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Repositioning Cruises - the Best Value in Cruising That (Almost) Nobody Knows About

Few people have heard of the so called "repositioning cruises", but industry insiders know that those unique sailings pack a lot of value.

Offered by many cruise lines twice a year, these are used to move a ship from one part of the world to another. For the cruise lines, these are a "necessary evil" but they can be a way for you to cruise for 14-18 days for as little as $1000.

What is a Repositioning Cruise?

Based on the season, many cruise ships sail different regions of the world in order to take advantage of the best weather conditions. For example, many ships sail the Caribbean in the Winter/Spring but then move to Europe or Alaska for the Summer.  At the end of the season, the cruise line needs to move the ship to a new homeport ad, instead of sending an empty ship, they offer people and option to sail on the ship as it moves from one region to another. Yes, this may entail a lot of time as sea until you cross the ocean, but there are usually plenty of port stops as well. Because these cruises are typically longer that the average cruise (anywhere from 10 to 21 days) and there are not as many stops as on a typical cruise, the cruise line significantly lowers the price of repositioning cruises, in some cases as low as $50 per day.

When are repositioning cruises available?

Most repositioning cruises take place either in early Spring (moving ships from North America to Europe) or late fall (returning the ships from Europe to the North America. Some happen in early and late summer (moving from continental US to Alaska and back). In rare cases, there may be an opportunity to sail from Asia or Australia to North or South America.

Why you will love a repositioning cruise?

Apart from being one of the best values in cruising, repositioning cruises are a great way to travel to another continent without actually flying. You can combine a Transatlantic cruise with a vacation in Europe an pay about the same for a 14-day cruise as you would have paid for an airline ticket.

In addition, it is a great way to relax and socialize with other cruisers - during the 5-7 days at sea, the cruise lines make sure to include a lot of onboard entertainment to keep the guests busy and, because there are no ports to worry about during those days, people enjoy various activities such as dance classes, trivia games, art classes or enrichment lectures.

What's more, if you pick a cruise line that focuses heavily on gourmet food (like Holland America or Celebrity), you can enjoy 2 weeks of amazing cuisine at the fraction of the cost you would pay at a high-end restaurant on land.

And don't forget that it is not all days at sea. You will still stop at a number of ports, sometimes places that few regular cruises stop in, like Madeira, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, or Morocco.

What to consider before booking a repositioning cruise?

Repositioning cruises are, of course, not for everyone. They are longer that the average cruise, which means that you have to be flexible with time or have a lot of vacation days. Also, for people looking for a warm-weather getaway, they are not the perfect match because weather in the open ocean is usually windy and many times cold (though most ships are equipped with an enclosed solarium-style pool where guests can lounge even on cold or rainy days).  And, they are not really suitable for families with younger kids, as there are not typically many kids onboard and the passengers tend to be a bit older than on regular cruises.

Despite minor negatives, repositioning cruises are a little-known secret among cruise insiders and, every year, they tend to sell out quickly because of their amazing value.