Repositioning Cruises: Which Cruise Lines Offer Them?

Repositioning cruises serve a crucial function in the global cruise industry, but they are often overlooked. This is at least partially understandable, given that only certain people can take advantage of the discounts and deals offered by a repositioning cruise, and also that cruise lines often don’t explicitly advertise these voyages as “repositioning cruises.” This latter point is important, as it can cause people to operate on the mistaken assumption that not many cruise lines actually offer repositioning cruises. In fact, almost all the major cruise lines, and a number of smaller cruise lines as well, operate repositioning cruises. They have to relocate their ships somehow, and they may as well transport their vessels with lots of paying customers on board.

First, let’s take a look at the list of cruise lines (listed in alphabetical order) that offer respositioning cruises. It is possible that we missed a cruise line – there are scores of them – and of course it is not guaranteed that every one of these companies is advertising a repositioning cruise at any given time of the year, but the list should be close to comprehensive, and all the cruise lines should offer at least one respositioning cruise a year.

Azamara Club Cruises
Croisières de France (CDF)
Fred. Olsen
Holland America
MSC Cruises
P&O Cruises
Paul Gauguin Cruises
Royal Caribbean
Swan Hellenic

The list is fairly self-explanatory – you can book repositioning cruises with these cruise lines – but we’ll note a couple of things about it. First, this is a very diverse list. The huge cruise lines are of course represented (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, etc.), but so are lots of small lines, which tend to be the companies that attempt to fill specific niches of the market. You have companies like Seabourn and Silversea offering luxury cruises, and cruise lines like CDF that primarily cater to french-speaking passengers, to give a couple of examples. The variety one finds in the larger cruise industry is reflected in the world of repositioning cruises. Second, and obviously, the number of repositioning cruises offered by each of these cruise lines in any given year varies widely. For example, a fairly small line like Fred. Olson only offers one repositioning cruise in the next year – from Santiago, Chile to Sydney, Australia – whereas some of the larger lines offer dozens. However, the number of repositioning cruises offered is not only a function of a cruise line’s size. Carnival is the largest cruise line in the world, yet it offers far fewer repositioning cruises than, for instance, Norwegian. (To be sure, Norwegian is still a large cruise line, but it is not nearly the size of Carnival.) The number of repositioning cruises is of course partially tied to the size of a cruise line, but the needs of a company are more relevant. Some cruise lines shift ships around a lot more, which necessitates more repositioning cruises.

Clearly, there is no shortage of cruise lines that offer repositioning cruises. If you are interested in taking one of these cruises, this is a good thing, as you’ll have more options to choose from as you deliberate about your vacation. You might even get to sail with your favorite cruise line, or in any case you should be able to find one that suits your needs, whatever those needs may be.

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:

Repositioning Cruises: The Basics
How to Find a Repositioning Cruise
Repositioning Cruises: Who Can Take Them?
How to Book Repositioning Cruises

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