There’s really no vacation experience like going on a cruise ship. The heading out to the sea and transferring from port to port can be quite the adventure. It can be quite expensive, though. But if you’re looking for a bargain on a cruise ship without having to cut it short, you can consider trying a repositioning cruise. This happens during the spring and fall seasons, when many cruise ships make like whales and migrate to either the north or south to adjust to the winter season.
Where do Repositioning Cruises Go?
During this time, cruise ships reposition their vessels, moving from Alaska to warmer places like the Caribbean and then wait until the end of the fall season to move back to Alaska just in time for spring. And with over 30 cruise ships moving to Alaska every summer, there will be a lot of slots on the cruise to fill, whether they’re going away or traveling back.
Most of these cruise ships will be spending the summer in Europe until it reaches fall when they start crossing the Atlantic to make it to the Caribbean in time for winter. They then backtrack by spring and go back to Europe. This isn’t the only route for repositioning cruises. Many of these ships head towards Asia, South America, Australia, or even Africa and they tend to reposition to other continents as the seasons change. While flights to Asia can take long, they can be perfect for those who have all the time in the world to enjoy a repositioning cruise to the continent. In fact, people who do this take a cruise to Asia and take a one way flight back home.
Just like other cruise trips, repositioning cruises do themes as well. For instance, a vessel may take on a bridge themed cruise, which can be perfect for those who enjoy the card game. Other themes include ones that pertain to music or dancing and even fields of interests like computers. So make sure you like the theme of the cruise you’ll be on, since you’ll be on it for a long while.
How are Repositioning Cruises so Cheap?
The concept of a repositioning cruise came about because these cruise ships often end up with fewer passengers when they move from place to place. Thus, instead travelling empty, they decide to let passengers travel on a discount. This attracts people to take the cruise with them. Generally, these types of cruises will be more palatable to those who want to experience a cruise but avoid the regular fares.
This doesn’t mean that cruises lose out on profit, though. What they lose out in fare discounts they make up for with the revenue on board. This is because they know that passengers will tend to gamble in the casinos, buy drinks at the bar, and shop in the stores because the trips tend to be much longer than the usual cruises. So if you’re on the reposition cruise on a budget, be mindful of your spending - at some point you’ll be tempted to splurge.
Besides, cruise trips that find itself on the sea for longer days tend to be cheaper to operate, since they don’t have to pay port fees that stack up the longer they stay in the port. This is why repositioning cruises are generally cheaper.
Some Repositioning Cruises worth Trying
During the fall season, there will be repositioning cruises that will take off from Europe and head to the Caribbean Islands. There will also be others that will go from Alaska and pass through the either the Panama Canal, making its way to the Caribbean. Cruises from Alaska may also pass by the Suez Canal to go to the Mediterranean. Other still make their way to South America through the Atlantic. These cruises will take at least 10 days, and sometimes longer, with most of the trip at sea. Needless to say, these highly discounted cruises.
If you’re traveling in August, there are repositioning cruises from Europe that go to the Caribbean, South America, or North America.
The season for Alaska cruises ends by September, so ships that come from Alaska will head south and go to Hawaii, Asia, or Australia. Some of the cruises will head out a bit later during December.
As for the spring season, ships already at South America will head back north. Meanwhile, vessels that spent winter in the Caribbean will be Alaska bound. Ships that are in Australia, Asia, or South Pacific will be northbound, going to Alaska or Europe.
The repositioning season starts with early spring cruises when ships in South America head back north. Ships that have wintered in the Caribbean will sail through the Panama Canal on their way to Alaska. Some ships from Asia, Australia, or the South Pacific will also head north, usually to Europe, but also to Alaska.
Repositioning cruises can be a great way to experience a travel route that’s different from the usual cruises you’ve been to. And if this is your first time, it’s a great way to save up on costs as well. So whether you’re new to cruises or not, taking a repositioning cruise is definitely a must-try.
Tips for Repositioning Cruises
- Don’t book too early. Normally, early bookings mean savings, but during repositioning season, last minute deals are very common.
- Make sure you factor in flight costs as well. This applies if you don’t leave near the place where the vessel will depart. While cruise tickets will be cheap later, the flights will still be expensive later.
- Make sure you pick your cabin wisely. Don’t leave it to chance just because you don’t want to pay extra. Otherwise, you might end up with a cabin that you don’t like for the entirety of the cruise.
- Bring a good book, or something to entertain yourself with. Repositioning cruises are definitely much longer than the usual cruises. You’ll need something to keep yourself from getting bored.
- Speaking of entertainment, make sure to enjoy the ship’s on board activities. It’s a great way to mingle with other people and have fun. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out.