Cruise lines have to move ship from a region, at the end of its season, to another region for the beginning of its season. This one-way cruises are called a repositioning cruises and operates routes that are not offered on regular cruise. Instead of sailing without passengers, cruise lines offer savvy travellers the chance to catch a glimpse of a lot on a one-way cruise. These types of cruises typically offer more days at sea and often combine entertainment and theme activities to provide a more comprehensive experience than a typical cruise. Since most voyages take place over the world’s oceans and waterways, a cruise with repositioning can be longer than average.
Repositioning cruises are a great way to cruise for less – at a much better rate. They usually run at the end of a season for an area. The ships get repositioned to their new area that is becoming in-season. Repositioning cruises could also be the perfect way to try cruising for the first time. Shorter cruises also often offer excellent value.
Some Pros and Cons of Repositioning cruises:
- You can score a fantastic price for a cruise. For example, it’s not unusual to see cruises for $45.00-$50.00 USD per person per day.
- Itineraries and ports can be rather unusual.
- Ships often have lots of availability
- You can use these itineraries instead of flying. For example, instead of flying to Europe, you can take a repositioning one way and return by plane.
- The weather might be less than perfect. Specifically, these cruises sail at the end of their season. Then, they start a new season at their destination.
- Some itineraries might cross the Atlantic, or the Pacific and the ocean could be a little rough.
- Itineraries might include lots of sea days.
- The crew might be fatigued. Understandably, crew members who are at the end of their contract can be a little tired.
- The ship might be heading to dry dock, and it needs attention.
Here Are The Most Popular Itineraries
Repositioning From The Caribbean to Europe
Cruises repositioning from the Caribbean to Europe are a perfect way to experience the transatlantic crossing. For example, they usually happen at the end of the Caribbean season. Typically, at the end of April, the ships are repositioned to Europe.
Usually, these cruises sail from Florida and include some exotic stops in the Azores and Madeira. Then, the final destination is either in the Mediterranean (usually Barcelona) or in Northern Europe (Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam). The usual length of these cruises is 15 nights or more. Also, these itineraries often include 4-5 sea-days for the Atlantic crossing.
Europe to the Caribbean
Repositioning from Europe to the Caribbean can offer beautiful itineraries around Mid October. The only thing you want to know about this route is Hurricane Season. To be sure, the end of October is the tail end of hurricane season and, for this reason, the last few days of the cruise can be a little unpredictable.
Repositioning Cruises To and From Alaska
These repositioning cruises are perfect for passengers living in the west coast. It is possible to do a 3-4 night repositioning cruise from LA to Seattle or Vancouver (or vice-versa) for a very low price.
The northbound is usually in mid-April while the southbound is generally in mid-September. From experience, the southbound is more enjoyable because the ocean is smoother and the weather going south is more beautiful. Ports of call include Astoria Oregon, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and of course LA.
Excitingly, it’s possible to combine two or more legs of the repositioning journey to make it even more fun. For example, you could consider a 28 night Anchorage to Fort Lauderdale itinerary through the Panama Canal. Generally speaking, this itinerary will begin in early September. Also, the weather is usually still quite cooperative at this time.
Japan to South East Asia
These cruises run in mid-November for the southbound and in late April for the northbound. They are an excellent way to experience many ports of call in Asia. They usually run from Japan to Hong Kong and then continue to Singapore. The weather in South East Asia in mid-November is still a bit rainy but still quite enjoyable.
Repositioning Cruises to And From Australia
These cruises run from Sydney or Melbourne and end up in Singapore (or vice-versa). The itineraries usually include a few stops in Australia and a few stops in Asia. They usually tend to have a lot of sea days between Australia and Indonesia. For this reason, unless you enjoy sea days, they are not ideal for everybody. They can be affordable, though. The average length of these itineraries is around 19 to 21 nights.
Asia to the Mediterranean and Vice-Versa
These cruises tend to be longer journeys, 50 nights, and more. For example, they usually run from Singapore through the Suez Canal and end up in the Mediterranean, or even Southampton. Furthermore, they typically run in mid-march for the westbound journey or mid-October for the Eastbound.
It is a fantastic way to see some areas that are usually visited by most cruise lines like Jordan, India, and UAE. The Suez Canal is another destination not very popular among cruise lines, so it can be an excellent opportunity to visit this area. These cruises tend to have a lot of sea days, especially between India and Malaysia, and they are not for everyone. Some cruise lines allow passengers to do segments of the journey, i.e., Singapore to Dubai or Dubai to Athens, etc.
Repositioning Cruises From LA to the South Pacific and Viceversa
These are lovely cruises that usually include few stops in Hawaii, Fiji, Bora Bora and end up either in New Zealand or Sydney (or vice-versa from Sydney to LA). They are usually longer journey 28 days and up with many sea days between LA and Hawaii and between Hawaii and Fiji. They are an excellent opportunity to relax and enjoy hot weather and be disconnected for an extended period. If you do not enjoy sea days, these journeys are not for you. They usually run in the fall for the southbound route and mid-spring for the northbound.
How can you pick an excellent repositioning cruise? First, you can speak with a travel agent, like me, specialized in cruises. Second, if you see an itinerary that you like, do some research. Check if the ship is going to drydock at the end of the repositing. Research the weather in the area you are going to cruise too. Make sure that you won’t have too many sea days are on the itinerary. If you take these simple steps, you will have a fantastic time!
I hope you will consider one of these options for your next cruise and enjoy the many unusual itineraries that the repositioning cruises offer!
Andrea was born and raised in Northern Italy. At the age of 30, he moved to Vancouver Canada. Over the years he traveled extensively in North America, Europe, Central America, and Asia. He is passionate about traveling, cruising, and travel photography. He likes to write about his traveling and shows his travel photos.