Sunday, August 26

A Cruise Lover's Guide to Repositioning Cruises

Cruise fans have probably noticed a great deal turn up every now and then on something marked as "repositioning cruise." It looks too good to be true, so you might be suspicious. And then you're even more suspicious when the cruise literature does not even explain what on earth a repositioning cruise is. So what is it? And is it really such a good deal?

A cruise line that is moving a cruise ship from one home port to another will call the voyage to go from the old port to the new port a "repositioning cruise". Most cruise ships have a home base and make their cruises in and out of that port. That's why most cruise packages let you set sail and return to the same place.But sometimes the cruise line will want to maneuver its fleet a bit differently. It may be time to change up the schedule. At any rate, they need to move a cruise ship from the old home port to a new home port.

Cruise lines are smart and they know they can sell passage on these unusual voyages even though they are not the typical cruise with a fixed route and lots of fun ports-of-call. In fact, a repositioning cruise may not even offer any ports of call.

The focus of a repositioning cruise is getting from Port A to Port B. However, a repositioning cruise will offer you the usual cruise amenities. The crew will give you the same level of service as on a conventional cruise, you will get to dine and see shows. The only thing is that the cruise is not following the usual "route" with the standard ports of call.

That is the reason that you can often get a good bargain on a repositioning cruise. However, you need to be a particular type of passenger to really make this work out for you.First, you need to be a cruise passenger who enjoys "ship time" more than "port time." You have to be content to spend days at sea. You'll have access to the full facilities of the ship, so you can soak in the sun, go swimming, work out, see shows, get spa treatments, and take advantage of everything else on your ship. (Ask about what is offered on board before you book any repositioning cruise.) If you like long lazy days of eating and relaxing and soaking in the scenery from the deck, this is a perfect vacation for you.

Second, you need to be able to deal with the "to and from" of the repositioning cruise. You'll be leaving from one port but coming back at another. That means your airfare may be a bit more complicated and even pricier. You won't be able to book a round-trip airfare; instead if you need plane tickets, you'll be getting two one-way fares.

As with any cruise, you can tack on airfare to your total cruise package or book airfare yourself. Asking which is the better deal is like asking how much a cruise costs. It depends! You may want to do some online shopping to see what fares cost versus what the airline can package for you.An extraordinary value on a cruise would be a repositioning cruise that starts or stops in a port near your home town, since you'd only need one leg of airfare.

You can learn about repositioning cruises from most cruise line websites as well as from travel websites. They are usually listed in among the regular offerings but they should be flagged as repositioning cruise.Some cruises that work a regular route do start and stop from different ports. This happens, for instance, in Alaska, where a cruise ship may work a route north to south one trip, then south to north the next. This is not a repositioning cruise.The advantages of a repositioning cruise are mainly financial. It usually does not offer any new sights or destinations than the standard cruise packages and it creates a bit of a passenger inconvenience by starting and stopping at different places. However, it is often offered at a definite discount.
For people who enjoy the sheer fun of cruising and spending long days at sea, who don't mind starting and stopping their vacation from different cities, and like onboard activities, the repositioning cruise can be a great value.

If you are looking for a good deal on repositioning cruises or just finding out more about cruises in general, visit . Mandy Karlik wrote this article and is going on her next cruise to Cozumel. She contributes regularly to TheCruise-Shopper.
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