When cruise lines need to move their ships long distances to prepare for seasonal markets, travelers can enjoy great daily rates. These repositioning cruises are available in October and November from Europe to the U.S. and Caribbean, in the spring from the U.S. and Caribbean to Europe and from Mexico or California to Alaska, and in September from Alaska to points south.
Repositioning cruises offer a way to get the cruise experience for less money. Cruise lines consider such itineraries to be less attractive because the ship has fewer ports of call. The companies, accordingly, cut the cruise price, though virtually all of the amenities are unchanged.
If you'll be taking a long cruise, you may want to upgrade to a balcony to enjoy a private view of the ocean.
Sample repositioning cruises are listed below. Prices are per person, double occupancy. Taxes and fees are additional.
• Celebrity has a 14-night cruise from Barcelona, Spain, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, with stops in France, Spain and Morocco. Prices start at $599 for an inside cabin, $899 for an ocean view and $999 for a balcony. The cruise departs Nov. 28. Because AirTran offers cheap one-way flights from San Juan, you can get flights back to Dallas for $159 to $189, including taxes and fees, and low fares are available to many other U.S. cities.
• Royal Caribbean is offering a 14-night trans-Atlantic sailing from Barcelona to Galveston with stops in Spain, Portugal and the Bahamas. The cruise departs Nov. 29. Prices start at $749 for an inside cabin, $803 for an ocean view and $1,049 for a balcony.
• Holland America is booking a 24-night cruise from Piraeus, Greece, to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that makes several stops in Europe before crossing the Atlantic. The cruise departs Nov. 1 and stops in Tunisia, Malta, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. Prices start at $1,999 for an inside cabin and $2,499 for an ocean view.
• Royal Caribbean has a 13-night trans-Atlantic cruise from Southampton, England, to Fort Lauderdale, with stops in France, Spain and Portugal. The ship departs Nov. 23. Prices start at $719 for an inside cabin, $937 for an ocean view and $1,049 for a balcony.
• Celebrity is offering a 15-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Valparaiso, Chile, with stops in Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. The cruise departs Dec. 5. Prices start at $1,049 for an inside cabin, $1,149 for an ocean view and $1,399 for a balcony.
• Norwegian Cruise Line is booking a 14-night cruise from Miami to Los Angeles, with stops in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico. The cruise departs April 10 and passes through the Panama Canal. Prices start at $1,099 for an inside cabin.
• Norwegian has a seven-night cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver, British Columbia, with stops in Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska. The ship departs May 1, and prices start at $399 for an inside cabin, $499 for an ocean view and $749 for a balcony.
• Holland America has a four-night West Coast cruise from San Diego to Vancouver with a stop in Victoria, British Columbia. The cruise departs May 10. Prices start at $249 for an inside cabin and $299 for an ocean view.
As you can see, you have options with short cruises on the West Coast and longer cruises to Europe or South America. Whatever your available time, you can take a cruise with a flavor different from what you've experienced. These cruises can be purchased from travel retailers such as Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, the cruise lines and BestFares.com.