Repositioning Cruises: What Kinds of Discounts and Deals are Available?

Having explained the basics of repositioning cruises and described the sort of people who can take transitional cruises (as repositioning cruises are sometimes known), we figured we should now delve into the specific types of cruises you can take. After all, even if you gathered that you like the idea of repositioning cruises and have determined you are able to take one after reading these first two articles, this still doesn’t tell you much about what possibilities actually await you when you start looking into taking a repositioning cruise. Where and when exactly can you take a repositioning cruise? What kinds of deals or discounts can you get by taking a repositioning cruise? To these and similar questions we now turn our attention.

First, we should mention that the vast majority of repositioning cruises are in some sense discounted, so asking about the availability of discounted repositioning cruises often amounts to simply asking about the availability of repositioning cruises in general. Of course, some repositioning cruises are cheaper than others (in terms of both total cost and percentage saved), but most of them are substantially marked down from the per-diem cost of a regular cruise. Indeed, a repositioning cruise is often subject to even more discounts, as you can frequently find a deal for a repositioning cruise that is less than the cruise line’s brochure price. (Look at the deals on, say,, and you’ll see that almost every fare is steeply discounted from the cruise line’s official starting price for the cruise.) You are therefore able to find some incredibly cheap cruises. Cruises that might normally cost thousands of dollars can be had for hundreds, and very long cruises that would normally cost a significant portion of one’s yearly salary can be had for a thousand dollars or so. So, basically all repositioning cruises are discounted cruises, and often verily heavily discounted ones at that.

Because of the seasons of the cruise industry, repositioning cruises tend to fall into predictable patterns, with a large number of vessels heading the same direction more or less at once. The most common offerings tend to fit into two categories. First, there are transatlantic voyages, as when a vessel used for the Mediterranean heads to the Caribbean in the fall (or the opposite direction in the spring). Second, there are cruises that go from Alaska to Hawaii at about the same time as the transatlantic repositioning cruises. Once the summer season is over in Alaska, lots of ships head to Hawaii for the winter season (which then, of course, go back again to Alaska the following spring). (Places like “Alaska” and “Hawaii” are to be understood as cruising regions – there aren’t necessarily lots of cruises that go directly from a port in Alaska to a port in Hawaii; the point is that ships in the north start running totally different itineraries in the winter, and before this happens, the ships need to be repositioned.) Clearly, then, the fall and spring are the big repositioning seasons, and the most common cruises in this season head across the Atlantic Ocean or from Alaska to Hawaii (or vice versa). However, there are repositioning cruises throughout the year, and where you begin and where you end up varies widely. Some voyages are extended journeys across half the globe – e.g., Los Angeles to Japan, or Canada to Australia – whereas others are fairly short, like the ships that stay in Europe all year, but reposition to different ports at certain points of the year.

So, to recap, the majority of repositioning cruises are discounted, often heavily so, giving rise to some incredible cruise deals. As we have pointed out in previous articles, this makes a certain amount of sense, as not a lot of people are willing to start a cruise in one part of the world and end in another. However, if you take some of the common repositioning cruises – like those across the Atlantic – it shouldn’t be too difficult to find reasonably affordable airfare home, or if you go for one of the longer repositioning cruises, you are likely on a larger journey anyway, one that doesn’t require an immediate flight home. So, by all means look into repositioning cruises – they are a great option for particular travel situations.

If you want to learn more about repositioning cruises, check out the rest of the articles (that are not already linked to above) in our series about them:

How to Find a Repositioning Cruise
Repositioning Cruises: Which Cruise Lines Offer Them?
How to Book Repositioning Cruises

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