Holidaymakers aren’t the only ones who follow the sunshine; cruise ships do too. As the seasons change and Europe begins to shiver, ships begin to head out in search of the sun, leaving European and Mediterranean itineraries behind for the Caribbean. Who can blame them, right?
The itinerary that sees ships make this sun-seeking voyage is known as a repositioning cruise and with it comes the opportunity for a great deal on a cheap cruise holiday. If you’re looking for a bargain holiday, without compromising on the home comforts of your ship of choice, a repositioning cruise could be the answer; cruise lines sell these one-way routes at heavily discounted rates, in order to avoid repositioning the ship without any passengers on board. If you adore sea days, those long, languid hours that see lazy mornings stretch into leisurely afternoon lunches and time to read without a care for the clock, they’re just about paradise.
A repositioning cruise itinerary will see a ship that has been based in a European home port during the summer, Southampton in the case of P&O Cruises vessels, move to a new home port for the winter season; P&O Cruises ships are relocated to Barbados for the most part. Europe to Caribbean repositioning cruises will see the ship make a transatlantic voyage over the course of seven days, often calling at an Atlantic port of call in order to break up the journey. Ponta Delgada, Madeira, Tenerife and even Greenland are amongst the ports of call often used for this purpose – let’s just call them the most scenic diversions you’ll come across.
Repositioning cruises often incorporate a number of sea days, usually at least six, making them perfect if you’re looking to do little more than relax and make the most of the facilities on board. We could all use a little more of that after an odd year or two. Mobile signal can be blissfully absent at times, meaning your only interruptions tend to be from a friendly face checking your glass is still full.
Following their time at sea, ships will eventually arrive in the warm waters of the Caribbean, taking in several Caribbean islands, before making their way to their new home port for the season. Of course, this is just an example of the repositioning cruises available. Others may see ships relocate from the Mediterranean to the USA ports of New York or Boston, or even leave Canada behind to head towards Asia. With the repositioning sailing complete, the ship will then settle into a routine of itineraries from its new home port for the season, before making the journey back to its spring home port in time for the warm weather of the following year.
Repositioning cruises undoubtedly offer outstanding value for money. Many consider them less attractive, due to the number of days spent at sea, but today’s ships are packed with countless facilities and activities to keep you entertained every moment of the day. The food is fantastic, the service is exceptional, the entertainment never ends and the weather at the time of year is often great, plus the price you’ll pay is significantly less than those who sailed on the same ship just days before you, lending a smugness that isn’t lost on us. In terms of destinations, repositioning cruises are a great way of seeing lesser-visited ports of call too.
After a blissful week or two, you’ll leave your luggage outside your stateroom on that final night feeling super rested and relaxed. Once you disembark the ship, it’s entirely up to you whether you head to the airport for your flight home or spend the money you saved by booking a reposition cruise on enjoying a few days’ post-cruise stay in your final destination. We’d opt for the latter course – who are we to turn down a short sojourn in Barbados or the Sunshine State while rain batters old Blighty?
Cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Seabourn, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines are just some of those that offer cheap cruise deals on repositioning itineraries – speak to your Cruise Expert to see if you could save with one too.