Growing up my brothers and I would gaze out of our living room window at cruise ships as they arrived and departed from the port near our home on the Big Island of Hawaii. I remember dreaming of one day getting to be the one waving from the ship instead of the one waving from shore. That was more than 25 years ago and I still have not placed one foot on board a cruise ship. But, soon, that may all change. I recently discovered a cruise line offer that may be too good to pass up.
It’s called the “repositioning cruise” and it is available once a year. It happens when cruise lines move their ships from one home port to another. The impetus of the offer: the weather, more specifically, the change of seasons. In spring, the most common repositioning itineraries are from the Caribbean to Europe or from the Caribbean to Alaska. Trans-Atlantic repositioning cruises from the Caribbean to Europe can include stops in Portugal, Spain and Morocco. To begin its Mediterranean season Holland America is advertising a sail from its winter port of Fort Lauderdale to include visits to Madeira, Palma and Casablanca. While Norwegian Cruise Line is offering a spring repositioning cruise from the Caribbean to Boston with a stop in Charleston, South Carolina.
But, what really caught my eye was the price. “Repo” cruises offer great deals. Depending upon the cruise line, pricing can be anywhere from $75 to $500 per day (roughly a 50 percent savings over a traditional cruise). Added incentives include free airfare or two-for-one pricing (and sometimes both). Currently, Oceania Cruises is offering free round-trip air and two-for-one cruise fares on selected cruises in Asia and Europe. All cruise lines feature repositioning cruises in their brochures, but you may want to consult with a travel agent to make sure you are clear on all the details.
Which brings me to my next point—the flip side of repositioning cruises. They are usually longer and generally make fewer port stops than conventional cruises; which means more days at sea. If shore excursions are your thing, this may not be the cruise for you. But for those who want to savor shipboard accommodations and services, this is a great way to do it. In fact, Norwegian Cruise Line’s brochure lists a repositioning cruise that offers additional activities and special themed events like cooking classes, dance lessons and guest lectures. And if that doesn’t appeal to you, then do what I would do, take advantage of the ship’s spa, eat, and enjoy the view