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What Does Repositioning Mean On A Cruise


by Daffy Damon



Repositioning cruises offer a unique and captivating experience for avid travelers. Imagine embarking on a journey that takes you across vast oceans, exploring different destinations, all while enjoying the luxurious amenities and entertainment options onboard a cruise ship. Repositioning cruises, also known as reposition voyages or relocation cruises, are a hidden gem in the world of cruising.


So, what exactly does repositioning mean on a cruise? In the cruise industry, repositioning refers to the process of relocating a cruise ship from one region or cruising season to another. As cruise lines plan their itineraries, they often need to move their ships to different locations to accommodate changing travel seasons or to add variety to their offerings. This means that the ship will depart from one port and arrive at another, often bridging continents or exploring lesser-known destinations.


Repositioning cruises differ from regular itineraries in that they usually have fewer port stops and longer sailing durations. They are perfect for travelers who appreciate the journey as much as the destination. With the opportunity to spend uninterrupted days at sea, passengers can relax, participate in onboard activities, and truly immerse themselves in the cruise experience.


Repositioning cruises typically occur during the off-peak seasons, allowing passengers to enjoy significant savings compared to traditional cruises. This makes them an excellent option for budget-conscious travelers or those looking to get more value for their money. Additionally, repositioning cruises are popular among adventure seekers and seasoned cruisers who have already explored the more mainstream itineraries and are seeking new and exciting destinations.


In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of repositioning cruises, exploring the reasons behind them, the advantages they offer, the considerations to keep in mind when booking, popular destinations, and tips for planning an unforgettable repositioning cruise adventure.


Definition of Repositioning Cruises

Repositioning cruises, also known as reposition voyages or relocation cruises, are unique itineraries offered by cruise lines that involve moving a ship from one region or cruising season to another. Unlike regular cruises that follow a circular route and return to the same port, repositioning cruises start in one port and end in another, often in different continents.


Repositioning cruises allow cruise lines to optimize their fleet’s deployment throughout the year. For example, during the summer months, a cruise ship may be sailing in the Mediterranean, but as winter approaches, it may be relocated to the Caribbean to take advantage of the warmer weather and higher demand. These cruises act as a bridge between different cruising seasons, giving passengers the opportunity to explore a diverse range of destinations during a single voyage.


One of the defining characteristics of repositioning cruises is the extended duration at sea. Since the primary objective is to move the ship from one location to another, these cruises typically have fewer port stops compared to traditional itineraries. This allows passengers to spend more time onboard, enjoying the ship’s amenities and activities, and truly immersing themselves in the cruise experience.


Repositioning cruises typically occur during the shoulder seasons when cruise lines transition between popular cruising regions. For example, in the spring or fall, cruise lines may relocate their ships from the Caribbean to Europe or from the Mediterranean to South America. These off-peak seasons allow passengers to enjoy significant savings compared to peak travel times, making repositioning cruises an attractive option for budget-conscious travelers.


While repositioning cruises offer a unique travel experience, it’s important to note that they may not be suitable for all travelers. If you are someone who enjoys frequent port stops and exploring different destinations on a short timeframe, a repositioning cruise may not be the ideal choice for you. However, if you have a more relaxed travel style, appreciate the journey as much as the destination, and are open to the possibility of discovering new and off-the-beaten-path locations, then a repositioning cruise might be the perfect adventure for you.


Reasons for Repositioning Cruises

There are several reasons why cruise lines offer repositioning cruises, and understanding these factors can help you appreciate the unique charm and benefits that come with embarking on such a voyage. Here are a few of the main reasons for repositioning cruises:

  1. Changing Seasons: One of the primary reasons for repositioning cruises is to adapt to changing travel seasons. Cruise lines often cater to different regions depending on the time of year, offering destinations that are popular during specific seasons. By relocating their ships, cruise lines can ensure that they provide passengers with the best possible experience based on the weather and demand.
  2. Maximizing Ship Utilization: Repositioning cruises allow cruise lines to maximize the utilization of their fleet. Instead of keeping a ship idle or sailing it with limited capacity during the off-peak season in a particular region, the ship can be relocated to a different region where it can continue operating at full capacity.
  3. Adding Variety to Itineraries: Repositioning cruises provide cruise lines with the opportunity to diversify their itineraries and offer passengers a unique travel experience. By exploring new destinations or lesser-known ports of call, cruise lines can attract repeat cruisers who are looking for fresh and exciting adventures.
  4. Operational Efficiency: Repositioning cruises also serve as a means for cruise lines to optimize their operational efficiency. By moving ships to different regions, cruise lines can reduce overall operational costs, such as port fees and logistics expenses, while still providing passengers with exceptional service and experiences.
  5. Limited Accessibility: Some destinations may have limited accessibility due to seasonal factors, such as extreme weather conditions or specific events. Repositioning cruises allow cruise lines to offer passengers the chance to visit these destinations during a short window of opportunity, providing a unique and exclusive travel experience.

These reasons contribute to the appeal and popularity of repositioning cruises. Whether it’s the anticipation of discovering new destinations, the allure of an extended time at sea, or the budget-friendly nature of these voyages, passengers can enjoy a one-of-a-kind journey that offers a blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural exploration.


Advantages of Repositioning Cruises

Repositioning cruises offer a multitude of advantages that set them apart from traditional cruise itineraries. From cost savings to unique experiences, here are some key advantages of embarking on a repositioning cruise:

  1. Value for Money: Repositioning cruises often provide excellent value for money. As cruise lines transition between seasons or regions, they offer discounted fares to fill the cabins on these voyages. This gives passengers the opportunity to enjoy luxurious amenities and services at a fraction of the cost of a regular cruise, making it an affordable option for those looking to explore new destinations.
  2. Extended Time at Sea: Unlike traditional cruises with multiple port stops, repositioning cruises offer more days at sea. This allows passengers to truly relax and immerse themselves in the onboard experience. Whether it’s enjoying the sunsets from the deck, indulging in spa treatments, or participating in the wide range of activities and entertainment options available on the ship, there is no shortage of ways to keep busy and make the most of the extended sailing duration.
  3. Exploration of Unique Destinations: Repositioning cruises often include visits to less frequented ports and destinations that are not typically part of mainstream cruise itineraries. This gives passengers the opportunity to explore hidden gems and lesser-known locales, immersing themselves in the local culture and experiencing a different side of travel.
  4. Luxurious Amenities and Services: Cruise lines strive to make the journey as comfortable and enjoyable as possible on repositioning cruises. With fewer passengers onboard, cruisers may experience more attentive service from the ship’s staff. Additionally, cruise lines often offer unique onboard activities and entertainment options to keep passengers engaged and entertained during the extended days at sea.
  5. Relaxed and Unrushed Pace: Repositioning cruises have a more relaxed and unrushed pace compared to traditional itineraries. With fewer port stops and longer sailing durations, passengers can truly unwind and take their time to enjoy all that the ship has to offer. This slower tempo allows for a more immersive travel experience, providing a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

These advantages make repositioning cruises an appealing option for a wide range of travelers. Whether you’re seeking a budget-friendly adventure, longing for extended days of relaxation at sea, or eager to explore unique and off-the-beaten-path destinations, a repositioning cruise can offer you a memorable and rewarding experience.


Considerations for Repositioning Cruises

While repositioning cruises offer a unique and exciting travel experience, there are some important considerations to keep in mind before embarking on such a voyage. Here are a few factors to consider when planning a repositioning cruise:

  1. Itinerary: Take the time to carefully review the itinerary of the repositioning cruise. Since these voyages involve longer sailing durations and fewer port stops, ensure that the destinations and activities align with your preferences. Consider whether you enjoy spending more time at sea or if you prefer frequent port visits.
  2. Sailing Duration: Repositioning cruises often have longer sailing durations compared to traditional itineraries. If you are prone to seasickness or prefer shorter journeys, it’s important to assess your comfort level with spending several consecutive days at sea.
  3. Weather and Season: Research the weather patterns and climate of the regions you will be traveling to during the repositioning cruise. Keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable, especially during transitional seasons. Pack accordingly to ensure you have appropriate clothing for a variety of weather conditions.
  4. Cabin Selection: Choose your cabin wisely based on your preferences and needs. Since you’ll be spending more time on the ship, consider factors such as cabin size, amenities, and location. Balcony cabins or suites can offer breathtaking views during the extended days at sea.
  5. Entertainment and Activities: Understand the onboard entertainment and activities available during the repositioning cruise. Cruise lines often offer special events, guest speakers, and enrichment programs to keep passengers engaged and entertained during the sailing. Research the type of activities that interest you to ensure they align with the cruise you are considering.
  6. Budget: While repositioning cruises can offer significant savings compared to traditional itineraries, it’s important to consider the overall costs. Take into account any additional expenses such as flights to and from the embarkation and disembarkation ports, hotel stays, and excursion costs, to plan your budget effectively.

These considerations will help ensure that you have a smooth and enjoyable repositioning cruise experience. By taking the time to assess your preferences, research the itinerary and onboard offerings, and plan your budget accordingly, you can embark on a repositioning cruise that aligns with your travel desires and expectations.


Popular Destinations for Repositioning Cruises

Repositioning cruises offer the opportunity to explore a wide range of destinations as cruise lines move their ships between regions. Here are some popular destinations for repositioning cruises:

  1. Transatlantic Crossings: Transatlantic repositioning cruises are often sought after by avid cruisers. These voyages typically involve sailing between Europe and North America, crossing the vast Atlantic Ocean. Passengers can enjoy days at sea, experiencing the luxury and elegance of a transatlantic voyage, while making stops at iconic ports such as Barcelona, New York, Southampton, and Miami.
  2. Panama Canal: Repositioning cruises that traverse the Panama Canal provide a remarkable journey through one of the world’s engineering marvels. These cruises often start or end in ports like Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, and include stops in vibrant Central American countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia.
  3. Asia-Pacific: Repositioning cruises in the Asia-Pacific region can take passengers on an unforgettable journey through diverse cultures and breathtaking landscapes. From the bustling cities of Singapore, Tokyo, or Hong Kong, to exotic destinations like Bali, Vietnam, and Thailand, repositioning cruises in this region offer a blend of ancient traditions and modern marvels.
  4. Caribbean: As cruise lines transition between the Caribbean and other regions such as Europe or South America, repositioning cruises in the Caribbean provide a unique way to explore this popular cruising destination. Passengers can enjoy the warm tropical waters, visit stunning islands like St. Maarten, Antigua, or Barbados, and soak up the vibrant Caribbean culture during their time at sea.
  5. Australia and New Zealand: Cruises repositioning between Australia and New Zealand offer passengers the chance to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Southern Hemisphere. From the iconic cities of Sydney and Auckland to the stunning natural landscapes of the Great Barrier Reef and Milford Sound, these cruises provide an unforgettable adventure down under.

These are just a few examples of popular destinations for repositioning cruises. It’s important to note that the availability of repositioning cruises and the specific destinations they cover can vary from year to year and depend on the cruise line’s itineraries and operational requirements.


When choosing a repositioning cruise, consider the destinations that interest you the most and align with your travel preferences. Whether you yearn for transoceanic crossings, want to explore the exotic wonders of Asia or the Caribbean, or have your sights set on Australia and New Zealand, there is bound to be a repositioning cruise that caters to your wanderlust.


Tips for Booking Repositioning Cruises

Booking a repositioning cruise requires careful consideration and planning to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when booking your repositioning cruise:

  1. Research Multiple Cruise Lines: Take the time to research and compare offerings from different cruise lines. Each cruise line may have unique itineraries, ship amenities, and pricing options. Consider factors such as ship size, onboard activities, and overall reputation to find the cruise line that best suits your preferences.
  2. Consider the Sailing Direction: Repositioning cruises can be offered in both eastbound and westbound directions. Consider which direction best aligns with your travel preferences and whether it offers any specific ports or regions you are interested in visiting.
  3. Book Early: Repositioning cruises can sell out quickly due to their popularity and limited availability. It’s advisable to book your repositioning cruise well in advance to secure your preferred cabin type and ensure you can take advantage of early booking discounts.
  4. Be Flexible with Dates: If you have the flexibility to travel during multiple dates, consider booking during the shoulder seasons or off-peak times. This can help you take advantage of lower fares and better deals.
  5. Be Mindful of Seasickness: Repositioning cruises often involve several consecutive days at sea, which may increase the chance of experiencing seasickness for some passengers. If you are prone to motion sickness, consider booking a cabin that is located midship and on a lower deck, as these areas tend to have less movement.
  6. Plan for Long Flights: Depending on the region you are departing or arriving in, repositioning cruises may require long flights or multiple connections. Make sure to factor in travel time and consider arriving at your port of embarkation a day or two early to avoid any potential travel delays or stress.
  7. Review Cancellation Policies: It’s important to understand the cancellation policies of the cruise line before booking your repositioning cruise. Life events and unforeseen circumstances may arise, and knowing the policies in advance can help you make informed decisions and protect your investment.
  8. Consider Purchasing Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is highly recommended for repositioning cruises, especially considering the longer duration and potential risks involved. Travel insurance can provide coverage for trip cancellations, delays, medical emergencies, and lost or damaged belongings, giving you peace of mind throughout your journey.
  9. Stay Updated on Itinerary Changes: Keep in mind that repositioning cruises may undergo itinerary changes due to various factors like weather conditions or logistical constraints. Stay updated with any changes communicated by the cruise line and be flexible in adapting to new routes or port stops.

By following these tips, you can enhance your repositioning cruise booking experience and ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Take the time to plan and research, consider your preferences, and be prepared for the unique aspects of a repositioning cruise to make the most of this exciting travel opportunity.



Repositioning cruises offer a captivating and unique travel experience for those seeking adventure, relaxation, and the opportunity to explore new destinations. With longer sailing durations, fewer port stops, and the chance to immerse oneself in the luxurious amenities of a cruise ship, repositioning cruises provide a different perspective on the cruising experience.


Whether you embark on a transatlantic crossing, traverse the iconic Panama Canal, or explore the exotic wonders of Asia or the Caribbean, repositioning cruises offer a blend of relaxation and cultural exploration. From the extended time at sea, where you can indulge in onboard activities and entertainment, to the chance to visit lesser-known ports and destinations, repositioning cruises provide a unique and unforgettable journey.


When booking a repositioning cruise, it’s important to consider factors such as itinerary, cabin selection, and budget to ensure the best possible experience. Researching multiple cruise lines, being flexible with dates, and planning for long flights are essential. Additionally, staying updated on itinerary changes, understanding cancellation policies, and considering travel insurance can help navigate any unforeseen circumstances that may arise.


Repositioning cruises appeal to a wide range of travelers, offering value for money, an extended time at sea, and the chance to explore unique and off-the-beaten-path destinations. So, whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler seeking a great deal or an adventure seeker looking to discover new horizons, a repositioning cruise can be the perfect choice for your next travel adventure.


Now that you have a better understanding of repositioning cruises and the various considerations involved, it’s time to embark on an unforgettable voyage, embracing the beauty of the open seas and the excitement of discovering new destinations. Bon voyage!