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Repositioning cruises offer sweet deals

  • Published Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009, at 12:06 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, Oct. 5, 2009, at 4:56 p.m.

In October and throughout November, dozens of cruise ships in European waters are moved from their now-chilly locations and sent on long, trans-Atlantic sailings to the Caribbean or South American waters. Because, when they cross the Atlantic, they are solely at sea for at least five, six or seven days and make no port stops during that time, they are unpopular with the public; passengers with short attention spans can't stand the thought of being aboard a ship that isn't making daily visits to land. And many members of the public can't devote the two-or-so weeks that most repositioning cruises require (several port stops in the Mediterranean before reaching the open sea of the Atlantic, then the crossing, then several port stops on the way to the ultimate destination in Florida or elsewhere).

That's why the cruise lines and the cruise discount brokers often price these repositioning cruises at almost ridiculously low levels in order to fill the cabins aboard them. As you'll see below, some repositioning cruises are being sold for as little as $28.50 a day.

Recently, the urgent need to fill the repositioning ships has led some cruise discount brokers to include trans-Atlantic airfare to the jumping-off point in the overall price of the cruise. Some of them put you up at no charge for a night or two in a first-class hotel at the port of embarkation. Such complex repositionings are, to me, the most desirable of them.

Several outstanding repositioning cruise bargains:

• $28.50 per person per day, for 14 nights (a total of $399), aboard Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas, departing Nov. 19 from Lisbon, Portugal, sailing then to the Canary Islands, then crossing the South Atlantic to Recife, Brazil, and proceeding down the coast of Brazil to Rio first, then Sao Paulo. Inside cabin, of course. Obviously, airfare to Lisbon, and then from Sao Paulo back to the States is the big added expense (use of frequent-flyer mileage will often do the trick). Go to VacationsToGo.com to book.

• $46.58 per person per day, for 12 nights (a total of $559) aboard Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, departing Nov. 9 from Malaga, Spain, then sailing to the Canary Islands and then across the South Atlantic to Nassau (Bahamas) and Miami. Inside cabins. You'll obviously have to add airfare to Malaga as your big added expense. VacationstoGo.com makes the offer.

• $67.16 per person per day, for 18 nights (a total of $1,209) aboard Costa Cruises' Costa Magica, departing Nov. 18 from Savona, Italy, sailing through the Mediterranean to the Canary Islands and then crossing the South Atlantic to Brazil, after which the ship makes several stops in Brazil (Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador, among them) before reaching Rio de Janeiro. Inside cabins. Airfare to and from this itinerary is the big added expense. Book directly from CostaCruises.com.

• $114.21 per person per day (including round-trip airfare at the start and end of the cruise), for a cruise of 14 nights, a total of $1,599, aboard Celebrity Cruises' Equinox (world's newest ship), departing Nov. 5 from Civitavecchia (Rome), and visiting several Mediterranean destinations before passing through Gibraltar to the Canary Islands, then spending six nights sailing the South Atlantic to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Inside cabins. The price includes one-way airfare from New York to Rome and one-way airfare from Fort Lauderdale back to New York or other U.S. cities, a four-star hotel in Rome overnight on Nov. 4, and airport-to-hotel and hotel-to-port transfers in Rome. Contact TravelThemesAndDreams.com or call 877-870-7447.

• $125 per person per day (including one-way air from New York to Barcelona, Spain, and from San Juan to New York), for a cruise of 14 nights in an outside balcony cabin, a total of $1,799, aboard Celebrity Cruises' Summit, departing Nov. 28 from Barcelona and visiting several Mediterranean destinations before passing through Gibraltar to Morocco (Agadir) and the Canary Islands and then crossing the South Atlantic for five nights on the way to San Juan. Includes air from New York to Barcelona and from San Juan to New York, an overnight stay preceding the cruise in a Barcelona hotel, and all necessary transfers. Contact TravelThemesAndDreams.com or call 877-870-7447.

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