Last Updated: March 30, 2020 to include coronavirus disruptions and the few Spring 2020 repositioning cruise deals still available.
Using cheap repositioning cruise deals to travel around the world can provide for an incredibly affordable way to get from one continent to another in complete luxury. We know this because we’ve now taken over a dozen repositioning cruises all across the world’s oceans and have been carefully tracking repositioning cruise prices during the past decade. As a result, we’ve scored many repositioning cruise deals that have gotten us on over a half year’s worth of these unique sailings between North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and even Africa!
Repositioning cruises can be a wonderful travel experience to slowly voyage from one continent to another, stopping at far-flung ports along the way, with the easy & carefree living that cruise travel delivers. We’ve found cheap repositioning cruise deals can offer considerable savings compared to daily rates of regular closed-circuit cruises. And repositioning cruises often prove to be even less expensive than flights between the same locations. Yet scoring a repositioning cruise deal provides so much more of a travel experience when compared to a cramped seat on a redeye coach flight.
We firmly believe that repositioning cruise deals are the best travel value in the world. The decadent four-course dinners, Broadway-style entertainment, traveling from island-to-island, and retreating at night to a super comfy stateroom can all make for an extravagant travel experience that many would only assume is entirely unaffordable. Yet if you know where to find the best repositioning cruise deals, such extravagance can be easily achievable for less than $50 per day!
Our love of these seasonal one-way cruise deals is so strong that we even utilized a series of repositioning cruises to travel entirely around the world without taking a single flight.We’re now spilling our secrets of where to find these repositioning cruise deals. This article goes in-depth into everything you may have wanted to know about repositioning cruise deals. But we’ve also hand-picked the cheapest last-minute repositioning cruise deals you can find right now for Spring 2020 sailings.
First, let’s dive into exactly how these one-way repositioning cruise deals work and the costs involved.
What is a Repositioning Cruise?
A repositioning cruise is a one-way cruise voyage in which a ship is being relocated from serving one region in the world to another. Most often, these repositioning cruises are due to seasonal changes. Since these ships are being relocated across the world, repositioning cruises also tend to be lengthy voyages with a higher amount of sea days. As a result, demand for these lengthy, off-season, one-way cruises can be naturally low. So repositioning cruise prices can drop dramatically to help entice passengers to come aboard these unique, lengthy, one-way itineraries.
That’s a brief primer on repositioning cruise. For more detail, open our separate article in the link below, and continue reading here for more info on how to score the best repositioning cruise deals.
- Open in a new tab to read more: What is a Repositioning Cruise?
Understand the Common Repositioning Cruise Routes & Timing
Before revealing where to find the best repositioning cruise deals, it’s important to have some understanding about
- when these repositioning cruises are being relocated, and
- where these repositioning cruises actually go.
Repositioning cruises tend to be most active during the change in seasons:
This is because cruise lines try to “reposition” their fleets from one part of the world to another, as weather conditions and travel patterns change. Hence the etymology of a repositioning cruise. They are sometimes also referred to simply as repo cruises or relocation cruises.
Example: Transatlantic Repositioning Cruises
As an example, let’s take a look at transatlantic repositioning cruises to illustrate these seasonal cruise relocations. The Mediterranean Sea boasts pleasantly warm weather and is high season for travel in the summer. So cruise lines often move ships to the Mediterranean in the late Spring to serve the many passengers who desire taking a summer Mediterranean cruise. This occurs during the Caribbean’s hot and stormy summer offseason. So it’s only natural for cruise lines to move ships across the Atlantic around March-May, relocating them from ports serving the Caribbean to ports serving the Mediterranean and Europe.
The reverse occurs each Fall. That’s when many cruise ships are moved from Europe across the Atlantic to Florida, among other home ports serving the Caribbean. It makes sense for cruise lines to send their fleets across the Atlantic in time for the Caribbean’s winter high-season months.
These transatlantic repositioning cruises form the most common repositioning cruise route. But there are many other repositioning cruise routes to consider. Alaskan cruises can’t sail in the winter. So those ships need to go elsewhere, of course! As a result, transpacific cruises can provide interesting itineraries that tend to either voyage through Alaska or even the South Pacific Islands!
Europe-Asia repositioning cruises can provide for more port-intensive journeys. And transiting from North to South America (or vice versa) can be an interesting voyage that often includes a Panama Canal Cruise.
Spring Repositioning Cruises
The most common trend for Spring repositioning cruises is to get ships over to (1) European ports, and to (2) the Pacific Northwest (specifically, Vancouver & Seattle) for Alaska’s summer cruise season.
Below are repositioning cruise routes you can usually find during the spring months.
- Northern Transatlantic: Florida (and US East Coast) ➡️ Europe
- Southern Transatlantic: Argentina & Brazil ➡️ Europe
- Panama Canal: Florida (and US East Coast) ➡️ US Pacific Coast
- TransAmerica Panama Canal: Chile ➡️ Florida
- Southern Transpacific: Sydney & Auckland ➡️ Hawaii, California, & Pacific Northwest
- TransAmerica Pacific: Chile ➡️ California & Pacific Northwest
- TransAsia: Asia (usually Singapore) ➡️ Europe
- MiddleEastern: UAE ➡️ Europe
- TransAfrica: South Africa ➡️ Europe
Fall Repositioning Cruises
During Autumn, cruises are repositioned away from Europe and Alaska. Most commonly ships are move to Florida and US East Coast ports to do Caribbean cruises over the winter months. But cruises are also repositioned to Asia and locations throughout the southern hemisphere.
This is where cruise lines tend to reposition their cruise ships:
- Northern Transatlantic: Europe ➡️ Florida (and US East Coast)
- Southern Transatlantic: Europe ➡️ Argentina & Brazil
- Panama Canal: US Pacific Coast ➡️ Florida (and US East Coast)
- TransAmerica Panama Canal: Florida ➡️ Chile
- Southern Transpacific: Hawaii, California, & Pacific Northwest ➡️ Sydney & Auckland
- TransAmerica Pacific: California & Pacific Northwest ➡️ Chile
- TransAsia: Europe ➡️ Asia (usually Singapore)
- MiddleEastern: Europe ➡️ UAE
- TransAfrica: Europe ➡️ South Africa
- Canadian Maritimes: US East Coast ➡️Quebec, Canada
The above route maps are to provide a general idea as to the timing of repositioning cruises. Exact routes are constantly changing each year. The best repositioning cruise routes for 2020 are detailed later in this article.
So How Cheap Are Repositioning Cruise Deals Really?
Repositioning cruise deals can vary greatly in cost, based on purchasing trends, timing of the purchase, the popularity of the ship, and the appeal of the exact itinerary.
That said, a decent deal for a two-week oceanic crossing can range from around $400-$800 per person. That breaks down to about $30-$60 per person, per night! Personally, we try to shoot for repositioning cruise prices under $50 per night. But sometimes we’ll go beyond that for a great itinerary or if extra perks are included, such as a valuable free beverage package promotion.
During each Spring and Fall season, we regularly see cheap repositioning cruise deals with transatlantic and transpacific itineraries listed for about $500, or even less. As such, a nightly rate of $40 or less per person (before gratuities and port fees) is an achievable repositioning cruise deal each season.
But repositioning cruises can be higher and can drop lower, pending the supply and demand of each particular voyage. On the higher side, there are many repositioning cruises listed for well upwards of $1,000 for a two-week trip on popular ships or with particularly appealing itineraries. But we like to focus on the cheap repositioning cruise deals!
On the lower end, we once spotted a two-week transatlantic repositioning cruise deal for a total of $159! This unfathomable $12/night price-point even included the rare feat of an open bar beverage package included throughout the entire sailing. It seemed too-good-to-be-true. So back in 2016, we booked this insanely low-priced cruise simply to investigate if this deal was truly legit. If you’re curious to know what a $159 two-week cruise is like, then:
- You can read this: Pullmantur Monarch $159 Transatlantic Cruise Review here.
More exotic repositioning cruise routes tend to be even less common and can be priced higher. Yet these more exotic repositioning cruise deals still do abound! Many were surprised to learn the modest cost of our month and a half long journey from Asia to Europe, across the Indian Ocean and through the Suez Canal, using two different ships.
This six week intercontinental repositioning cruise journey depicted below cost us of only $49 per night! It was an incredible lengthy cruise journey of champagne living on a Budweiser budget. We were able to check out so many interesting places along this amazing itinerary, voyaging nearly halfway around the world, from Hong Kong to Italy.
Extra Costs of Repositioning Cruise Deals: Taxes & Gratuities
Do know that the repositioning cruise prices mentioned here are before taxes, port fees, and gratuities. This is the industry standard when quoting cruise prices. So know that the total cost of repositioning cruises will end up being a bit more ofter factoring in these compulsory charges.
Taxes & port fees for repositioning cruises will vary greatly depending on the ship and itinerary. But expect taxes to add at least $100, or more, to the total price for each person. This is all added to the repositioning cruise price during the booking process.
Gratuities are the semi-obligatory tips to deserving wait staff and room attendants. That’ll add $12-$16 per person, per night and typically isn’t charged until you’re onboard the cruise. (Note: For British and Australian passengers, it’s sometimes handled differently.)
So taxes and gratuities do add to the prices mentioned and listed throughout this article. But even after budgeting for those expenses, repositioning cruises are still incredible deals that often remain under $50 per day. In addition to those little extra costs, the section below details everything you should be aware of before booking a repositioning cruise deal.
Beyond the compulsory charges, there’s no major hidden costs for repositioning cruises beyond the typical extras passengers may want to indulge in. For those unfamiliar with cruising, additional expenses may include: alcoholic drinks, specialty restaurants, wifi, spa packages, shore excursions, etc.
So What’s the Catch of a Cheap Repositioning Cruise Deal?
These cheap repositioning cruises may seem like they’re too good to be true. But they’re totally legit. There are no major catches, really.
It’s a common misnomer that repositioning cruise deals are so cheap because they’re boring and stripped-down cruises. That is simply not true!
It’s actually quite the opposite. Cruise lines tend to ramp up activities, lectures, and entertainment during all those extra days at sea. It’s a blast and we never get bored while taking several days at sea to cross an ocean.
The nightly four-course dinners include the same filet mignons and lobster tails passengers indulge in on regular weeklong cruise itineraries. The first-class staterooms are, of course, the same too. So is the level of service.
Meanwhile, the many exotic ports that are visited along the way are arguably the greatest appeal of repositioning cruises. Reaching some of these distant locations would cost a fortune to fly to. Thousands of dollars! Yet a repositioning cruise can provide a seamless and inexpensive way to reach many far-flung destinations, all while voyaging across the ocean in luxury.
Despite our love and praise of cheap repositioning cruise deals, they certainly aren’t for everyone. We strongly advise anyone to fully understand some of the potential downsides before booking your first repositioning cruise across the ocean:
- Travel dates are very specific, not at all flexible, and these deals are only at certain times each year.
- These are lengthy journeys. So while they can be affordable, you’ll need the luxury of time to really take advantage of the deals. A two-week vacation would make for a very tight trip. (Best for retirees, digital nomads, and long-term travelers).
- For passengers who are not continuing onward travel when the repositioning cruise ends, you must account for the cost of returning home. One-way intercontinental flights can add a major expense to the overall trip.
- Some of the best repositioning cruise deals are last-minute. This can make advanced planning complicated and any last-minute flights can become even more expensive.
- The best deals are usually for interior staterooms (meaning, no balcony or window). But inexpensive veranda rooms do come about. And free balcony upgrades can be even easier to achieve on repositioning cruises.
- There tend to be many sea days, which are fun-filled & relaxing (we never get bored). But that may not be for everyone.
- Any expenses onshore while in port are at your own cost, of course. So that’s another cost to budget for. But it can be a minimal expense for those comfortable with independent travel.
- Wifi is often extremely expensive and can be slow. This is a major problem for anyone who needs to stay connected for working online. Here are some cruise wifi hacks to help deal with that.
- Repositioning cruise prices are usually based on double occupancy. So you’ll need a partner or travel buddy to score a cheap deal. Otherwise, solo cruisers are often forced to pay a harsh single supplement fee, which usually ranges 50-100%.
- Alcoholic drinks and even soda onboard are usually not included. So drinks can get pricey. To ease bar tabs, here are 20 proven strategies to get cheap drinks on a cruise.
- Service gratuities will typically add $12-$16 per person, per night, to your daily cost. So this should be budgeted accordingly into total costs.
- Lastly, you must know how to find these repositioning cruise deals. They’re not heavily promoted. Also, the best repositioning cruise deals tend to only be around for short periods of times. But we’re here to show you where the deals are and when to book them!
Know the Best Time to Book Cheap Repositioning Cruises
Trying to book the cheapest price on any cruise can be tricky and is always a bit of a gamble. It can be difficult to predict price fluctuations. We have watched repositioning cruise price trends change year to year, as we constantly track their rates. In doing so, we’ve gained lots of knowledge on how to score the lowest price on repositioning cruises.
Booking within 2-3 Months in Advance Often has Lowest Rates
One thing that has remained consistent is being able to find some of the best repositioning cruise deals by booking fairly last-minute, usually within two to three months before the repositioning cruise is scheduled to debark.
Often with cruises, it’s a good idea to book as early as possible to score the best deal. Decent repositioning cruise deals can be found in advance too. But for particularly for common routes, like transatlantic repositioning cruises, rates are regularly slashed in the few months leading up to embarkation.
This last-minute repositioning cruise booking strategy has been a tried-and-true method we’ve used to uncover some of the best repositioning cruise deals out there. At about 45-90 days prior to embarkation is when cruise lines begin to understand their exact cabin inventory. They must wait until after the cancelation period ends to understand this.
Understand the economics at play. Those who book a cruise in advance have an option to cancel and receive a full or partial refund up until about 2-3 months before the cruise departs. This is known as the cancelation period and it varies by cruise line, ship, and itinerary. Once the cancelation period ends, anyone who booked the cruise are locked into it. Therefor, the cruise lines don’t really know their true occupancy count is unknown until that time frame.
At this point, the cruise lines will often discount remaining cabins greatly in attempts to fill the ship to capacity at the last minute. So during the two-three month period prior to the desired sail date, you can usually find very attractive prices if you have the nerves to hold out that long. (Note: this comes with a realistic risk of prices rising or the cruise selling out.)
A general rule of thumb is the following:
- Spring repositioning cruises: Around February can be an attractive time to buy for March-April sailings.
- Fall repositioning cruises: Buy around August or September for October-November sailings.
We’ve found that for an April embarkation, around February can be the best time of year to make your move. During this timeframe, you actually get a double whammy of good fortune. For one, this time of year is what the cruise industry calls “Wave Season,” a promotional period when cruise lines are offering deep discounts and generous perks such as onboard credit, drink packages, prepaid gratuities, wifi packages, and more.
For the Fall repositioning cruises, the best time to buy tends to be around August and into September. Of course, this all depends on the cruise’s exact departure date, cancelation policy, and recent booking trends.
Why it Can Make Sense to Not Wait to Book Last-Minute
If you see a repositioning cruise that you really like at a price you’re willing to pay, sometimes it can be a wise move to just book it. The most obvious rationale for this is to have the luxury of making international travel plans in advance. And it’s definitely possible to find some decent repositioning cruise deals without having to wait until that semi-last-minute period.
While typically waiting until a few months before the cruise’s departure to buy can be a good bet, above all else, just buy if you see a great deal regardless of the time of year.
There have been instances when we’ve expected a repositioning cruise price to drop, and it has risen. It’s always a gamble depending on booking trends whether the price may rise or fall. If it’s a really nice ship or a very attractive itinerary, the repositioning cruise price can be at even greater risk of rising. And these repositioning cruises actually do sometimes sell out. So if you find a great price on a repositioning cruise you really want to take, it can be smart not to get greedy and wait for price to go lower. Just book it!
The Best Advice for Timing Your Repositioning Cruise Purchase
Really, our best advice on timing your repo cruise booking strategy is this:
If you don’t care much about what cruise line, ship, or itinerary, then it will prove best to wait it out to the 45-90 cancelation period before booking. You will most certainly get an excellent bargain on a sailing, for under $50 per night.
But if there is a particular ship or itinerary that you definitely want to cruise on, then be careful gambling by waiting for rates to potentially drop. Prices could rise unexpectedly, leaving you heartbroken and missing the deal for a specific cruise you’re eyeing.
Best Spring 2020 Repositioning Cruise Deals You Can Book Right Now
🦠 Spring 2020 Repositioning Cruises amidst Coronavirus Outbreak
Each repositioning cruise season, we update this article to highlight the best and cheapest last-minute repositioning cruises. In the next several sections is where we typically post these updated repositioning cruise bargains. But the coronavirus pandemic sure has made a mess of the Spring 2020 repositioning cruise season.
The coronavirus pandemic has greatly disrupted the entire cruise industry, including repositioning cruises. Earlier in the year cruises were routed away from Asia. Then on March 13, the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) announced a voluntary 30-day suspension in U.S. cruise operations., canceling many repositioning cruises departing during the latter half of March and into the first half of April.
As of March 30, most all major cruise lines have extended those suspensions into May, effectively canceling the Spring 2020 repositioning cruise season. These canceled April repositioning cruises include itineraries from Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America, MSC, Costa, and more. Only Norwegian Cruise Line hasn’t made an announcement (yet).
So it is technically still possible to book a few remaining NCL repositioning cruise for April 2020. Although we believe it is unlikely they will actually sail as planned. Anyone considering a last-minute booking should plan for the realistic possibility of those cruises becoming canceled. Prospective passengers must further weigh the risk, heed government warnings, and monitor for potential changes.
Also be familiar with the refund policies in the realistic instance that these last-minute repositioning cruises don’t sail. If you do book for Spring and the cruise line cancels on you, they tend to offer generous future cruise credit (often 125% of the amount paid), or a full refund. So it could prove financially beneficial to book and get canceled upon.
Once cruises resume normal operation, we will be sure to publish some of the best repositioning cruises we’re seeing for the Fall 2020 repositioning cruise season. We foresee some incredible repositioning cruise deals coming about in Fall 2020, as demand will likely decrease, given recent concerns.
Booking a 2020 Spring Repositioning Cruise
Below are a few of the best repositioning cruise deals we’ve found that you may be able to book. We’ve linked to them through our affiliate at CruiseDirect. We’ve chosen to recommend CruiseDirect because of their easy online booking, a low price guarantee, no booking fees, and they maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. But more than any other reason, we recommend CruiseDirect because we regularly find they have the absolute lowest prices and the very best deals. Hence, CruiseDirect is what we’ve been using ourselves to book the last several repositioning cruise deals.
Remember, repositioning cruise prices do regularly fluctuate, sometimes even daily. So be sure to follow the links we’ve left below to confirm the most up-to-date price quote, which may be even lower than what we’ve listed here. With the coronavirus disrupting everything, prices and even itineraries have been changing. So be sure to click through the links to verify pricing.
As we’ve mentioned repeatedly, some of the cheapest repositioning cruise deals are found last minute. This is particularly true in 2020 with so many cancelations. That is why we are currently highlighting the bargains that abound right now for Spring 2020 repositioning cruises.
Before we continue to show how we find these cheap repositioning cruise deals, we’ve already done a lot of the grunt work ourselves to reveal the cheapest repositioning cruise deals for Spring 2020 that we’re seeing right now!
Cheapest Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise Deals: US to Europe 2020
As of late March 2020, most Spring 2020 transatlantic repositioning cruises have been canceled due to coronavirus.
There are still a few NCL deals, departing later in April that are still bookable at the time of last update (March 30).
So the following are the best Spring transatlantic repositioning cruise deals we’re seeing right now:
🔖🚢 The Norwegian Epic is down to $49/night. This year’s transatlantic on the Epic has an attractive 16-night itinerary that’s also heavy on ports throughout Spain. After crossing the Atlantic the Epic will be going to five intriguing Spanish ports throughout the Mediterranean. That’s all after a stop in the Azores and Lisbon. The April 18th departure from Miami starts at $734 for an interior. Check all rates, promos, and availability.
🔖🚢 The Norwegian Dawn is has an attractive itinerary too, departing New York City on April 19. The first have of the 14-day voyage is at sea with a single stop into the Azores. Yet the latter half is a full week of action, stopping into seven different ports throughout Portugal and Spain before arriving into Barcelona. At $53/night, it’s an affordable way to get tour this region of Europe after sailing across the Atlantic. See full itinerary and up-to-date pricing!
For ease of comparing, below is a summary table highlighting the cheapest transatlantic repositioning cruises from the US, for Spring 2020:
Cheapest 20202 South Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise Deals: Latin America to Europe
❌Not available for Spring 2020 due to coronavirus outbreak. 🦠
Transatlantic repositioning cruises don’t just voyage from the US to Europe. European cruise lines, in particular, like to relocate their fleets over to South America and Caribbean countries during the winter months, then back to Europe for the summer cruise season. While flights between South America and Europe can be very expensive, a transatlantic cruise from South America can make for an interesting option to consider instead.
These transatlantic repositioning cruises from South America have either already departed or have been canceled due to the coronavirus. Check back soon for an update on Fall 2021 repositioning deals of the reverse route, from Europe to South America.
Also you can read our review of taking our cheapest repositioning cruise ever, from Panama to Portugal on the Pullmantur Monarch.
Cheapest Spring 2020 TransPacific Repositioning Cruise Deals: South Pacific
❌Not available for Spring 2020 due to coronavirus outbreak. 🦠
Transpacific repositioning cruise deals that go through the South Pacific tend not to come as cheap as the other repositioning cruise routes. Each season we see a handful of these lengthy cruises with daily rates under $100 per day. But rarely under $50 per day. Stopping at many exotic South Pacific islands along the route can make for a particularly appealing way to voyage between Australia and North America over the course of a month. So these ships do tend to fill up.
For those who have the cash, a South Pacific repositioning cruise can be well worth the splurge. When considering how much flights and hotels would add up for a similar itinerary across destinations like Hawaii, Fiji, and New Zealand, then you realize that $2,000 to spend a month voyaging around these islands is actually a heck of a deal!
We saw some of the best deals ever for the Spring 2020 season. Unfortunately, most were canceled. Check back soon for deals we’re finding on the reverse route during Fall 2020, on transpacific repositioning cruises to Australia.
Cheapest Spring 2020 TransPacific Repositioning Cruise Deals: Asia to North America
❌Not available for Spring 2020 due to coronavirus outbreak. 🦠
Spring transpacific repositioning cruises tend to begin departing Asia in late April in order to reach the Pacific Northwest by May to begin the Alaska cruise season. The most common route is Tokyo to Vancouver, as there are typically 3-4 ships making this crossing each season.
Yet for Spring 2020, there are no transpacific cruises making this voyage. For one, some ships had planned to remain in Japan for the now-postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But also the coronavirus outbreak has prevented two ships that were scheduled to make this transpacific repositioning cruise voyage.
The Celebrity Millennium and the Holland American Westerdam changed their itineraries at the last-minute and will not be making their previously-scheduled crossings. Check back on this route for Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 repositioning cruise deals.
Spring 2020 Between the Americas: Panama Canal Repositioning Cruises
The incoming summer months bring on a flurry of repositioning activity throughout the Americas. As cruise season in Alaska starts up, some cruise lines reposition their cruises from the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast, via the Panama Canal. Additionally, ships that cruise South America during the northern hemisphere’s winter need to get repositioned back up to the north. So, often the Panama Canal is involved there too!
While there are regular Panama Canal cruises throughout much of the year, often they are priced much higher and they do not make full transits in many instances.
So Panama Canal repositioning cruises provide an opportunity to score a deal on a Panama Canal itinerary while making a complete transit. It’s a great experience and you can read about our: Panama Canal transit on the Celebrity Infinity.
We’re currently seeing some great prices on these cruises between the Americas. But one thing to understand is high port taxes imposed during any cruise that goes through the Panama Canal. So while it’s a common practice for cruise pricing to be pre-taxed, Panama Canal itineraries are important to fully understand the post-tax pricing before pulling the trigger.
Most Panama Canal repositioning cruises were affected by the cruise suspensions from coronavirus. But one deal remains in April, at the moment.
🔖🚢 The Norwegian Bliss has a fun 21-day itinerary from NYC to Seattle, repositioning through the Panama Canal. The April 19th sailing out of New York is currently down to $61/night, on one of NCL’s newest ships. The itinerary takes passengers to 7 different countries throughout 9 ports, including a full transit through the famed canal, before ultimately reaching Seattle! As of the last update, it’s still planning to sail. Check complete itinerary and rates.
Middle East Repositioning Cruise Deals Between Asia & Europe
Asia-to-Europe repositioning cruise deals can be rare and expensive. But repositioning cruise deals do exist, even between Europe and Asia, with full transits through the Suez Canal! Unfortunately most have been canceled for Spring 2020.
Under normal circumstances, repositioning cruises from Asia to Europe, Singapore is most often used as a departure port. Other options throughout Asia exist too. For a shorter jaunt, voyaging from UAE through the Middle East to Europe can be used as a means to tour this part of the world.
As you may imagine, this route was greatly impacted for Spring 2020 sailings. Upon resume normal cruising operations, we expect some particularly good repositioning cruises deals to be seen on this route for Fall 2020.
More 2020 Repositioning Cruise Deals around the World
We’ve covered the most common repositioning cruise routes above. But there are other exotic repositioning cruise deals that spring up, all around the world. Repositioning cruises to/from South Africa are a new-ish route we most recently took. It’s a great itinerary that spans the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Indian Ocean Islands.
Further routes exist across the globe, such as itineraries from Australia to Asia. Below are some of these other repositioning cruise deals that don’t fit into the other buckets we’ve reviewed above and are still planning to sail in Spring 2020.
🔖🚢Sydney to Tokyo: The Sun Princess is moving from Sydney to Tokyo in the summer. The late-season, July 1 sailing is down to $75/night for this interesting itinerary that spans 10 ports across 7 different countries. And because it’s not until July, there’s hope and optimism this repositioning cruise could actually sail! See full itinerary and prices.
More Tips On How to Find the Best Repositioning Cruise Deals
The above listed deals are the cheapest repositioning cruises out there, at the time of last update (March 2020).
If you want to see what additional repositioning cruises are out there currently listed at higher prices, you may want to do some additional sleuthing on your own. The remainder of this post details our process of how we find some of the cheapest repositioning cruise deals. So if you want to start scouting out other potential itineraries or time frames further out (2020 repositioning cruises and beyond), then continue reading.
Just know that prices will likely shift, sometimes dramatically, the further out you look. That’s why we’ve highlighted these last-minute repositioning cruises departing in Spring 2020.
There are so many cruise search sites out there and so many options to book a cruise. It can become a bit overwhelming and confusing to know where to find the cheapest repositioning cruise deals. Finding these deals can take a lot of time, sleuthing, price monitoring, and perhaps even a bit of gambling to nail them down. That’s why we’ve already done the work to detail what we found to be the cheapest repositioning cruise deals for you.
But if you want to continue searching on your own, read on.
As already mentioned, we do like booking with CruiseDirect as they’re simple, straightforward, no booking fees, have an A+ rating on BBB, and often have the lowest price. They also have a decent search functionality to help find these cheap repositioning cruises.
Yet for more complicated routes, we actually begin searching elsewhere, then move on to sites like CruiseDirect to price compare when the timing seems right.
The following sections offer a step-by-step process on how we hunt down some of the best repositioning cruise deals.
Step 1) Search Carefully for Repositioning Cruise Deals
Although we actually make our bookings with other sites, a first website we often use to uncover these repositioning cruise deals is VacationsToGo.com. They are a cruise travel agency. But their website acts as a great metasearch of all major cruise lines and each of their itineraries. Think of it as the Kayak.com of cruises.
We like searching VacationsToGo over other cruise searches primarily because we find this site to have the most advanced search criteria available. By using their “custom search,” you can filter by much more than the month, cruise line, and broad destination.
It’s possible to really sift through repositioning cruise listings with a fine-toothed comb by specifying price ranges, star-level, must-visit ports, ship size, cruise length, departure port, and so much more. It has extremely flexible functionality, while other cruise search engines tend to have only 5-6 broad search criteria to use.
Also, VacactionsToGo listings tend to be up-to-date and they tend to have very good rates. Often we’ve found it to be the lowest price. If not, they are usually pretty close.
Despite our love for searching using VacationsToGo, once you find a bargain you like, it can be best to compare with other sites to ensure you truly got the best price and perks. Prices and promos can be very different from one agency to another.
Additionally, it’s not possible to book online using VacationsToGo. Instead, you must coordinate a call with one of their travel agents. You also have to get on the phone with an agent even to simply get a price quote that includes all the taxes or to confirm availability. It can get cumbersome and time-consuming.
So once we find we a repositioning cruise deal we like, we instead get a complete price quote on CruiseDirect. It does allow you to see the total price, including taxes. It further allows you to seamlessly complete the transaction entirely online, without the need for a phone call.
That said, we do find VacationToGo’s search functionality to be superior. So here are some details on how we recommend getting started to find a repositioning cruise deal by searching using their advanced search functionality.
2a) Give Up an Email Address
In order to search using VacationsToGo, you must provide them with your email address. They don’t spam you with tons of solicitations. I just get one email per week (usually on a Wednesday). You can easily opt-out of the emails later if you want. But for now, just give them your email so you can continue with your search for a repositioning cruise deal.
2b) Perform a “Custom Search”
Next, go to “Custom Search.” It’s on the upper left side of the home page. It’s a little blue text link in the upper-left corner of the screen, just below the main search. Click the “Custom Search” text which will then take you to a form with lots of options.
2c) Carefully Filter the Search Criteria
Under destination, select options such as “Transatlantic” or “Repositioning” to see listings categorized for each of these. Then use whatever other filters that may be important for you. You will certainly want to filter by dates to select the months and year.
Maybe you also would only consider a 4-star ship or higher. Or perhaps you want to look for repositioning cruise deals leaving only particular ports near wherever you live or where you are traveling so you don’t have to buy an expensive last-minute flight (e.g., filter for departures from Florida only). Maybe you prefer a smaller or larger ship, in which case you can filter by the number of passengers.
Those are all great search criteria to consider playing around with. However, for your first few searches, we recommend that you use fewer filters in order to yield more results. You can always go back and refine your filters later. To start, try only filtering only by “destination” and “dates.”
It’s also important to note that we have found repositioning cruises that are not listed as “repositioning cruises.” For example, sometimes more exotic repositioning cruise routes that include South America, the Middle East, or Africa, won’t be classified as repositioning cruise, even though they are. Instead, they may be categorized as an “African Cruise” or “South America” cruise. This can make searching around more difficult, because filtering by “repositioning cruise” can erroneously omit these interesting itineraries.
Therefore, it can sometimes be worthwhile to play around with these searches to uncover hidden gems like those we’ve pointed out. Further searching for South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East can ultimately uncover those routes.
2d) Reveal the Cost Per Night
Before viewing the search results, we recommend tweaking one more thing on the results screen. When considering longer itineraries like repositioning cruises, it’s important to not overly focus on the total price. A more relevant figure is the “Price Per Night” cost of the cruise.
A $699 11-day cruise may seem like a great deal compared to $999 cruise. But if that $999 cruise is a 21-day sailing that lengthens the itinerary with some amazing ports, the $999 cruise would be a much better value than the $599 cruise. It’s the difference of taking a $63/night cruise or a $47/night cruise.
You don’t need to do all this math on your own. VacationsToGo allows you to normalize the results to show the price per night. This nightly price is not shown by default, but you can easily reveal it by selecting the “Price Per Night” button in the upper right-hand corner.
Now that you have the price per night enabled, you can even re-sort your listings to sift through the best value cruises based upon the nightly price. We recommend doing that!
See the screenshot below which includes nearly a dozen itineraries on some great ships all for less than $50 per person, per day. (You can also see just how good the repositioning cruise deals are in the Spring!)
2e) Go Find an Inexpensive Repositioning Cruise Deal!
Now peruse through all of the itineraries, ships, and prices to find the best repositioning cruise deal that suits you.
Step 3: Compare Prices Across Agencies for the Cruise You Want
After finding the perfect voyage using VacationsToGo, it’s a wise idea to price compare with other agencies. Often VacationsToGo indeed has the best (or equal) prices. But around half the cruises we’ve booked, we’ve found their prices & promos can be beaten.
When comparing prices, you must factor in more than just the cruise price alone. We recommend to also take into account the perks and bonuses each cruise agency may be offering. Some agencies may offer promotions such as onboard credit, prepaid gratuities (that adds up to hundreds of dollars!), free hotel stays, or even something simple like a bottle of champagne in your cabin.
Pay attention to the perks in addition to the pricing since this can ultimately be the difference of hundreds of dollars. For example, if Agency A offers your desired cabin for $499 with no perks while Agency B offers that same cabin for $599 yet includes a $300 onboard credit, it actually would make sense to book with Agency B even despite their higher price. (Note: you can turn that onboard credit into cash using one of these cruise hacks).
Compare the True Total Costs, Not Just the Base Fares
To really compare costs after promotions are added in, we get a bit geeky with a calculation. This allows us to more fairly compare prices after factoring in any generous bonuses. and more fairly compare. Here’s the equation we use:
+ taxes & port fees
+ gratuities (unless prepaid gratuities are included)
– onboard credit
= total cruise cost
Then, total cruise cost ÷ number of nights = true nightly cost of the cruise.
After factoring in taxes, any free paid gratuity offers, and accounting for onboard credit, we now have the true total cost of what we’re actually going to have to pay for the cruise. It’s a more fair way to compare the prices instead of simply looking at the base rates.
Again, to access the total fares online, you have to use a site different than VacationsToGo, because they only will give you the total rates if you call over the phone.
Compare Repositioning Cruise Prices
So after scouting out a deal on VacationsToGo, we find it worthwhile to check these other two sites for a second opinion. Sometimes the prices & perks are all the same. Other instances one of these sites will have a better deal.
More so, another benefit to checking on CruiseDirect is that it allows you to see the entire cruise cost online. When using CruiseDirect, once you get to the payment screen, they’ll show you the true price of the cruise including all the taxes and port charges.
So after completing these two price comparisons, you’ll now have prices from three competing agencies. This should give you the confidence to book the one with the best price or at least know they’re all the same. Likely, most price quotes will be very close to one another. But, again, look carefully for those perks, promos, and bonuses!
(Optional) Continue to Compare Across Even More Agencies
⚠️ Warning: the following steps can be tedious, time-consuming, and ultimately not prove worthwhile to pursue. Plan to spend at least 20-30 minutes completing them, if not longer. Usually, this results in time being squandered, as we don’t find any offers that beat what we’ve found by this point.
However, if you really want to ensure that you’ve definitely found the best repositioning cruise deal, performing these added steps may help you to sleep at night and book with confidence.
But if you value your time and you’re happy with the deal you’ve found by now, then just go ahead and book it.
Below are more popular online cruise travel agencies to consider searching. We’re affiliated with some, yet we don’t recommend any one of these over the other. If you have the time to compare, give ’em a try. They’re all reputable sites. So search each one for the specific cruise you’re interested in, then book with whoever has the best price.
- Priceline Familiar & reliable travel site and you can book your cruise entirely online. Note: They have a $24.99 booking fee, but sometimes have perks, like $50 hotel vouchers, that outweighs the fee. We’ve had success with Priceline occasionally having the best repositioning cruise deal. TrustPilot score: 4-stars.
- CheapCruises.com Claims to be “the biggest.” Sometimes has interesting promos. Allows you to book online but also imposes a $24.99 processing fee.
- iCruise.com You can book online and no booking fee. TrustPilot score: 5-stars.
- Expedia Cruises Familiar and reliable travel site.
- Local Travel Agency – If you have a travel agent, give them a call and see if they can meet or beat the repositioning cruise prices & promos you’ve already found.
- Direct with Cruise Line – Agencies almost always tend to have a better deal compared to booking directly with the cruise line, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check.
Step 4: Buy!
If you’ve found a cabin on a sailing you want and your plans are flexible, keep an eye on it until a few months out to purchase. But if your plans aren’t flexible and you really like the repositioning cruise deal you see now, it’s probably best to strike while you can. Prices could go down, but you may be very disappointed if it turns the other way.
Step 5: After Booking, Continue Monitoring the Fare for Price Drops
Even if you’ve purchased your repositioning cruise deal, it’s still very possible to get a lower fare. Most of the time cruise lines and agencies will honor the new pricing and will refund you the difference or at least provide onboard credit if the price drops before the cancelation period.
So it’s very worthwhile to continue monitoring prices, even if you’ve already booked your repositioning cruise and paid. Cruise lines and agencies will not notify you of these price drops that could result in free money back to you, so you must watch for this on your own to claim. Note that the price change must be for the exact same stateroom category, so watch for that.
If you booked your repositioning cruise deal after the cancelation period, as recommended to get a very low price, you are likely no longer eligible cancel or book any new rates that arise. But it doesn’t hurt to call and ask anyway. It may give you some leverage to swing a free cabin upgrade if one is available. (Note: See our post here about 10 Secrets to Getting a Free Balcony Upgrade on a Cruise).
Here are a few ways you can monitor the prices, which you’ll really want to do if you purchased before the cancelation period.
- Simply use online searches to occasionally keep tabs on the price. It’s cumbersome but effective. Bookmark the cruise’s fare page and check back regularly. That’s what we do. It takes 10-seconds each morning as I sip my coffee.
- There are pay services that will monitor the prices and will email you an alert if and when the price for your exact stateroom room category for your sailing drops. The service starts at about $5 and can be a worthwhile way to effortlessly keep tabs on the fare. We’ve never used them since we almost always buy last minute, post-cancelation period, so we can’t personally recommend them. But you may want to consider looking into cruisefaremonitor.com and cruisefish.net if this service is of interest to you.
Good Luck and Bon Voyage!
So that’s it.
We hope you find a hugely discounted repositioning cruise deal! Happy hunting and bon voyage! 🚢
For more ways to save money while cruising, be sure to check out our big cruise master post about all of our cruise tips & tricks:
And to see how we used four different repositioning cruises to travel entirely around the world without flights, be sure to read our big fat post about:
Publishing Note: This post is continually updated with the latest information and repositioning cruise deals. Last updated: March 30, 2020. We’ll strive to update it regularly throughout the rest of the year and beyond, so feel free to bookmark this page and check back for Fall 2020 repositioning cruises and 2021 repositioning cruises.