Ships on sale: Repositioning cruises are a bargain this fall
Every fall more than a dozen cruise lines reposition their ships from one sea to another for the winter season. Since this annual migration involves voyages with several sea days, or are not round-trip cruises, cruise lines offer irresistible prices to keep cabins full. Prices can be 30 to 80 per cent off regular rates.
Generally, ships stationed in northern Europe head for the Mediterranean, southern European ships cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean, Alaska cruise ships aim for Mexico and Hawaii, and ships in Asia expand their itineraries further south.
Sailings range from about 10 to 20 days so these cruises are best for passengers who have cruised before, rather than first-timers.
This is also a great opportunity to sail on a six-star cruise line that might otherwise be too expensive during other times of the year. For example, on October 31, the Crystal Symphony sails from Miami to San Diego, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, in 16 days for U.S.$4,695 instead of U.S.$14,490. So celebrate Hallowe’en by dressing up as a king and queen because on this cruise line you’ll be treated like royalty. (Price source: vacationstogo.com).
On a repositioning cruise you’ll enjoy extra sea days for pampering, the opportunity to be immersed in enrichment programs, entertained by special guest lecturers, learn more at classes from cooking to dancing, and enjoy sumptuous dining and impressive entertainment, at the best prices you’ll get all year.
You’ll also find that the ships are less crowded (with few children) and if you choose a ship that has plenty to do on board —more than a dozen restaurants, bars and theatres, as well as features like skating rinks and rock climbing walls —the time will pass quickly. And even if you do nothing at all but lay in a lounge chair, enjoy the people-watching.
The drawbacks are that you may spend more money shopping on board in the duty-free stores, do more gambling in the casino, and eat and drink more than usual.
Some voyages can experience rough weather depending on the ocean you are crossing, but if you have experienced sea legs, repositioning cruises are a great time to relax, learn something new, bond with family, and make new friends.
Here’s a list of repositioning cruises on ships I have experienced, although there are about 80 voyages from October to December to discuss with your travel agent:
Oct. 7: 17-day Rome to Dubai
Nov. 3: 14-day Dubai to Madras, India
Nov. 17: 13-day Madras, India to Singapore
Nov. 30: 10-day Singapore to Hong Kong
Oct. 16: 6-day New York to Puerto Rico
Dec. 3: 17-day Transatlantic (Savona to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe)
Oct. 25: 14-day New York to Fort Lauderdale
Holland America Eurodam
Oct. 28: 22-day Transatlantic (Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale)
Holland America Noordam
Oct. 5: 19-day South Pacific (Honolulu to Sydney)
Holland America Oosterdam
Nov. 3: 15-day Transatlantic (Rome to Tampa)
Holland America Zuiderdam
Oct. 7: 12-day Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale
Nov 20: 20-day Transatlantic (Genoa to Fort de France, Martinique)
Oct. 30: 13-day Transatlantic (Barcelona to Port Canaveral)
Oct. 15: 8-day New York to Puerto Rico
Dec. 4: 17-day Los Angeles to Santiago
Dec. 21: 10-day Santiago to Buenos Aires
Oct. 27: 10-day New York to Fort Lauderdale
Royal Caribbean Mariner
Oct. 7: 10-day Shanghai to Singapore
Royal Caribbean Navigator
Nov. 10: 13-day Transatlantic (Southampton to Miami)
Royal Caribbean Voyager
Oct. 18: 14-day Singapore to Sydney
Dec. 7: 12-day Lisbon to Fort Lauderdale
Windstar Star Pride
Oct. 28: 12-day Lisbon to Barbados
Windstar Wind Star
Nov. 12: 13-day Lisbon to Barbados
Diane Tierney is FYI's chief cruising correspondent. To follow Diane on her voyages, click https://www.instagram.com/cruiseguru/
See Diane's previous blogs for FYI:
World cruises offer 120-day winter escapes
Sweet Greek Isles on the Seabourn Odyssey
Upgrades to the Carnival Miracle enhance its delightful whimsical decor
New cruise ship sails above the rest
Hawaii: Where the wild things are
Cruising never sounded so good
Time for Tahiti treat you've always dreamed of
Small ship cruising reaches hidden gems