Last Updated: March 5, 2019, to also include the cheapest last-minute Spring 2019 repositioning cruise deals right 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 cruises is so strong that we even used a series of repositioning cruise to travel entirely around the world without flights. You can see all the details on our strategy and our complete budget from that 300-day voyage in this separate post and highlights in the video below.
- Open in another tab: How To Achieve the Impossible: A Cheap World Cruise
We’re now spilling our secrets of where to find these repositioning cruise deals and have even picked out some of the cheapest last-minute repositioning cruise deals we’re seeing for Spring 2019 when we last updated this post. But first, we’d like to take a minute to explain a little bit 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 $60 per night, but sometimes will 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 cheapest and the most common repositioning itinerary. We regularly see cheap repositioning cruise deals with transatlantic itineraries 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 easily achievable repositioning cruise deal to get across the Atlantic.
But they can be even lower. We once spotted a transatlantic cruise deal for a total of $159! This $12/night price even included the very rare feat of an open bar beverage package 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. So 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 are longer, hence the deals may not be quite as common as can be found across the Atlantic. Yet each Fall and Spring season, we usually do see at least one or two transpacific repositioning cruise deals for 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 often 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.
It came out to a cost of only $49 per night! It was an incredible long voyage of Champagne living on a Budweiser budget, as we got to check out so many interesting places along this amazing transcontinental itinerary.
Yet whichever repositioning cruise route we’ve taken, we tend to find these bargains by booking fairly last-minute, usually a month or two 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:
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 these repositioning cruise deals are cheap because they’re boring and stripped down cruises. That is simply not true!
It’s actually exactly 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.
Meanwhile, the many exotic ports that are visited along the way are perhaps the greatest appeal of repositioning cruises for us. 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 cheap 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. Here are some potential downsides to fully understand before booking your first voyage 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 you’ll need the luxury of time (best for digital nomads, long-term travelers, and retirees).
- Some of the best deals are last-minute, making advanced planning complicated and any last-minute flights can be expensive.
- The cheapest staterooms are usually interior (meaning, no balcony or window), although free balcony upgrades do exist and 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, so should be budgeted accordingly.
- Wifi is often very expensive and can be extremely slow, a major problem for anyone who needs to stay connected.
- Repositioning cruise prices are usually based on double occupancy, so you’ll need a travel buddy for a cheap deal.
- Alcohol drinks onboard are usually not included and are pricey, but here are some proven ways to get cheap drinks on a cruise.
- Service gratuities will usually add $10-$15 per person, per night, to your daily cost, so should be budgeted accordingly.
- Lastly, you’ve got to know how to find these repositioning cruise deals, but we’re about to help with that! 🙂
Understand the Common Repositioning Cruise Routes & Timing
Repositioning cruises tend to be most active during the change in seasons: Spring and Fall.
This is because cruise lines are trying 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.)
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 summer is actually the off-season for the Caribbean, so it’s only natural for cruise lines to move ships across the Atlantic around March-May. The reverse occurs in the Fall, as ships are moved from Europe across the Atlantic to Florida, among other North American locations, that are popular warm-weather 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, 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. We’re always looking to see what repositioning cruise deals may be out there.
So where do we find these cheap repositioning cruise deals? We’re getting to that!
Cheapest Spring 2019 Repositioning Cruise Deals You Can Book Right Now!
We’ll soon delve into our tactics for finding the best repositioning cruise deals. But here 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 just 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 prices we’ve listed are current at the time of last updating this post (March 2019) and may have changed since the last update.
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 Spring 2019 cruises. Based upon our experience, if you’re looking for a cheap Fall 2019 repositioning cruise deal (or later) on a common repositioning cruise route, it often proves to be a positive gamble to wait 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!
Cheapest Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise Deals: US to Europe Spring 2019
Right now there are some fantastic transatlantic repositioning cruise deals for anyone wanting to take a last-minute voyage from the US to Europe. There are many bargains with ship departing from Florida, yet deals also exist from other locations like New York and Texas. Below are the cheapest transatlantic repositioning cruise deals we’ve spotted so far Spring 2019.
But when these last-minute deals pop up so quickly, it’s important to act quickly. These deals may be here today, gone tomorrow. Once people find and pounce on these deals, prices rise and ships even sell-out.
🔖🚢 At the time of the last update, the absolute cheapest repositioning cruise from US to Europe in total cost is on the Norwegian Pearl for $479 before taxes and port charges. This 13-night last-minute transatlantic cruise deal goes from NYC to Amsterdam, with stops of for European ports in between that are coastal ports for the following European cities: Cork, Dublin, London, Paris, and Brussels/Brugge. Ending in Amsterdam, this is a great way to be able to check-out a half-dozen what amounts to some of the most popular cities in Europe! Check current rates and availability.
While that is currently the cheapest transatlantic sailing when looking at the total price, there are even cheaper transatlantic deals available when looking at the cost per night. The following two ships are crossing the Atlantic in Spring 2019 with a cost of only $35 per night!
🔖🚢 The Norwegian Star departs Miami for Tarragona, Spain (near Barcelona) on April 27 for a 15-night repositioning cruise that results in a rate of $35 per night, before taxes and port fees. The 4-star ship has a nice itinerary too, stopping along the way in both the autonomous Azores and Madeira Islands before further going to five attractive ports throughout Spain. CruiseDirect even tosses in a little $25 onboard credit to spend on the ship. Check up-to-date prices and promos here.
🔖🚢 The Norwegian Epic is the other $35-per-night repositioning cruise deal you can find to get across the Atlantic this Spring. This notoriously entertainment-packed ship sails from Port Canaveral (near Orlando, FL) to Barcelona on a 15-night itinerary that also ports in both the Azores and Madeira Islands before a fantastic 5-stop route throughout the Mediterranean. If you spend an extra $200 per person on a higher stateroom category, they’ll even throw in the unlimited beverage package for free. Check prices and promos.
🔖🚢 Or consider the Norwegian Getaway, which is another one of the few remaining bargains under $500, before taxes & fees (currently $499). This 12-night transatlantic deal cruises from New York to London at the end of April 2019 and comes out to $42 per night. A stop in the Azore Islands is included before three intriguing European ports. Check current prices and availability.
🔖🚢 The 5-star Holland America Koningsdam recently dropped their prices down to $540, offering their 13-night transatlantic sailing for what amounts to about $41 per day. The April 7th cruise departs Fort Lauderdale to Rome, with two stops in the Azores and two stops in Spain along the way. We just traveled on the Koningsdam a few months ago and really enjoyed the experience on what’s now one of two Holland America’s newest and largest class ships. Check up-to-date pricing.
🔖🚢 Or for just a dollar more per day, take a trip on Holland America’s brand new Nieuw Statendam, which just launched in December 2018. Maybe it’ll still have that new ship smell! The Nieuw Statendam cruises across the Atlantic from Fort Lauderdale to Amsterdam with two stops in the Azores, then ports in France and Belgium. Check current rates.
🔖🚢 If you’re looking for one of the nicest ship at a cheap price the prior two suggests are great options, as is this Celebrity sailing. The elegant 5-star Celebrity Silhouette’s cruises from Fort Lauderdale to London, with a rare overnight stop in Bermuda, in addition to porting in the Bahamas and lingers in Lisbon into the evening. It’s a bargain to sail on this classy ship for $649, which breaks down to about $49/night over the 13-night itinerary. Confirm current prices.
🔖🚢 Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas, cruising from Tampa to Barcelona for a total of $662 for an oceanview room, before taxes and gratuities. This transatlantic routes stops along the way at some of our favorite Atlantic ports, including Key West, two of the Canary Islands, and Malaga, Spain. The two-week trip on this 4-star ship comes to about $47/night. CruiseDirect is even including some onboard credit to this already great deal. Check rates here.
🔖🚢 Keep an eye on Royal Caribbean’s late-season May 4th Independence of the Seas transatlantic crossing, as prices have been jumping all over the place. This 5-star ship is repositioning from Fort Lauderdale to London and features four Caribbean ports to enjoy before making a final push across the pond all the way to England. The current $714 price comes out to $51 per night, before taxes, but it’s been lower and could potentially drop again. Check the up-to-date prices and current promos here.
The chart below summarizes these aforementioned repositioning cruise deals across the Atlantic, plus a few others that are also under $50/night, of course.
|NCL Epic||27-Apr-2019||Port Canaveral||Barcelona||$35|
|HAL Koningsdam||07-Apr-2019||Ft Lauderdale||Rome||$41|
|NCL Jade||28-Apr-2019||NYC (Brooklyn)||Rome||$43|
|HAL Nieuw Statendam||21-Apr-2019||Fort Lauderdale||Amsterdam||$43|
|RC Oasis of the Seas||21-Apr-2019||Port Canaveral||Barcelona||$46|
|RC Rhapsody of the Seas||27-Apr-2019||Tampa||Barcelona||$47|
|Celebrity Silhouette||14-Apr-2019||Ft Lauderdale||London||$50|
|RC Independence of the Seas||04-May-2019||Ft Lauderdale||London||$51|
That only highlights what we’ve found to be the cheapest and most appealing transatlantic repositioning cruises, under $50 per day. For dozens more that may exceed $50 per night, check here for all of the up-to-date TransAtlantic listings and see what else is out there.
Cheapest Repositioning Cruise from South America in Spring 2019
There are a handful of intriguing routes are departing South America in the upcoming months, although many come with a hefty price tag too. But we’ve scouted out a few cheap repositioning cruise deals from South America! As we’re currently traveling around the continent, we’d be remiss not to highlight a few repositioning cruise deals departing from South America in the coming months.
These depart earlier in the season though, so many of the early March deals have actually already left. Here’s one good deal remaining:
🔖🚢 Shortly after Carnaval ends in Brazil, the MSC Fantasia spends over two weeks voyaging from Rio de Janeiro, all the way to Rome, Italy for about $48 per night! Port calls throughout Brazil, the Canary Islands, and Spain make for interesting stops in between the sea days. Check prices and availability.
Cheapest Spring 2019 TransPacific Repositioning Cruise Deals: Asia to North America
🔖🚢 Right now the cheapest repositioning cruise across the Pacific is the Celebrity Millennium, from Tokyo to Vancouver for only $449! That’s an incredible deal but it’s a pretty thin and lackluster itinerary. There are only three stops during the two-week voyage (Hakodate Japan, Petropavlovsk Russia, and Victoria BC Canada). Yet it still makes for a cheap and interesting way to cross the Pacific in style for what amounts to about $32 per night! Check current prices.
🔖🚢 A more full itinerary on the Holland America on the Holland America Westerdam from Tokyo to Vancouver includes two ports in Japan plus three ports in Alaska! It’s nearly double the price of the aforementioned Celebrity transpacific cruise deal. But the three days in Alaska can help justify the price in addition to a current promotion in which you actually get a veranda stateroom upgrade for only $100 more than the price of an interior. So you can cruise through Alaska while looking out your private balcony! Check itinerary, current pricing, and promos.
🔖🚢 The itinerary on the Norwegian Jewel from Tokyo to Vancouver is even better in our opinion to have a packed itinerary that includes Japan, Russia, and a grand total of six separate days in Alaska! And it’s now slightly cheaper. This transpacific repositioning cruise is longer, more port intensive, and comes out to only $43 per night. If we were in a position to take another transpacific cruise right now, this is definitely repositioning cruise deal we’d book! Check complete itinerary and rates.
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. They tend to sail early in the season though, even as early as February. So unfortunately repositioning cruise deals for this route across the Indian Ocean have already set sail.
For example, one of the cheapest rates we found this year was on the Costa Fortuna that left in February from Singapore to Italy. The month-long itinerary started at about $54 per day, including many exotic ports along the way and even a full transit through the Suez Canal.
🔖🚢 If you act quick, you may still be able to catch the Costa neoRiviera that spends a full month cruising from Bombay (Mumbai) to Italy, which departs on March 16 and comes out to only $38 per night! It’s an absolutely incredible exotic itinerary that includes three full days in the Maldives, Petra (Jordan), Israel, the Greek Islands, and so much more. Book it before mid-March.
🔖🚢 For Fall 2019, keep a pulse on these 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 as low as $66 per night. Check prices and itineraries here.
🔖🚢 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 definitely the cheapest repositioning cruises out there, at the time of last update. We’ll try to continue to update this post during the next few months, when we notice any major price changes and other repositioning cruise deals popping up.
Or start searching now yourself. The remainder of this post details our process of how we find some of the cheapest repositioning cruise deals. We’ve already noted the best deals that are departing in Spring 2019, but if you want to start scouting out other potential itineraries or time frames further out, continue reading.
Just know that prices will likely shift, sometimes dramatically, the further out you look. That’s why we’re highlighting these last-minute repositioning cruises leaving in the next few months. 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. It can take some 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 offers 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 what their exact cabin inventory since they can now do so because the cancellation period has ended. Once they 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-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 cruise sailings: Buy around February or March for an April sailing
- Fall repositioning cruise sailings: Buy around August or September for an October 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, all depending on the exact cruises 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!
So What’s a Good Price for a Repositioning Cruise Deal?
That’s up to you and depends on a variety of factors such as the ship, itinerary, cabin, etc. But if we find inside cabins for under $500 per person for a two-week transatlantic cruise, we’re extremely happy with that. We’d even splurge an extra hundred bucks or so for a balcony or for a particularly interesting itinerary. But again, that’s all a personal call based upon your preferences and budget.
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 complementary 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!
Really, our best advice on timing is this: if you don’t care much about what cruise line, ship, or itinerary you take, then it will likely prove best to wait it out to the 45-90 cancelation period before booking. You will most certainly get a bargain on a sailing, under $50 per night. But if there is a particular ship or itinerary that you definitely want to cruise on, then be careful to wait, as prices could rise unexpectedly, leaving you heartbroken and missing the deal.
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 site acts as a great meta search 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. You can really search 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 pricing. Often we’ve found it to be the lowest price and if not, they are usually pretty close.
Despite our love for searching using VacationsToGo, once you find a bargain you like, it is best to continue on to the next steps to ensure you truly got the best price and perks, which can be 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 I could have skipped the remaining steps entirely. But in other instances, we did find 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, you cannot book online using VacationsToGo and must instead coordinate a call with one of their travel agents, even if you just want to get a price quote that includes all the taxes or to confirm availability. So once we find we a cruise we like, we often then go to CruiseDirect. That site allows you to see the total price, including taxes and allows you to seamlessly complete the transaction entirely online.
Here are some detail on how we recommend using VacationToGo’s great search functions.
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 were not listed as such. 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 a South America cruise but 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 that.
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, if you have the time. 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, as 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 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 Awesome 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
Once you find your perfect voyage using VacationsToGo, you now want to guarantee that you get the best possible price on that sailing. We recommend price comparing to ensure this. Often VacationsToGo indeed has the best (or equal) prices, but on other occasions, we’ve found their prices 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
What we do to really geek out and price compare our cruises is use an Excel spreadsheet to add up everything and more fairly compare. Our calculation ends up looking something like this:
+ 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
Whenever we have found an offer that beats VacationsToGo, it has been through one of our these two sites that are also affiliates of ours: CruiseDirect or Priceline Cruise. So after scouting out a deal on VacationsToGo, we find it worthwhile to check another site or two to get a second opinion and to cross-check cruise prices. Sometimes the prices 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. Most cruise booking sites only show the base price of the cruise before taxes and/or port fees. But 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 it allows you to perform a more fair comparison, as mentioned above.
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.
Sometimes when we find a price we like, we place it on a courtesy hold. Then because I’m so persistent on getting the best repositioning cruise deal, I still do my due diligence on the steps mentioned above to see if I can come up with anything lower. If you successfully uncover a lower price, your courtesy hold will expire automatically and you don’t have to do anything. Otherwise be sure you call back within 24 hours to turn that courtesy hold into an actual paid reservation.
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: February 9, 2019.