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Repositioning Cruises

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This article was originally published in September 2007.

It’s the magical month of September. The crowds are thinning, hotel prices are plummeting…and cruise ships are picking up and moving for the winter?

That’s right, ‘tis the season for repositioning cruises, and it’s an opportunity for travelers to save big on cruising.

Repositioning cruises usually take place in the fall and spring, when the cruise companies are moving the ships to adjust to the changing seasons. For example, a ship that sails from Alaska may reposition itself for South Pacific sailings in the fall, and vice versa in the spring. Instead of sailing with empty ships, cruise lines generate some revenue by inviting passengers to get onboard for a one-way trip, usually for deeply discounted prices…we’re talking under $1,000 for a two-week cruise!

The other good news is that repositioning cruises can take you to some far-flung destinations besides the usual suspects in the Caribbean and Alaska. How about the “floating garden” of Madeira, South Korea, or even Greenland?

Because the goal is to move the ship from one home base to another, you’re usually going to have fewer port days and more days at sea. For cruisers looking for ample time to spend reading by the pool, exploring the ship, or playing shuffleboard, a repositioning cruise could be the ideal getaway.

Repositioning cruises also tend to run longer than standard cruises, meaning you could be at sea for two or more weeks. And don’t expect a party ship: These cruises tend to attract baby boomers and retirees, who are able to spend a little more time traveling, and because they’re not packed to capacity, the atmosphere on board is usually a little more subdued.

A couple of warnings… as with any cruise, you can wind up spending a fortune on incidentals. That includes drinks (both soft drinks and alcohol), spa services, non-inclusive restaurants, and shore excursions. On longer cruises, you may be unpleasantly surprised when you get your final bill. Also, because roundtrip airfare is generally cheaper than one-way fares, taking a one-way cruise from one port to another might wind up adding a few hundred dollars in airfare to your overall price. The trick on this one is to find a cruise that starts and ends in the U.S., rather than one that requires flying overseas to board or to return home.

FALL 2007 REPOSITIONING CRUISES

SEPTEMBER

Grand Princess
September 2
A 16-day transatlantic from Southampton to New York, starting at $2,390 per person.
Ports of call: Bergen; Hellesylt; Geiranger; Faroe Islands, Torshavn; Akureyri; Reykjavik; Prins Christian Sund Scenic Cruising, Greenland; Qaqortoq, Greenland; St. John’s (Newfoundland)

Sun Princess
September 23
30-day Pacific cruise from Seattle to Sydney, starting at $3,945
Ports of call: San Francisco; Maui; Honolulu; Bora Bora; Tahiti; Rarotonga; Pago Pago, Fiji; Auckland; Christchurch; Dunedin; Fiordland National Park

Holland America Statendam
September 23
28-night South Pacific cruise starting at $3,699 per person.
Ports of call: Vancouver, British Columbia; Los Angeles, California; Hilo, Hawaii; Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii; Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii; Christmas Island, Kiribati; Pago Pago, Tutuila, American Samora; Apia, Upolu, Samoa; Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji Islands; Bay of Islands, New Zealand; Tauranga, New Zealand; Napier, New Zealand; Wellington, New Zealand; Auckland, New Zealand

Coral Princess
September 24
17-day Grand Panama Canal from Vancouver to Ft. Lauderdale starting at $1,948 per person.
Ports of call: Cabo San Lucas; Acapulco; Huatulco, Costa Rica (Puntarenas); Panama Canal; Cartagena; Aruba.

Holland America Volendam
September 28
19-day Panama Canal cruise starting at Vancouver, British Columbia; Astoria, Oregon; San Diego; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Acapulco, Mexico; Santa Cruz Huatulco, Mexico; Puerto Chiapas, Mexico; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Golfo Dulce; Panama Canal; Cartagena, Colombia; Fort Lauderdale

OCTOBER

Holland America Maasdam
October 6
14-day Eastern Canada/New England and Atlantic Coast cruise, starting at $2,399 per person.
Ports of call: Montreal, Quebec; Quebec City, Quebec; Saguenay Fjord; Prince Edward Island; Sydney, Nova Scotia; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; New London, Connecticut; Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Fort Lauderdale

Princess Cruises, Crown Princess
October 20
7-day cruise from New York to San Juan, starting at $479 per person.
Ports of call: St. Thomas, Antigua and St. Kitts

Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas
October 28
8-night Caribbean repositioning from Philadelphia to San Juan, starting at $470 per person.
Ports of call: Hamilton, Bermuda (overnight); Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte, Amalie, St. Thomas

NOVEMBER

Radiance of the Seas
November 4
14-day cruise from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale, starting at $1,310 per person.
Ports of call: Cabo San Lucas; Acapulco, Mexico; Huatulco, Mexico; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Panama Canal (cruising); Cristobal Pier, Panama; Cartagena, Colombia

Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas
November 5
13-night transatlantic cruise from Southampton, England to Ft. Lauderdale, starting at $580 per person.
Ports of Call: La Coruna, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Madeira (Funchal), Portugal; Santa Cruz, Canary Islands

Crystal Cruises
November 9
10-day “Moonlight Crossing” travels from Lisbon to Miami, starting at $2,995 per person.
Ports of call: Lisbon, Portugal; Ponta Delgada, The Azores; Hamilton, Bermuda (overnight); Miami, Florida

Holland America Statendam
November 23
28-day South Pacific cruise starting at $3,699 per person.
Ports of call: Vancouver, British Columbia; Los Angeles, California; Hilo, Hawaii; Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii; Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii; Christmas Island, Kiribati; Pago Pago, Tutuila, American Samora; Apia, Upolu, Samoa; Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji Islands; Bay of Islands, New Zealand; Tauranga, New Zealand; Napier, New Zealand; Wellington, New Zealand; Auckland, New Zealand

Holland America Amsterdam
November 23
17-day Panama Canal cruise, starting at $2,399 per person.
Ports of call: San Diego; Cabo San Lucas; Zihuatanejo, Mexico; Santa Cruz Huatulco, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Golfo Dulce; Fuerte Amador, Panama; Panama Canal; Oranjestad, Aruba; Fort Lauderdale

Princess Cruises Royal Princess
November 28
24-day “three continents” transatlantic from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale, starting at $3,690 per person.
Ports of call: Portofino; Monte Carlo; Barcelona; Gibraltar; Casablanca (for Marrakech); Dakar, Senegal; Fortaleza, Brazil; Devil’s Islands, Dominica; St. Barthelemy

DECEMBER

Royal Caribbean, Brilliance of the Seas
December 2
15-night transatlantic from Barcelona to Miami, starting at $960 per person.
Ports of call: Alicante, Spain; Gibraltar, United Kingdom; Lisbon, Portugal; Tenerife, Canary Islands; Madeira, Portugal; St. John’s, Antigua

For more information on booking a cruise, check out the “Travel Resource Links”.

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