Last Updated: August 25 to also include the cheapest last-minute Fall 2019 repositioning cruise deals to book now!
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 sixteen repositioning cruises all across the world’s oceans, sailing between North America, South America, Europe, and Asia!
Repositioning cruises can be a wonderful travel experience to slowly voyage from one continent to another, stopping at far-flung ports along the way all with the easy, carefree living that cruise travel delivers. We’ve found cheap repositioning cruise deals can often prove to be even less expensive than flights between the same locations. Yet scoring a repositioning cruise deal provides so much more than 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 the best repositioning cruise deals are, 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 cruise to travel entirely around the world without taking a single flight. You can see all the details on our strategy and our complete budget from that 300-day voyage in this separate post. And check out the highlights of this round-the-world repositioning cruise voyage in the video below:
- Open in another tab to read next: How To Achieve the Impossible: A Cheap World Cruise
We’re now spilling our secrets of where to find these repositioning cruise deals. We even picked out some of the cheapest last-minute repositioning cruise deals you can find and book right now for Fall 2019 sailings. But first, we’d like to take a minute to explain a little bit about how these one-way repositioning cruise deals work and the costs involved.
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So How Cheap Are Repositioning Cruise Deals Really?
Repositioning cruise deals can vary greatly in cost, but they can regularly be found ranging in price from $400-$800 for an entire two-week oceanic crossing. 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.
Transatlantic repositioning cruises tend to be the most common repositioning itinerary and often can be the cheapest too. During each Spring and Fall season, we regularly see cheap repositioning cruise deals with transatlantic itineraries listed for about $500, or even less. Usually, these are for 13 or 14-night trips, stopping at Caribbean islands along the way. As such, a nightly rate of $40 or less per person (before gratuities and port fees) is an achievable repositioning cruise deal to voyage from the US to Europe or vice versa.
But repositioning cruises can be higher and can drop lower. Prices can greatly depend on supply and demand.
On the lower side, we once spotted a two-week transatlantic repositioning cruise deal for a total of $159! This unfathomable $12/night pricepoint 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 our: Pullmantur Monarch $159 Transatlantic Cruise Review here.
Meanwhile, transpacific repositioning cruises are less common and tend to be longer, given that it’s a wider ocean to cross. Yet some of the transpacific repositioning cruise deals can be just a great of deals as the transatlantics. Each Fall and Spring season, we usually do see at least two transpacific repositioning cruise deals priced under the $50/night range.
It can be quite an affordable and interesting way to travel between North America and Asia! And such cheap transpacific repositioning cruises usually make stops in Alaska, which can be turn out to be the most affordable way to cruise the famed Inside Passage.
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.
The month and a half long 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.
Yet whichever repositioning cruise route we’ve taken, we tend to find these bargains by booking fairly last-minute, usually within two months before the cruise is scheduled to debark. This last-minute repositioning cruise booking strategy has been a tried-and-true method we’ve used to uncover some of the cheapest repositioning cruise deals out there.
We’ll explain in more detail about this last-minute booking strategy later in this post. But if you want a bit more of a primer about repositioning cruises in general, you can read our separate explanation here:
Extra Costs of Repositioning Cruise Deals: Taxes & Gratuities
Do know that the repositioning cruise prices mentioned here are before taxes and gratuities, as this is the industry standard when quoting cruise prices.
Taxes for repositioning cruises will vary greatly depending on the ship and itinerary. But do expect taxes to add at least $100 or so to the total price. This is charged when you book the cruise.
Gratuities are the semi-obligatory tips to deserving wait staff and room attendant. That’ll add $11-$15 per person, per night and typically isn’t charged until you’re on board.
So taxes and gratuities do add slightly to the prices mentioned. Yet even after budgeting in those expenses, these 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.
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 perhaps 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 travels).
- For passengers who are not continuing onward travel when the repositioning cruise ends, you must account for the cost of returning home. A 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 verandas 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 double.
- Alcoholic drinks and even soda onboard are usually not included. So drinks can get pricey. To ease bar tabs, here are 10 proven strategies to get cheap drinks on a cruise.
- Service gratuities will typically add $11-$15 per person, per night, to your daily cost. So this should be budgeted accordingly into total costs.
- Lastly, you’ve 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!
Understand the Common Repositioning Cruise Routes & Timing
Two key concepts to repositioning cruises is having an understanding when they go and where they 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 changes. Hence the etymology of a repositioning cruise. They are sometimes also referred to simply as repo cruises or relocation cruises.
For example, since the Mediterranean Sea boasts warm weather and is high season for travel in the summer, cruise lines often move ships to the Med in the late Spring to take advantage of this. Meanwhile, the Caribbean’s hot and stormy summer is offseason in that part of the world. So it’s only natural for cruise lines to move ships across the Atlantic around March-May, relocating them from the Carribean to the Med.
The reverse occurs each Fall. That’s when many cruise ships are moved from Europe across the Atlantic to Florida, among other North American locations. These are popular warm-weather cruising destinations throughout the winter months.
These transatlantic cruises are the most common repositioning cruise routes. As such, transatlantic cruises tend to provide the cheapest repositioning cruise deals each year. In the Fall, you can find many affordable routes across the Atlantic from European locations such as London, Barcelona, Rome, Venice, and Copenhagen. While in the Spring, loads of ships travel westbound from the US to ports throughout Europe.
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.
Here are some repositioning cruise routes you can usually find during the spring months.
During Autumn, this is where cruise lines tend to reposition their cruise ships.
Note: the above maps are simply for example purposes to provide some general idea as to the timing of repositioning cruises. Exact routes are constantly changing and there are always exceptions. Often additional itineraries come about from odd world cruise segments or even brand new ships that are built in one place but need to be positioned somewhere.
So where do we find these cheap repositioning cruise deals? We’re getting to that!
Cheapest Fall 2019 Repositioning Cruise Deals You Can Book Right Now!
We’ll soon delve into our tactics for finding the best repositioning cruise deals. But below are a few deals we’ve found that you can book right now through our affiliate at CruiseDirect, which offers easy online booking, a low price guarantee, no booking fees, maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and has some of the best deals & promos we’ve seen.
In fact, CruiseDirect is what we used ourselves to book our last repositioning cruise deal when we crossed the Atlantic on the brand new Norwegian Bliss.
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. The price displayed below are current at the time of last updating this post (June 2019) and may have changed since this last update. Click through to verify pricing.
As we’ve mentioned repeatedly, some of the cheapest repositioning cruise deals are found last minute. So that is why we are currently highlighting the bargains that abound right now for Fall 2019 repositioning cruises.
Based on our experience, summer can be the perfect time to book a cheap Fall repositioning cruise. We tend to see the most attractive rates approximately 1-4 months before the cruise departs. If you’re looking for a cheap 2020 repositioning cruise deal (or later) on a common repositioning cruise route, it is possible to find deals in advance. But it can often prove to be a positive gamble to wait to book. Particularly so for those who aren’t as picky as to the exact ship or itinerary, an attractive last-minute deal will almost always beat the rates found in advance.
And if you can take off last-minute for one of these Fall 2019 repositioning cruises that depart September, October and November, now and into the next few months can be the best time to book!
So 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 that we’re seeing right now!
We’ve actually booked one of these Fall 2019 repositioning cruises ourselves. So maybe we’ll see crossing an ocean!
Cheapest Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise Deals: Europe to US 2019
As of August 2019, we’re now really seeing some low-priced repositioning cruises – woohoo! Now is the time to buy in many instances.
Currently, there are at least a half-dozen transatlantic repositioning cruises sailing in the next few months with prices at $50 per day or less! Lock in those rates while you can. They likely won’t last. There are another 10 or so transatlantics with prices at $60 per day. These are also excellent buys right now!
Just realize that when repositioning cruise prices do get around the $50/night mark, these prices tend not to last long. We’ve already seen a few cruise prices dip down that low and then went back up again. Supply and demand. So if you see a low price, it’s best to act fast!
The following are the best Fall 2019 transatlantic deals we’re seeing right now.
🔖🚢 The Norwegian Star is currently the cheapest 2-week transatlantic repositioning cruise that goes from Europe to mainland US. The 14- day itinerary voyages from Barcelona to Miami for
$649 $549 with three ports in Spain, Madeira, and the Azores. This two-week transatlantic repositioning cruise breaks down to $48 $39 per night and has some interesting upgrade options for select (higher priced) categories. For example, pay the $699 rate and that will include NCL’s unlimited beverage package (valued at $100+ per day). Check current promotions and rates.
🔖🚢 For an interesting and inexpensive lengthy itinerary, check out the Norwegian Getaway’s 19-day voyage. It travels all the way from Copenhagen to New Orleans at a price that amounts to $42/day. Along the way, it stops in Holland, France, 2 ports in England, Ireland, the Azores, Bermuda, NCL’s private Bahamian island, and even Miami. What varied itinerary! Check availability and current rates.
🔖🚢 Holland America’s newest ship, the Nieuw Statendam is doing a very well-priced transatlantic crossing from Rome to Fort Lauderdale in late October. This really nice ship will be cruising to three ports in Spain plus two stops in the Azores. And it’s currently at an all-time low of $42/day for interiors. Check for more info and prices.
🔖🚢 Norwegian’s brand new Encore will be making its debut transatlantic voyage in November, from Southampton to NYC! It’s also the cheapest transatlantic we’re seeing this season so far when looking at the total price. Only $429 per person scores an inside cabin on this cruise that’ll still have that new ship smell! Outside staterooms and veranda balconies aren’t much more. It’s a direct itinerary with no port stops along the way. But you do get a free overnight in NYC, as the ship pulls into Manhatten the evening before disembarkation. It all comes out to $48. Check current rates and availability.
🔖🚢 The Celebrity Silhouette is making an enticing transatlantic voyage at an attractive price. It begins in Southampton (near London) and makes a straight shot to New York City, with a rare overnight docked in Manhatten on Halloween! After two days in NYC, the ship continues on for a stop into Boston. Then it’s another overnight – this time, in Bermuda! It continues onto Nassau, Bahamas, before ultimately disembarking in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This bargain is $53/night right now. Check the full itinerary and today’s price.
🔖🚢 For a very active transatlantic deal, check out the Norwegian Pearl‘s awesome itinerary! We’ve been closely monitoring repositioning cruises for many years and I don’t think we’ve ever seen such a port-intensive transatlantic route. While it can be common to spend about a full week at sea crossing the Atlantic, the Pearl breaks up its voyage with many stops and minimal sea days. Beginning in Rome the ship proceeds to 5 European ports across 4 different countries, before moving onto the Azore islands and a rare overnight port stop in Bermuda! The Pearl then continues on to Port Canaveral, Florida, before ultimately disembarking in Miami. The 16-night itinerary, currently priced at $55 per day, is quite the deal to pack in many destinations all in one repositioning cruise. Check current rates and availability.
🔖🚢 The Holland America Koningsdam offers another transatlantic bargain, cruising from Rome to Fort Lauderdale for $791. The 13-night itinerary makes two port calls in Spain, then makes a stop in the autonomous Portuguese islands of Madeira, before ultimately making a beeline across the Atlantic during a week at sea. It’s the last ship that we’ve personally been on and we loved this 5-star musically-themed cruise. Check current prices & availability.
🔖🚢 For those who have the time and would enjoy an Italian ship that caters to a European crowd, definitely consider the attractive rates of these lengthier transatlantic itineraries (17-34 days) on the Costa Luminosa. There’s actually a few different departure ports and itineraries to check out, departing from various cities in Italy or Marseilles, France to ultimately reaching Fort Lauderdale. It’s an attractive itinerary too with stops in the Canary Islands and all throughout the Carribean. We’ve taken a repositioning cruise on Costa ourselves and enjoyed the Italian pizzaz as much as the Italian food. And right now these transatlantics from Bari, Italy, are priced at $48 per night! While the total price of this transatlantic repositioning cruise may seem on the higher side ($1,146), given the lengthy itinerary, this nightly rate of $48 is actually the lowest around. Check current availability and prices.
🔖🚢 The MSC Divina also has a nice long transatlantic itinerary, taking 20 days to relocate from Genoa, Italy, to Miami. It’s a really great port-intensive itinerary too for what amounts to $54 per night! It includes three European ports, then an overnight in the Azores, and five days in port in the Carribean that includes an overnight stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico! This is really a great itinerary with great value to match! Check current prices and availability.
The table below summarizes the aforementioned transatlantic repositioning cruise deals, sorted by price per night.
|Norwegian Star||Nov 22||Barcelona||Miami||$39|
|Norwegian Star||Nov 22||Barcelona||Miami||$39|
|NCL Getaway||Oct 20||Copenhagen||New Orleans||$42|
|HAL Nieuw Statendam||Oct 27||Rome||Ft Lauderdale||$43|
|Costa Luminosa||Nov 8||Italy||Ft Lauderdale||$48|
|NCL Encore||Nov 2||London||NYC||$48|
|Celebrity Silhouette||Oct 24||London||Lauderdale||$53|
|MSC Divina||Nov 5||Italy||Miami||$55|
|NCL Pearl||Oct 14||Rome||Miami||$55|
Cheapest Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise Deals: Europe to South America
Transatlantic repositioning cruises don’t just voyage from Europe to the US and Carribean. European cruise lines, in particular, like to relocate their fleets over to South America during the winter months. While flights from Europe to South America can be very expensive, a transatlantic cruise to South America can make for a very interesting option to consider.
We’re currently seeing some great rates too! Right now, nearly a half dozen ships have rates around the $50 per night range for various transatlantic voyages from Europe to South America during November 2019.
Right now the cheapest Europe to South America route is on the 3-star Pullmantur Sovereign for about $500 with a rate that includes open bar! This may not be the nicest ship making the transatlantic crossing. But the already low rate with an included beverage package may knock this one into consideration for those who like to drink more than the luxury.
For some nicer European ships heading across the Atlantic to South America, be sure check availability and pricing at the following four ships that all have November repositioning cruise deals around the $50 per night range:
|Costa Fascinosa||Nov 17||Savona IT||Rio / Santos||$43|
|MSC Fantasia||Nov 2-3||Marseille / Genoa||Rio / Santos||$52|
|MSC Poesia||Nov 27-28||Marseille / Barcelona||Rio / Santos||$55|
Cheapest Fall 2019 TransPacific Repositioning Cruise Deals: North America to Asia
Fall transpacific repositioning cruises tend to depart in September at the end of the Alaska cruise season. Some cruise lines send their fleets down to South America or to the Carribean / Florida, while a handful of ships get relocated over to Asia. Typically, the cheapest transpacific cruise deals go from Vancouver to Tokyo and include an abundance of sea days during the crossing.
We’ve seen two transpacific repositioning cruises with nightly rates under $50 this season. It can be an absolute steal to cross the Pacific in luxury for over two weeks for what amounts to about $500 or so. As of the last update, only the Westerdam’s late September sailing is left.
🔖🚢 Right now the cheapest transpacific repositioning cruise can be found on the Holland America’s Westerdam from Vancouver to Tokyo, at $593 for the 13-night transpacific crossing. It departs in late September and is particularly heavy on sea days. Yet it does manage to make a port call in Juneau, Alaska, before crossing the Pacific and two stops in Japan. The 5-star ship then disembarks in Yokohama (near Tokyo). It’s a fairly lackluster itinerary, yet the $43/night rate makes this sailing an attractive option, in addition to being a very affordable way to get to Japan. This is a cruise to consider splurging on an outside or balcony stateroom, as those rates are just slightly higher than inside cabins. Check rates now.
🔖🚢 Celebrity Millennium has a similar voyage to the aforementioned Westerdam. But it departs soon, is on the verge of being sold-out, and prices are higher for it right now compared to earlier this year. But the overnight in Yokohama (port near Tokyo) makes this an attractive option to consider for a super last-minute repositioning cruise getaway. See the itinerary and current rates.
|HAL Westerdam||Sept 29||Vancouver||Tokyo (Yokohama)||$50|
|Celebrity Millennium||Sept 6||Vancouver||Tokyo (Yokohama)||$62|
Cheapest Fall 2019 TransPacific Repositioning Cruise Deals: South Pacific
Transpacific repositioning cruise deals that go through the South Pacific to Oceania and Southeast Asia 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 get to Australia over the course of several weeks. 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-$2,100 to spend a month voyaging around these islands is actually a heck of a deal!
🔖🚢 There’s currently an interesting repositioning cruise deal on the Carnival Splendor, as it gets moved across the Pacific from LA to Singapore for a refurbishment project, before being transitioned to Carnival Australia. The lengthy voyage has a pretty bare itinerary. Yet it’s a lengthy 24-night itinerary at an attractive price, with interior rates hovering around $50/night. The October 5th cruise departs LA makes two port calls in Hawaii, continues to Guam, stops into Malaysian Borneo, then Vietnam, before arriving to Singapore. There are lots of sea days in between. Eighteen of them to be exact. There are much better transpacific repositioning cruise itineraries through the South Pacific, but you won’t find one cheaper than this. Check up-to-date prices.
🔖🚢 Currently, the cheapest transpacific cruise through the South Pacific islands is on the Golden Princess. The 20-night itinerary goes from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia. The ports that break up this transpacific repositioning cruise include two stops in Hawaii, Bora Bora, Tahiti, and American Samoa, before ending in Aukland, New Zealand. For what amounts to about $600 for each week of the nearly three-week transpacific repositioning cruise, this is a steal. It departs San Fransico on September 28th. Snag this one while it lasts! See full itinerary and current prices.
🔖🚢 Also, consider Holland America’s Noordam. The monthlong transpacific crossing from Vancouver to Sydney departs October 13. It’s even more port-intensive than the others mentioned here, for a great itinerary at the cheapest rate! Ports include three stops in Hawaii, American Samoa, three stops in Fiji, and three stops in New Caledonia. This is what Pacific dreams are made of and definitely worth considering for what amounts to a bucket list repositioning cruise and still less than $500 for each week! See itinerary and current rates.
Or you can even have an option to jump on this ship for just a short weeklong jaunt from Vancouver to Hawaii. It’s a boring direct itinerary. Yet at $395, it could prove to be a relaxing and affordable way to spend a week cruising to Hawaii at a cost that comes cheaper than a flight. Check availability & price for this shorter route.
🔖🚢 There’s also the Ruby Princess that spends a full four weeks voyaging from LA to Sydney, departing September 24th. This grand South Pacific itinerary is a bit on the pricy side, yet it still comes less than $100 per day. This is yet another very attractive itinerary full of exotic ports, so it’s still one to consider. See full itinerary and up-to-date pricing.
Compare these South Pacific repositioning cruise itineraries:
|Carnival Splendor||Oct 5||LA||Singapore||$54|
|Golden Princess||Sept 28||San Fran||Auckland / Sydney||$74|
|HAL Noordam||Oct 13||Vancouver||Auckland / Sydney||$77|
|Ruby Princess||Sept 24||LA||Sydney||$92|
Fall 2019 Panama Canal Repositioning Cruises
The incoming winter months bring on a flurry of repositioning activity throughout the Americas. We’ve already covered how Alaskan cruises get relocated to Asia and Australia.
But they also get relocated over to Hawaii and down to South America. While it’s winter in the northern hemisphere, it’s summer down below the equator. So ships get relocated from the US Pacific coast to South America or over to Florida then onward to South America.
It’s only natural that these cruises make the voyage through the Panama Canal. 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 here 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.
Here are some of the best rates we’re seeing right now for Fall 2019 repositioning cruises between the Americas:
🔖🚢 The Norwegian Star takes over two weeks in December to voyage from Miami all the way down to Santiago, Chile, with seven interesting South American ports called on all along the way. Yet another highlight is the full transit through the Panama Canal. At a mere $40 per night, the current rate is one of the best repositioning cruise deals you can find right now. Check prices & availability.
🔖🚢 Also consider the Holland America Zaandam, departing in October on a similar itinerary. This Panama Canal repositioning cruise from Miami to Chile is full of interesting South American ports. It includes two overnight stops along with the full Panama Canal transit. Right now we’re seeing rates of $47/night for the 17-day voyage. See full itinerary and prices.
🔖🚢 Spending 21 nights on the Norwegian Bliss could prove to be an incredible way to cruise from LA to New York at what amounts to about the same price as an overnight flight! Rates are currently running about $47/day for this very extensive itinerary with ports across Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, before arriving in NYC in time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. See full itinerary and current rates.
🔖🚢 The Holland America Volendam sales from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale this October on another attractive Panama Canal repositioning cruise itinerary. After ports throughout Mexico and a full transit, this cruise makes stops at all three of the ABC islands! Check out the full itinerary and up-to-date prices.
🔖🚢 The Norwegian Joy will be spending October on a Panama Canal repositioning cruise from LA to Miami. It’s a nice itinerary with many Pacific Coast stops throughout Mexico and Central America, before transiting the Panama Canal, and a final stop into Aruba before ending in Miami. At $59 per night, it’s a great rate too. Check current prices & availability.
Here’s a summary chart of these Panama Canal and Hawaii repositioning cruise itineraries:
|NCL Star||Dec 6||Miami||Chile||$40|
|HAL Zaandam||Oct 16||Miami||Chile||$47|
|NCL Bliss||Nov 3||LA||NYC||$47|
|HAL Volendam||Oct 1||San Diego||Ft Lauderdale||$52|
|Norwegian Joy||Oct 11||LA||Miami||$59|
Middle East Repositioning Cruise Deals Between Asia to Europe
Asia-to-Europe repositioning cruise deals can be rare and expensive. But repositioning cruise deals do exist, even between Europe and Asia.
🔖🚢 Definitely consider the 20-day voyage on the MSC Lirica from Venice to Dubai. This incredible deal is one of the cheapest repositioning cruises we’ve seen all season, as it breaks down to only $39 per day – for an oceanview stateroom! It’s a really packed itinerary too that spans Croatia, the Greek islands, Cyprus, the Suez Canal transit, Petra (Jordan), Israel, lots of Oman port calls, and an overnight stop in Dubai. This is an amazing deal to jump on. Confirm pricing and see the full itinerary.
🔖🚢 The Celebrity Constellation also has some very attractive rates right now on a similar voyage from Italy to Dubai. This 15-night cruise doesn’t have quite the packed itinerary. Yet this Suez Canal repositioning cruise still makes some fun stops in Sicily, Greece, and Petra, on this journey to Dubai. With staterooms below $700 that works out to $43/night, this is another fantastic deal on a great ship. See full itinerary and current rates.
🔖🚢 Another attractive repositioning cruise through the Middle East is on the Norwegian Jade. Along with many Western Medertarian ports, this cruise is of interest due to the three full days docks in Israel and the two full days in Luxor. This November repositioning cruise will give passengers plenty of time to explore on land during these lengthy overnight stays. Check prices and complete itinerary.
🔖🚢 For a repositioning cruise deal from Europe all the way to SE Asia, Costa Fortuna sailings, which allows passengers to depart from a choice of multiple locations in Europe to ultimately get to Singapore and is currently priced around $66 per night. Check all prices and itineraries here.
🔖🚢 For another Europe to Singapore cruise, consider the Sapphire Princess. It departs Rome on Nov. 10 and makes a 27-day voyage towards Singapore. It’s an interesting route with a handful of attractive ports in the Mediterranean, then through the Suez Canal, a stop into Jordan (for Petra), then on to Dubai. There’s an option to disembark there on a 16-day itinerary, but it’s a much better bang for your buck with lower nightly rates offered on the full 27-day trip to Singapore. That trip further includes Oman, Sri Lanka, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The price has recently jumped up higher on this one, so maybe hold off and see if prices drop again. See all ports and check today’s rate.
🔖🚢 For Spring 2020, there’s already a well-priced repositioning cruise deal on the same ship, returning from Singapore to Italy. Currently, the rate is under $50 for the month-long March 2020 itineraries on the Costa Fortuna.
More: 2019 Repositioning Cruise Deals
Those are the cheapest repositioning cruises out there, at the time of last update (August 2019).
If you want to see what other repositioning cruise deals are out there, then do some searching for yourself. 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 Fall 2019. And the timing of booking a cheap repositioning cruise deal is exactly the topic we’ll explain next.
More Tips On How to Find the Best Repositioning Cruise Deals
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.
But these repositioning cruise deals are out there!
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) Know the Best Timing to Book a Repositioning Cruise Deal
Prices for repositioning cruises can fluctuate greatly. You might even do a search after reading this blog post and find the prices are nowhere near the costs we’ve mentioned. While planning our round the world trips, we meticulously stalk these repositioning cruise prices each year to understand exactly when is the best time to book.
Often with cruises, it’s a good idea to book as early as possible to score the best deal. But that is not necessarily the case with repositioning cruises, particularly for common routes like transatlantic repositioning cruises.
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.
Once the cruise lines have a finite occupancy count, the corporate financial gurus will usually discount remaining cabins greatly in attempts to fill the ship to capacity. 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: you also run a realistic risk of prices rising.)
Exactly when during that 45-90 day period the price dips will vary by cruise line depending on each cruise line’s specific cancelation policy. So if you really want to stalk a cruise’s price, do a little research to find out when the refundable cancelation period ends (which varies, based on the line and length of the cruise). Take a look at this page on CruiseCritic which details every line’s cancelation period. Then calculate the cancelation date based upon the particular cruise(s) you’re most interested in.
To be absolutely certain about the cancelation date policy, it’s best to check directly with each cruise line, who may have updated their policies beyond what was reported on this third-party site. Once you know when the cancelation date is, be vigilant at checking the prices a few times per day during the days surrounding that date. Within a week, you should notice a price change.
A general rule of thumb is the following:
- Spring repositioning cruises: Buy around February or March for an April-May sailing
- Fall repositioning cruises: Buy around August or September for an October-November sailing
We’ve found that for an April embarkation across the Atlantic, February and March are often 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 transatlantic crossings from Europe/Mediterranean to Florida/Caribbean, 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 and cancelation policy. We’ve encountered slightly better deals for the eastbound Spring repositioning cruises, but there are always plenty of Fall westbound deals that still remain under $500 per person and less than $50 per day.
While typically waiting a month or two before the cruise’s departure to buy can be a good bet, above all else, just buy when you see a great deal regardless of the time of year. There have been instances where we’ve found some great repositioning cruise deals in February (or earlier) but they went even lower in early March.
In other instances, we’ve waited for these early-March bargains, only to find prices rose! It’s a gamble depending on booking trends whether the price may rise or fall from there. And these repositioning cruises actually do sometimes sell out. So if you find a great price, don’t get greedy and wait for it to go lower. Just book it!
Timing to Get Promos with Repositioning Cruises
Also, if you’re looking for lots of great bonuses during your sailing, know that while the deals tend to be better waiting until the cancelation period, the perks, like complimentary drink packages and generous onboard credit, tend to be fewer during this last-minute time frame. So take that into consideration while waiting to book a repositioning cruise.
That said, we still firmly believe that the deals you can get after the cancelation period tend to outweigh any extra bonuses offered prior to that timing. And sometimes you can be lucky enough to receive both an excellent deal and some fantastic benefits that include onboard credit, paid gratuities, or even a complimentary cruise drink package!
The Best Advice for Timing Your Repositioning Cruise Purchase
Really, our best advice on timing 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 with this waiting strategy. Prices could rise unexpectedly, leaving you heartbroken and missing the deal for a specific cruise you’re eyeing.
Step 2) 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.
Of our last 10 repositioning cruise purchases, VacationsToGo ended up providing the best (or equal) combination of pricing and perks 5 of those times and we could have skipped the remaining steps entirely. But in other instances, we have indeed found a better price and perk combinations by booking through other sites/agencies.
Usually, the differences were fairly minor, within $100 or so. But we find that additional value to be worth the time it takes to cross-check a few other sites like CruiseDirect, which has a low price guarantee and no booking fees.
Additionally, it’s not possible to book online using VacationsToGo. Instead, you must coordinate a call with one of their travel agents. You must 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 cruise we like, we instead get a complete price quote on CruiseDirect. This website does allow you to see the total price, including taxes. It further allows you to seamlessly complete the transaction entirely online.
But 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 there.
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) Filter Your Search Criteria
Under destination, select both “Transatlantic” and “Repositioning” to see listings categorized for each of these. Now 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, I’d recommend filtering only by “destination” and “dates.”
Also note that, on occasion, we have found repositioning cruises that are not listed as “repositioning cruises.” For example, we once took a repositioning cruise from Florida all the way down to Chile in South America. It went through the Panama Canal, so it was listed as a “Panama Canal” cruise and was also listed as a “South America” cruise. But it was not also categorized as repositioning cruise, even though it most definitely was.
Therefore, it can sometimes be worthwhile to play around with these searches to uncover hidden gems like this. Repositioning cruises that include South America, Asia, and the Middle East are sometimes not categorized as repositioning cruises. So if you’re interested in a more exotic repo cruise route to one of these regions, you may have to search a bit deeper to uncover.
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.
Meanwhile, for VacationsToGo (and other sites), you must call an agent over the phone in order to get the complete pricing that includes these taxes and port fees, wait on hold, give them your phone number, let them try to “sell” you, etc. We’d rather avoid all that and just book the repositioning cruise deal online, directly ourselves.
CruiseDirect allows you to complete the entire transaction online, without having the hassle of dealing with an agent over the phone. Instead, your cruise is just a few clicks away and you can even visually select your cabin location. We personally like and use CruiseDirect. They have no booking fees, easy to book online with, and you can see their consistent track record of good reviews with their 5-star TrustPilot score.
So after completing these two price comparisons, you’ll now have prices from three competing agencies, which 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, we always like to ensure that we’ve definitely found the best repositioning cruise deal, so performing these added steps helps us to sleep at night and book with confidence. If you are of a similar mindset, go ahead and proceed with these next few optional steps.
But if you value your time and you’re happy with the deal you’ve found by now, then perhaps 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 go 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! (Or at least place a 24-hour courtesy hold)
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.
If you’re still not sure, you can at least place what is called a “courtesy hold,” only by calling over the phone. This will lock in the price that’s been quoted, for 24 hours. No payment or credit card number is required. But courtesy holds can only be handled over the phone, not online.
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 mark, as recommended to get a very low price, you are likely no longer eligible to get a refund or onboard credit. 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.
- Download the Shipmate app (Android or iPhone). One of the many functionalities of the app is providing fare alerts when prices drop. It uses Cruiseline.com to provide these alerts. We’d like to be able to recommend that you go directly to Cruiseline to get these free alerts, but their website seems to be a bit glitchy and often it’s impossible to select the sailing you’re looking for. So alternatively, downloading the Shipmate app, you can access the same alert service with a bit more work involved.
- Find your sailing in the “CruiseCritic roll call” message board for your particular cruise and check in often. Sometimes when’s there’s a price drop for your sailing, other cruise members will share this on the message board. This is also cumbersome but effective. It’s also a fun way to get social with your fellow future cruisers.
- Lastly, 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 was initially published in June 2014 and is continually updated with the latest information and repositioning cruise deals. Last updated: August 24, 2019. We’ll strive to update it regularly throughout summer 2019, so feel free to bookmark this page and check back for the latest repositioning cruise deals we spot.