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Repositional cruises



What is a Repositioning Cruise?

A repositioning, repositional or simply “repo” cruise is the name given to a cruise which changes region, with guests embarking at one port and disembarking at a different port. This is in contrast to standard cruises, where the cruise ship would normally return passengers to the same port from which is began its journey.

These cruises usually take place at the end or beginning of a season, when a cruise ship needs to relocate before it begins a new-season timetable of itineraries in a different region. One of the most common examples of a repositional cruise is a vessel which spends the summer sailing throughout Europe, relocating to the Caribbean during the European winter. In turn, once the weather has picked up in Europe again during the spring, the cruise will then make its way back from the Caribbean.

Repositional cruises also differ to other cruises in that they don’t make frequent port calls. Whilst a standard cruise will stop at many of the most popular ports in a region – sometimes even with extended or overnight stays – a repositional cruise will usually sail directly to its destination, or with very minimal port stops along the way.

New york harbour skyline water taxi

What are the Advantages of a Repositional Cruise?

Repositional cruises offer a range of advantages for cruise-goers, but the biggest attraction of taking a repo cruise is the low price. Tickets for repositioning cruises are generally much cheaper, and even though passengers may need to factor in the cost of a plane ticket from whichever port the cruise has relocated too, those looking for a bargain cruise can find unbelievable discounts, on some of the world’s most luxurious ships.

You might also find yourself as one of the first guests onboard a brand-new cruise ship. Many American cruise companies have vessels built in European shipyards and, once completed, these ships are then delivered to the US. You’ll have to be quick if you want to snap up one of these luxury repositional cruise, as cabins on new, state-of-the-art ships sell extremely fast.

Many repositional cruise-goers use these cruises in place of a one-way air-ticket. Whilst flying, say from the UK to New York, might be much quicker than taking a cruise, for those who have the time, a repositional Transatlantic cruise can be cheaper, more enjoyable and offer the chance to experience an iconic crossing at a fraction of the usual price.

Repositioning cruises also suit those who enjoy their time onboard the ships more than those who like to explore port destinations. For many, the actual cruise experience – with onboard facilities, entertainment and luxury accommodation – are the real attraction. As repositioning cruises spend the majority of their route at sea, guests will have plenty of time to make use of all of the facilities. To encourage more people to book repositional cruises, the biggest cruise lines often offer enticing entertainment packages or cruise themes – such as food and wine experiences, big music and comedy performers or famous guest speakers. It’s also common for cruise lines to offer free or discounted add-ons, such as Wi-Fi, drinks packages and more.

For those who love to say they have travelled to far-off lands and exotic destinations, some repositioning cruises also come with off-the-beaten-track sailing routes. Those crossing from the UK to the Americas often sail via Canada and Iceland, whilst those travelling back to Europe from the Caribbean frequently pass places such as the Azores and the Canary Islands.

The azores nature lake blue green

The Azores! (As visited by Emma)

Why Should You Book a Repositioning Cruise?

There’s a certain type of traveller who always seem to know how to get the best deals, the biggest discounts and the most for their money. When it comes to cruises, these travellers talk of repositional – or repositioning cruises – but for the majority of holiday-goers, these types of cruises still remain a mystery.

As repositioning cruises become increasingly easier to find, with more and more cruise companies offering discounted packages and deals, we explain how huge discounts, onboard incentives and some exciting destinations are making repositional cruises the new choice for budget-savvy, adventurous travellers.

Are There Any Disadvantages to a Repositioning Cruise?

For those with sea legs and budget-conscious minds, repositioning cruises have very little in the way of downsides, but before you book a repo cruise, it’s worth taking a few things into consideration.

Repositional cruises entail long periods of time at sea, with few or no port calls. Once you do reach your destination, you’ll often have a long, transatlantic flight home to budget for – although more and more cruise lines are starting to include flights with their repositional cruise packages in an attempt to entice passengers.

Because you are spending the majority of your time onboard, you will also want to factor into your budget any extra, no-inclusive services or activities, such as spa appointments or drinks packages. This will prevent you from arriving at your destination with a large tab, and cancelling out the great discount you received on your one-way ticket.

It’s also worth noting that, especially on Transatlantic cruises, the weather can be unpredictable. Many routes will avoid the worst of the season’s storms but bumpy seas are common and packing for all eventualities is advisable.

honduras cruise norwegian getaway

How Do I Find Repositional Cruise Deals?

If you haven’t booked a repositional cruise before, it can be hard to know where to start. Although becoming more popular, many cruise lines still don’t overly advertise their repositioning cruises, whilst others fall under a company’s “Oceanic” or “Transatlantic” cruise categories.

If you are interested in a repo cruise from Europe to America, start by searching for cruises departing in the months of September, October and November. This will show any west-bound repositioning cruises, with large discounts and low-price tickets, and is one of the best times to find amazing deals to exotic destinations such as the Caribbean.

Alternatively, for those who want to experience a repositional cruise from America to the UK or wider Europe, the spring months of March to May will bring up any Transatlantic repositioning cruises. This is a fantastic time to book great value deals to destinations such as the West and Eastern Mediterranean.

** DISCLAIMER ** – Hey folks, Emma here. Just giving you a little disclaimer that I/we are in no way associated with Cruise Nation (Neil works for Cruise Nation) or any other cruise line or company. Neil simply wanted to help us out with some content, and who am I turn down some industry insider gossip!? 

Emma cruises cruising isnt just for old people selfie go pro girl vlogging infront of cruise ship caribbean princess Emma says: Thanks for this one Neil! I have always wondered about repositional cruises but never have considered one. I don’t usually like more than two sea days in a row so don’t necessarily think that it would be the ideal cruise for me. That having been said, if the price was right I absolutely would give it a go!

This post gave me a great excuse to use some of my New York and Azores photos so thank you for that also. I actually visited the Azores a few years ago, not on a cruise though. It’s an absolutely gorgeous place, I would thoroughly recommend it. 


About Neil

Neil is the Online Manager at Cruise Nation and has been with the company for 6 years. In that time I’ve been on a variety of ships including Holland America, Carnival, Norwegian, Fathom, P&O and Royal Caribbean and cruised the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

As for Cruise Nation – well we’re an Online Cruise Tour Operator based in Swansea, South Wales. We’ve been in operation for around 10 years and in that time have won numerous awards. We pride ourselves on bringing cruise to a much wider audience by making it affordable and are continually trying to break down the myths and clichés that your average person has about cruise holidays. Check out Cruise Nation here: Cruise Nation. (Lots of repositional cruises!)