Why A Repositioning Cruise May Be The Cheapest Way To Travel This Year

Repositioning cruises are one of the best-kept secrets in the travel industry.

While they aren’t for everyone, repositioning cruises can be one of the best and most affordable ways to travel long distances.

Here’s what travelers need to know about repositioning cruises and how they can save you money:

What Is A Repositioning Cruise?

A repositioning cruise is a one-way cruise with different departure and arrival ports, typically crossing a major body of water.

For example, a trans-Atlantic repositioning cruise may depart from a port in Florida and arrive in a European port like Barcelona.

Another example of a repositioning cruise is a cruise leaving from Seattle, traveling down the Pacific coast, passing through the Panama Canal, and arriving at a port in Florida.

Panama Canal Cruise

Cruise lines need to move their ships to different seasonal home ports, which is why repositioning cruises occur.

However, because of this, repositioning cruises are typically longer than the average cruise and contain many more days at sea. A repositioning cruise may be 14 days or longer, with 10 or more days at sea.

If you don’t mind spending a long time on a cruise ship, then a repositioning cruise can be a great way to travel abroad from the United States.


Why Are Repositioning Cruises A Good Deal?

Repositioning cruises are a great deal for travelers because the cost is often much less than that of a typical cruise.

The price for a 14-day repositioning cruise from the East Coast of the United States to Europe is often well under $1,000 per person (with inside cabins available for as little as $600.)

This includes your accommodation, all meals, and entertainment for two weeks.

Full service breakfast on a cruise ship balcony

Trans-Atlantic cruises also allow you to stop at ports of call that are otherwise difficult or expensive to visit. A typical trans-Atlantic cruise route may have you stopping in the Azores and the Canary Islands before making your way to Malaga, Valencia, and Barcelona.

When you consider that airfare to Europe from the United States has increased by 37% since 2022, a trans-Atlantic cruise can be a bargain.

Cruise ship at harbor. Aerial view of beautiful large white ship at sunset.

The average cost of a flight to Europe from the U.S. is $1,167 right now, according to data from Hopper. However, Americans traveling to Europe from most cities in the U.S. will find that flights are even more expensive, typically exceeding $1,500 round-trip.

So a repositioning cruise can be cheaper than a flight to Europe, and it includes accommodation, food, entertainment, and stops at exciting ports along the way.

Who Is A Repositioning Cruise Good For?

Repositioning cruises are perfect for travelers who have ample time and enjoy the journey just as much as the destination.

Girl on the deck of a cruise ship looking out to the sea

If you have limited vacation time, a repositioning cruise probably isn’t right for you since most repositioning cruises are at least two weeks.

Repositioning cruises are also good for travelers who are okay with being offline for a while. WiFi on cruise ships has improved considerably in recent years, but on repositioning cruises, especially trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific voyages, it can still be inconsistent.

So while you may be able to work or stay connected on other cruises, it’s still hit or miss when it comes to many repositioning cruises.

a large white cruise ship sails through the water

Another thing to consider when taking a repositioning cruise is how you’ll get back to the U.S. after it’s over. Since repositioning cruises end in a different location (which may even be across the ocean from where you started) you’ll need to arrange a one-way flight home.

However, if you have the time, a repositioning cruise can be an incredible experience and a good value.

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