travel permit from you to disembark the cruise in them. Make sure to research what do you need to obtain & bring to avoid legal problems upon disembarkation. If by chance you dont have the required documents you are legally obliged to have, you will be the one covering all of the costs related to that negligence, and not the cruise line.
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Theres Nothing To Do On Repositioning Cruises
Many people falsely believe that since the cruise is being repositioned, there is a lack of entertainment and things to do onboard. Its actually the opposite.
Cruise lines book extra entertainment, added lecturers, and pencil in more scheduled activities to fill those additional days sea days. Nightly entertainment will range from award-winning Broadway performers to hilarious comedians that have been featured on the popular late night shows to rocks shows straight from Vegas.
Fascinating lecturers fill some time slots during the day. These arent just dull lectures on obscure topics. The lectures on repositioning cruises tend to be both relevant and fascinating.
For example, on a transpacific repositioning cruise, we took with Holland America to Japan, there were daily lectures on Japanese culture, which was so helpful for us to understand. We learned about proper etiquette at a tea ceremony, we were taught the basics of origami, and even took some Japanese language lessons. By the time we arrived in Japan, we were thoroughly briefed on the culture.
Typical cruise activities such as bingo, trivia, and other competitions also fill the day. Repositioning cruises usually offer a progressive trivia competition that takes place each sea day. Since its the same teams and groups that come every day, this usually gets to be really fun and highly competitive.
Rest assured, you will not go bored. Unless, of course, you want to, and thats okay too!
How To Score A Bargain On A Repositioning Cruise And More
Are you intrigued about repositioning cruises? Dont stop reading now! Weve still got lots more to spill. Be sure to check out these articles below for further reading all about repo cruises:
Also, be sure to check out all of our favorite cruise tips in our latest article about cruising: Top 50 Cruise Hacks to Save You Money, Hassle, and Weight Gain.
And see how we used a series of repositioning cruises to string together an entire Cheap World Cruise on A Budget.
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What Are The Best Repositioning Cruises
When it happens that you have to choose what is the best, theres this rule number one stating expect the best from the best. When you book on major cruise line ships, expect cheap rates, best value for money indices, lots of vessels in the fleet to choose from, great destinations, and service. The biggest companies and operators with regularly offered reposition voyages are Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, NCL-Norwegian, Costa, MSC, RCI-Royal Caribbean. Carnival and Disney also do ship transitions moving ships between Alaska and Australia .
All these company decisions are made with economic considerations in mind. Companies do cruise ship repositioning to improve profits by departing from different homeports or to more attractive destinations.
Some of the companies relocate vessels each year crossing the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and the USA or South America .
Some ships reposition between Alaska and Australia or between Alaska and Florida . Some lines offer to transit through Suez Canal on repositioning between Europe and Asia .
So what you gotta do is choose a destination and departure port. If you are a big fan of a particular company just search its page here it is that simple. If you ask the best of the best not as best prices, but rather as experiences, the simple answer to this question is luxury cruises. Generally, luxury cruise deals offer smaller ship cruise travel marked by sophisticated, all-inclusive, superb service experiences.
Booking A Repositioning Cruise Deal
The above listed deals are the cheapest repositioning cruises out there, at the time of last update . Weve meticulously combed through all repositioning cruises for each route to identify the best deals.
If you want to see what additional repositioning cruises are out there currently listed at higher prices, you may want to do some additional sleuthing on your own.
You can search and sort through all of the repositioning cruises listed on CruiseDirect. Youll likely stumble across some great deals that include some additional routes, such as shorter repositioning cruises between European countries. But just realize that their list can also be incomplete, as some repositioning cruises arent labeled as such within their search system. Its also not organized, which is why weve taken the time to show the best deals for each repositioning cruise route, above.
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Cheap Means Compromising On Luxury
Because repositioning cruises are generally quite cheap, many people think that the luxury must be compromised, or that the cruise isnt as good as it would be if you paid full price. These opinions couldnt be more wrong.
Cheap repositioning cruises do NOT compromise on luxury because of the low prices. These are normal cruises, simply offered cheaper in order to avoid cruising with a half empty ship.
Unusual Or Offbeat Ports Of Call
A repositioning cruise across the Atlantic will more than likely stop at one or more of the exotic islands off the coast of West Africa.
Possibilities include the Island of Madeira, a floral wonder with unusual hiking trails and watercourses the Azores known for whale-watching and pineapple plantations or one of Spains seven Balearic Islands where the weather seems stuck in an eternal spring, and dormant volcanoes add to the natural beauty. Other common ports include Malaga and Cadiz on Spains southern coast and Moroccan cities like Tangier and Casablanca.
Many times the ports of call during your repositioning cruise are a little more off-the-beaten-track than standard ports, meaning you can often visit regions a little more exotic and varied when compared to previous voyages.
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Leave Your Cabin Choice To Chance
You are going to be onboard the ship for a long time, so choose your cabin wisely. While budget is obviously one of the most important considerations, it is still possible to make a smart choice, no matter how much you have to spend. Study the deck plan and check to see if there are any areas or cabins to avoid on the ship. For example, a room directly under the pool deck might not be the best choice on a repositioning cruise as this area tends to be highly utilized and sounds might carry. Guarantee cabins, which do not give you the option to choose your stateroom, should also be approached with caution. You could be lucky — or not.
Note: If you’re booking at the very last minute, you might not have much choice of cabins, so you’ll need to balance your desire for the perfect room location with your quest to find the lowest price. Find an upcoming repositioning cruise so you can start planning now.
Where Do Repositioning Cruises Go
The most common repositioning cruise routes are transatlantic from Caribbean/Florida ports to European ports and vice versa. The winter and spring months are a very popular time to cruise the Caribbean and weather tends to be ideal too. But come summer, Mediterranean and European cruises are the popular itineraries.
As a result, the cruise lines must reposition their fleets from Florida to Europe in the late Spring. There are many ships that base themselves in ports like Fort Lauderdale or Miami in the winter that are transferred to ports like Barcelona and Rome to run summer itineraries. In the Fall months, its the reverse repositioning cruise routes and this cycle starts all over again.
These transatlantic repositioning cruises are the most common routes. But there are actually many more repositioning cruise routes that happen during these seasonal changes. Heres a look at some of the more common Spring repositioning cruise routes.
Heres a look at some of the more common Fall repositioning cruise routes.
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What Makes A Repositioning Cruise So Attractive
Fewer passengers on repositioning cruises give you more freedom to enjoy all activities on board. – Photo by Royal Caribbean
- The Pricing
The cost of a repositioning cruise tends to be much lower than traditional fares. The lack of port stops and the longer length means these cruises arent as popular as a traditional seven-night sailing.
In addition to the lower price, you can usually receive additional perks like upgrades and bonus offers. The repositioning sailings are among the first sailings to be included in promotions and special offers to entice consumers to book. Cruise lines will offer a variety of incentives such as free upgrades, onboard credit, drinks package, free wi-fi, complimentary specialty dining to name the most popular options.
Tip: Remember that these are one-way cruises, which could mean an expensive flight that may off-set any discounts or promotions you receive. Be sure to check airfares before you book.
- Less crowded
Ships and ports tend to be less crowded during these shoulder seasons. Its not likely that the ship will be sailing at max capacity, so if youve been wanting to try out a certain ship but dont want to deal with crowds, a repositioning cruise is a perfect time. Youll have easy access to onboard activities, restaurants, entertainment, and spas, along with plenty of sea days to enjoy them.
- Time to relax
- More adults, Fewer kids
- Try a Luxury Line
- Actually enjoy the port