Last Updated: August 16, 2020
Using cheap repositioning cruise deals to travel around the world can provide for an incredibly affordable way to get from one continent to another in complete luxury. We know this because we’ve now taken over a dozen repositioning cruises all across the world’s oceans and have been carefully tracking repositioning cruise prices over the past decade. As a result, we’ve scored many repositioning cruise deals that have gotten us on over a half year’s worth of these unique sailings between North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and even Africa!
Repositioning cruises can be a wonderful travel experience to slowly voyage from one continent to another, stopping at far-flung ports along the way, with the easy & carefree living that cruise travel delivers. Cheap repositioning cruise deals can offer considerable savings compared to daily rates of regular closed-circuit cruises. The bargains can be so good that repositioning cruises often prove to be even less expensive than a coach flight between the same locations. Yet scoring a repositioning cruise deal provides so much more of a travel experience compared to a cramped seat on a redeye 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 comfy stateroom can all make for an extravagant travel experience that many would only assume is entirely unaffordable. Yet if you know where to find the best repositioning cruise deals, such extravagance can be easily achievable for less than $50 per day!
Our love of these seasonal one-way cruise deals is so strong that we even utilized a series of repositioning cruises to travel entirely around the world without taking a single flight.We’re now spilling our secrets of where to find these repositioning cruise deals. This article goes in-depth into everything you may have wanted to know about repositioning cruise deals. But we’ve also hand-picked the cheapest last-minute repositioning cruise deals you can find right now for Fall 2020 sailings.
First, let’s dive into exactly how these one-way repositioning cruise deals work and the costs involved.
What Is a Repositioning Cruise?
A repositioning cruise is a one-way cruise voyage in which a ship is being relocated from one region in the world to another. Cruise lines regularly reposition their fleets annually based on seasonality, as weather conditions and travel patterns change across the globe.
Since these ships are being moved from one part of the world to another, repositioning cruises do tend to be lengthy voyages with a higher amount of sea days. As a result, these lengthy, off-season, one-way cruises can have low demand. So repositioning cruises are often priced dramatically lower to entice passengers to come aboard these unique, intercontinental itineraries.
Repositioning cruises are sometimes also referred to simply as repo cruises (for short) or relocation cruises (an alternate name). It’s all the same.
So that’s a brief primer on repositioning cruise. For more detail, open our separate article in the link below, and continue reading here for more info on how to score the best repositioning cruise deals.
- Open in a new tab to read more: What Is a Repositioning Cruise?
Repositioning Cruise Routes & Seasonality
Before revealing where to find the best repositioning cruise deals, it’s important to have an understanding about
- when repositioning cruises are relocated, and
- where repositioning cruises actually go.
When Do Repositioning Cruises Travel?
Repositioning cruises tend to be most active during the change in seasons:
As an example, let’s take a look at transatlantic repositioning cruises to illustrate these seasonal cruise relocations. The Mediterranean Sea boasts pleasantly warm weather and is high season for travel in the summer. So cruise lines often move ships to the Mediterranean in the late Spring to serve the many passengers who desire taking a summer Mediterranean cruise.
Meanwhile, summer months are the Caribbean’s hot and stormy summer offseason. So it’s only natural for cruise lines to move ships across the Atlantic Ocean by May, relocating them from ports serving the Caribbean to ports serving the Mediterranean and Europe.
The reverse occurs each Fall. That’s when many cruise ships are moved from Europe across the Atlantic to Florida, among other home ports serving the Caribbean, in time for the winter high-season months.
These transatlantic repositioning cruises form the most common repositioning cruise route. But there are many other repositioning cruise routes to consider.
Alaskan cruises can’t sail in the winter. So those ships need to go elsewhere, of course! Europe-Asia repositioning cruises can provide for port-intensive journeys between the adjoining continents. Transiting from North to South America (or vice versa) can be an interesting voyage that often includes a Panama Canal Cruise. There are many seasonal shifts in cruising that bring about repositioning cruises.
Where Repositioning Cruises Go in the Spring
The most common trend for Spring repositioning cruises is for ships to be relocated towards
- European ports and
- the Pacific Northwest (specifically, Vancouver & Seattle) for Alaska’s summer cruise season.
Below are typical repositioning cruise routes during the spring months.
- Northern Transatlantic: Florida (and US East Coast) ➡️ Europe
- Southern Transatlantic: Argentina & Brazil ➡️ Europe
- Panama Canal: Florida (and US East Coast) ➡️ US Pacific Coast
- TransAmerica Panama Canal: Chile ➡️ Florida
- Southern Transpacific: Sydney & Auckland ➡️ Hawaii, California, & Pacific Northwest
- TransAmerica Pacific: Chile ➡️ California & Pacific Northwest
- TransAsia: Asia (usually Singapore) ➡️ Europe
- MiddleEastern: UAE ➡️ Europe
- TransAfrica: South Africa ➡️ Europe
Where Repositioning Cruises Go in the Fall
During Autumn, cruises are repositioned away from Europe and Alaska. Most commonly ships are move to Florida and US East Coast ports to do Caribbean cruises during winter months. But cruises are also repositioned to Asia and locations throughout the southern hemisphere.
This is where cruise lines tend to reposition their cruise ships in the Fall:
- Northern Transatlantic: Europe ➡️ Florida (and US East Coast)
- Southern Transatlantic: Europe ➡️ Argentina & Brazil
- Panama Canal: US Pacific Coast ➡️ Florida (and US East Coast)
- TransAmerica Panama Canal: Florida ➡️ Chile
- Southern Transpacific: Hawaii, California, & Pacific Northwest ➡️ Sydney & Auckland
- TransAmerica Pacific: California & Pacific Northwest ➡️ Chile
- TransAsia: Europe ➡️ Asia (usually Singapore)
- MiddleEastern: Europe ➡️ UAE
- TransAfrica: Europe ➡️ South Africa
- Canadian Maritimes: US East Coast ➡️Quebec, Canada
Note: The above route maps provide a general idea of the timing of repositioning cruises. Exact routes are constantly changing each year. Later is this article, some of the best repositioning cruise routes for 2020 are detailed.
What’s It Cost: How Cheap Are Repositioning Cruise Deals Really?
Repositioning cruise deals can vary greatly in cost, based on purchasing trends, timing of the purchase, the popularity of the ship, and the appeal of the exact itinerary.
That said, a decent deal for a two-week oceanic crossing can range from around $400-$800 per person. That breaks down to about $30-$60 per person, per night! Personally, we try to shoot for repositioning cruise prices under $50 per person, per night. Sometimes we’ll go above that threshold that for a great itinerary or if extra perks are included.
During each Spring and Fall season, we regularly see cheap repositioning cruise deals for about $500, or even less, on all the common routes. For those who are ultra-price-sensitive, a nightly rates of $40 or less per person (before gratuities and port fees) is an achievable repositioning cruise deal to aim for.
But repositioning cruises are regularly priced higher than those aforementioned deals. Factors such as great itineraries and sought-after ships will certainly help to drive up the prices for repositioning cruises. Purchasing trends also affect pricing. It’s not uncommon to see repositioning cruises listed for over $1,000 and much higher.
Yet supply and demand for each particular voyage can help drop repositioning cruise prices very low. So how low can they go?
The cheapest repositioning cruise we’ve ever spotted was for a two-week transatlantic cruise deal for a total of $159! This unfathomable $12/night price-point even included the 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 legit. If you’re curious to know what a $159 two-week cruise is like, then read our separate post reviewing it.
- You can read: Pullmantur Monarch $159 Transatlantic Cruise Review here.
Extra Costs of Repositioning Cruise Deals: Taxes & Gratuities
Do know that the repositioning cruise prices mentioned here are before taxes, port fees, and gratuities. This is the industry standard when quoting cruise prices. So understand that the total cost of repositioning cruises will end up being just a bit more after factoring in these compulsory charges.
Taxes & port fees for repositioning cruises will vary greatly depending on the ship and itinerary. But expect taxes to add at least $100, or more, to the total price for each person. This is all added to the repositioning cruise price during the booking process.
Gratuities are the semi-obligatory tips to deserving wait staff, room attendants, and other crew. This service fee typically adds $12-$16 per person, per night and usually isn’t charged until you’re onboard the cruise. (Note: For British and Australian passengers, gratuities are sometimes handled differently.)
So taxes and gratuities do add to repositioning cruises prices. But even after budgeting for those costs, repositioning cruises are still incredible deals that often remain under $50 per day. In addition to those little extra costs, the section below details everything you should be aware of before booking a repositioning cruise deal.
Beyond the compulsory charges, there’s no major hidden costs for repositioning cruises beyond the typical extras passengers may want to indulge in. For those unfamiliar with cruising, additional expenses can include purchases such as alcoholic drinks, dining in specialty restaurants, shore excursions, wifi at sea, spa packages and other splurges.
So What’s the Catch of a Cheap Repositioning Cruise Deal?
These cheap repositioning cruise deals 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 can be a lot of fun. We always keep busy and never get bored.
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 rooms. They don’t strip down the staterooms for repositioning cruises. The high level of service remains the same too.
Meanwhile, the many exotic ports that are visited along the routes are arguably the greatest appeal of repositioning cruises. Reaching some of these distant locations would cost a fortune to fly to. Thousands of dollars! Yet a repositioning cruise deal 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 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 (best for retirees, digital nomads, and long-term travelers). A two-week vacation would make for a very tight trip.
- For passengers who are not continuing onward travel when the repositioning cruise ends, you must account for the cost of returning home. One-way intercontinental flights can add a major expense to the overall trip.
- Some of the best repositioning cruise deals are last-minute. This can make advanced planning complicated and any last-minute flights can become even more expensive.
- The best deals are usually for interior staterooms (meaning, no balcony or window). But inexpensive veranda rooms are possible. In fact, 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 this 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 exploring ashore can be a minimal expense for those comfortable with independent travel.
- Wifi is often expensive and can be slow. This is a major problem for anyone who needs to stay connected for working online. Here are some cruise wifi hacks to help deal with that.
- Repositioning cruise prices are usually based on double occupancy. So you’ll need a partner or travel buddy to score a cheap deal. Otherwise, solo cruisers are often forced to pay a harsh single supplement fee, usually ranging 50-100%.
- Alcoholic drinks and even soda onboard are typically not included. So drinks can get pricey. To ease bar tabs, here are 20 proven strategies to get cheap drinks on a cruise.
- Service gratuities will typically add $12-$16 per person, per night, to your daily cost. So this should be budgeted accordingly into total costs.
- Lastly, you must know how to find these repositioning cruise deals. They’re not heavily promoted. Also, the best repositioning cruise deals tend to only be around for short periods of times. But we’re here to show you where the deals are and when to book them!
Know the Best Time to Book Cheap Repositioning Cruises
Trying to book the cheapest price on any cruise can be tricky and is always a bit of a gamble. It can be difficult to predict price fluctuations. Yet over the past decade, we’ve carefully tracked repositioning cruise price trends to discover common patterns on when to book.
So here’s what we’ve noticed over the years to now help you score the lowest price on repositioning cruises.
Lowest Repositioning Cruise Rates Often Emerge 2-3 Months Prior to Departure
A pricing trend that has remained consistent over the years is being able to find some of the best repositioning cruise deals by booking fairly last-minute. Rock-bottom prices tend to appear two-three months before the repositioning cruise is scheduled to embark.
This comes contrary to common advice for booking cruises. Often with cruises, it’s recommended to book as early as possible to score the best deal. And there are indeed some great repositioning cruise deals that can be scored in advance. But for particularly common routes, like transatlantic repositioning cruises, rates are sometimes slashed in the few months leading up to embarkation.
This last-minute repositioning cruise booking strategy has been a tried-and-true method we’ve used to uncover some of the best repositioning cruise deals out there. Prices tend to drop when each cruise’s cancelation period ends, which is about 45-90 days out.
Understand the economics at play. Those who book a cruise in advance have an option to cancel and receive a full or partial refund up until about 2-3 months before the cruise departs. This is known as the cancelation period and it varies by cruise line, ship, and itinerary. Once the cancelation period ends, anyone who booked the cruise are locked into it. Therefor, the cruise lines don’t really know their true occupancy count is unknown until that time frame.
At this point, the cruise lines will often discount remaining cabins greatly in attempts to fill the ship to capacity at the last minute. So during the two-three month period prior to the desired sail date, you can regularly find very attractive prices. That is, if you have the nerves to hold out on booking such an extensive cruise at the last minute. After all, waiting to potentially get a deal also comes with a realistic risk of prices rising or the cruise selling out. (Also note: as most cruise lines have greatly eased cancelation policies for 2020, this could greatly change booking/pricing trends for 2020 and 2021 repositioning cruises.
A general rule of thumb is the following:
- Spring repositioning cruises: Around February can be an attractive time to buy for March-April sailings.
- Fall repositioning cruises: Buy around late August or early September for October-November sailings.
We’ve found that for an April embarkation, around February can be the best time of year to make a move. During this timeframe, you actually get a double whammy of good fortune. For one, this time of year is what the cruise industry calls “Wave Season,” a promotional period when cruise lines are offering deep discounts and generous perks such as onboard credit, drink packages, prepaid gratuities, wifi packages, and more.
For the Fall repositioning cruises, the best time to buy can be around August and into September. Of course, this all depends on the cruise’s exact departure date, cancelation policy, and recent booking trends.
It Can Also Make Sense to Book Repositioning Cruises in Advance
If you see a repositioning cruise that you really like at a price you’re willing to pay, sometimes it can be a wise move to just book it.
The most obvious rationale for booking a repositioning cruise early is to have the luxury of making international travel plans in advance. And it’s definitely possible to find some decent repositioning cruise deals without having to wait until that semi-last-minute period.
While typically waiting until a few months before the cruise’s departure to buy can be a good bet, above all else, just buy if you see a great deal regardless of the time of year.
There have been instances when we’ve expected a repositioning cruise price to drop based upon past trends, but then prices rose instead. It’s always a gamble as to whether any cruise’s price may rise or fall. If it’s a really nice ship or a very attractive itinerary, the repositioning cruise price can be at even greater risk of rising. And these repositioning cruises actually do sell out.
So if you find a great price on a repositioning cruise you really want to take, it can be smart not to get greedy and wait for price to go lower. Just book it! Waiting for a lower price can often prove to be a wise strategy, but it sometimes leads to disappointment.
Note for 2020 repositioning cruises: Most cruise lines are currently offering flexible cancelations policies, often with refundable cancelations up to 48-hours before sailing. Therefore, it could definitely make more sense to book whenever you see a great deal, given the possibility to cancel without penalty.
The Best Advice for Timing Your Repositioning Cruise Purchase
Really, our best advice on timing your repo cruise booking is this:
If you don’t care much about what cruise line, ship, or itinerary, then it will prove best to wait it out to the 45-90 cancelation period before booking. You will most certainly get an excellent bargain on a sailing, for under $50 per night.
But if there is a particular ship or itinerary that you definitely want to cruise on, then be careful gambling by waiting for rates to potentially drop. Prices could rise unexpectedly, leaving you heartbroken and missing the deal for a specific cruise you’re eyeing.
Yet for 2021 repositioning cruises, if see you a great repositioning cruise deal now and the cruise line has a generous cancelation policy, then it can really makes sense to book it now.
Best Repositioning Cruise Deals for 2020 and into 2021
🦠 Note About 2020 Repositioning Cruises during the Pandemic
Each repositioning cruise season, we update this article to highlight the best and cheapest last-minute repositioning cruise deals. But for 2020 the coronavirus pandemic has canceled many cruising voyages around the world. This includes repositioning cruise cancelations, of course. Unfortunately, many Fall 2020 repositioning cruises have been canceled.
Yet there are still some Fall 2020 repositioning cruises that you can book right now! Of course, you must be able to comply with any government restrictions and weigh the personal risks on your own.
Also, be familiar with the refund policies in the realistic instance that these last-minute repositioning cruises don’t sail. If you do book a repositioning cruise and the cruise line cancels on you, they tend to offer generous future cruise credit (often 125% of the amount paid), or a full cash refund. So it could prove financially beneficial to book and get canceled upon, if you’re able to use the future cruise credit for a repositioning cruise in 2021. Just know the policy before you book.
But will any repositioning cruises actually sail in Fall 2020? No really knows for sure, as the situation continues to evolve. Personally, we have have much greater confidence about 2021 repositioning cruises happening. So the section below now also highlights the best repositioning cruise deals we’ve spotted for 2021.
Booking a Repositioning Cruise for 2020 or 2021
Below are some of the best repositioning cruise deals we’ve found that you may be able to book.
We’ve linked to them through our affiliate at CruiseDirect. We’ve chosen to recommend CruiseDirect because of their easy online booking, a low price guarantee, no booking fees, and they maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. But more than any other reason, we recommend CruiseDirect because we regularly find they have the lowest prices and the best deals. Hence, CruiseDirect is what we’ve been using ourselves to book the last several repositioning cruise deals.
Remember, repositioning cruise prices do regularly fluctuate, sometimes even daily. And in 2020, there’s been even more changes than normal. So be sure to follow the links we’ve left below to confirm the most up-to-date price quote, which may be even lower than what we’ve listed here. With the disruption of cruising this year, prices and even itineraries may change overnight, or may even get canceled. So be sure to click through the links to verify the sailing.
Below are the handful of Fall 2020 repositioning cruise deals that may still be available, in addition to the best 2021 repositioning cruise deals.
Cheapest Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise Deals: between Europe & US
Transatlantic repositioning cruises are a classic repositioning cruise route to embark on. They’re the most common and often the easiest to get a great deal on an inexpensive voyage.
The itineraries range from fairly barebones direct sailings across the ocean to port-intensive voyages with only a few sea days in between to break up the trip. Some transatlantic itineraries include Caribbean islands on the eastern side, an abundance of European ports on the Western Atlantic, and far-flung islands in between. Stops into Atlantic Ocean islands such as the Azores, Canaries, Madeira, and Bermuda help to break apart the lengthy ocean crossing.
Last-Minute Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise Deals for Fall 2020
Most Fall 2020 transatlantic repositioning cruises have been outright canceled. Only Norwegian cruise line has one late-season transatlantic itinerary that prospective passengers can still book.
🔖🚢 The Norwegian Getaway late-season Dec 5th sailing could potentially happen. This beautiful 5-star ship is scheduled to cross the Atlantic with rates down to $82/night. We love the packed itinerary from Barcelona to New York! After leaving Barcelona, it stops daily in three great Spanish ports before continuing on to intriguing Madeira and and the far-flung Azores. The voyage culminates by porting in Bermuda for the day, then making the final push to NYC. It’s a great ship and great itinerary. If it does sail, we foresee possible itinerary changes and a potential for prices to drop. See complete itinerary and up-to-date rates.
2021 Spring Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise Deals: US to Europe
There are already some unusually low rates for 2021 transatlantic repositioning cruises, well in advance of the deals that tend to emerge in the last-minute. In fact, we’ve already spotted a dozen 2021 transatlantic repositioning cruises within the $50 per night range! There’s even this 16-night Royal Caribbean cruise that’s down to a mere $35/night!
The table below highlights the cheapest transatlantic repositioning cruise rates we’re seeing for 2021. If you like any of these 2021 repositioning cruise deals, it’ll likely prove to be a good bet to lock in these low prices now!
|RC Vision||Apr-19-2021||Ft Laud||Barcelona||$46|
2021 Fall Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise Deals: Europe to US
|RC Vision||Oct-30-2021||Barcelona||Ft Laud||$50|
Cheapest Southern Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise Deals: Europe ↔️ Latin America
Transatlantic repositioning cruises don’t just voyage from the US to Europe. European cruise lines, in particular, like to relocate their fleets over to South America and Caribbean countries during the winter months, then back to Europe for the summer cruise season. While flights between South America and Europe can be very expensive, a transatlantic cruise to South America can make for an interesting option to consider instead.
For Fall 2020, most of these southern Atlantic repositioning cruises are still planning to make the crossing. And we’re seeing some great rates!
|Costa Luminosa||Nov-14-2020||Tarragona, SP||Sao Paulo, BR||$41|
|NCL Star||Nov-29-2020||Lisbon||Buenos Aires||$45|
|Costa Magica||Dec-06-2020||Savona||DR or Guadelupe||$59|
|NCL Epic||Nov-23-2020||Barcelona||San Juan, PR||$53|
Spring 2021 South Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise Deals: Latin America to Europe
|MSC Musica||Mar-22-2021||Rio de Janeiro||Italy||$42|
|MSC Preziosa||Mar-28-2021||Rio de Janeiro||UK/Hamburg||$53|
|MSC Sinfonia||Apr-04-2021||Buenos Aires||Venice||$41|
|NCL Epic||Apr-11-2021||San Juan, PR||Barcelona||$50|
Cheapest TransPacific Repositioning Cruise Deals: South Pacific
Transpacific repositioning cruise deals that go through the South Pacific tend not to come as cheap as the other repositioning cruise routes. Each season we see a handful of these lengthy cruises with daily rates under $100 per day.
Stopping at many exotic South Pacific islands along the route can make for a particularly appealing way to voyage between Australia and North America over the course of a month. So these ships do tend to fill up.
For those who have the cash, a South Pacific repositioning cruise can be well worth the splurge. When considering how much flights and hotels would add up for a similar itinerary across destinations like Hawaii, Fiji, and New Zealand, then you realize that $2,000 to spend a month voyaging around these islands is actually a heck of a deal!
Sometimes the transpacific crossing is split up between two separate back-to-back voyages. These two cruise segments tend to use Honolulu, Hawaii, as a transition hub. So in the Fall ships will often voyage between North America and Honolulu, then a separate cruise segment from Honolulu to Australia. The reverse occurs in Spring.
Unfortunately, the temporary suspension of cruises has claimed all of 2020’s south Pacific repositioning cruises. But intriguing options remain for 2021!
2021 South Transpacific Repositioning Cruise Deals
There are fewer South Pacific repositioning cruises in 2021, compared to recent past years. Yet we’re still seeing a handful of southern transpacific repositioning cruises for under $100/night.
Here are the least expensive south pacific repositioning cruises we’ve spotted for 2021. Reserve these refundable deals now while the prices are low!
|Celebrity Solstice||Apr-15-2021||Sydney||Honolulu, Vanc||$180|
|RC Radiance||Sep-20-2021||Vancouver||Honolulu, Brisbane||$80|
Cheapest TransPacific Repositioning Cruise Deals: North America ↔️ Asia
Fall transpacific repositioning cruises tend to depart North America in September bound for Asia for its winter cruising season. The most common route is Vancouver to Tokyo, as there are typically 3-5 ships making that crossing each season.
It’s a great voyage we’ve personally enjoyed a few times now. These northern transpacific repositioning cruise itineraries usually incorporate stops throughout Alaska and Japan, plus sometimes Russia!
Often scenic cruising is included, such as Alaska’s Inside Passage and even Glacier Bay National Park. Meanwhile the open Northern Pacific Ocean is teaming with whales that are viewable from the ship. We’ve never seen so many whales during a cruise!
Unfortunately no transpacific cruises are making this voyage with passengers in 2020, given the ongoing pandemic. But there are some deals sprouting up for this northern transpacific route in 2021!
2021 Northern Transpacific Repositioning Cruise Deals
During Spring 2021, there are five ships among the main cruise lines that are making the northern transpacific voyage from Tokyo to either Vancouver or Seattle. There are some fairly attractive rates for three of those sailings, detailed in the table below.
Meanwhile, Fall 2021 transpacific repositioning cruises from the Pacific Northwest to Asia bring about some attractive options. The lengthy a port-packed Royal Princess itinerary looks particularly awesome. It’s basically a full Alaska cruise and a full Japan cruise, rolled into one at a very discounted price.
|Sun Princess||Aug-28-2021||Vancouver||Tokyo / Singapore||$77|
Between the Americas: Panama Canal Repositioning Cruises
The changing of seasons between hemispheres brings on a flurry of repositioning activity throughout the Americas. Ships that cruise South America during the northern hemisphere’s winter need to get repositioned back up to the north. So, often the Panama Canal is involved! Additionally, some cruise lines reposition their cruises from the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast towards or away from Alaska, via the Panama Canal.
While there are regular Panama Canal cruises throughout much of the year, often they are priced much higher. Many of those pricey Panama Canal cruises don’t even go entirely through the Panama Canal. Instead, they get away with a “partial transit” by going through one lock, then simply turning back around the way it came.
So Panama Canal repositioning cruises provide an opportunity to score a deal on a Panama Canal itinerary while making the full transit. It’s a great experience going through all three locks between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. You can read more about our: Panama Canal transit on the Celebrity Infinity.
We’re currently seeing some decent 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 even more important to inspect the post-tax pricing before buying.
With a handful of Panama Canal repositioning cruises planned for November and December 2020, these cruises are still planning to sail (as of last update, Aug 2020). The table below highlights the best last-minute deals currently available for 2020. These Panama Canal repo cruise deals for are decent. But they’re not quite as great as we’ve seen in past years.
Still, there are some great ships with great itineraries at some nice rates. Perhaps most attractive, these provide a rare chance in 2020 for Americans to consider a lengthy repositioning voyage without straying far from the US.
|Emerald Princess||Nov-23-2020||San Diego||Ft Laud||$93|
|HAL Zaandam||Dec-19-2020||San Diego||Ft Laud||$96|
2021 Panama Canal Repositioning Cruise Deals
There are already a few great deals available for 2021 Panama Canal repositioning cruises cruises that are priced around that coveted $50/night range. Buy these repositioning cruise deals now before prices rise! We’ll add to this list if/when prices for other cruises drop.
|NCL Star||Mar-27-2021||Santiago, Ch||Miami||$65|
|Carnival Freedom||Sep-22-2021||Seattle||Ft Laud||$58|
Middle East Repositioning Cruise Deals Between Asia & Europe
Repositioning cruise routes exist to connect Asia with Europe, utilizing the Suez Canal. These more exotic repositioning cruise routes tend to be even less common, and can be priced higher. Yet repositioning cruise deals between Asia and Europe still do abound!
Interesting ports of call on these routes can include stops into Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Oman, and various Indian Ocean islands such as the Maldives. Additionally, all of these cruises use the Suez Canal to voyage in between the continents of Asia and Africa. The transit through the famed canal is a full day event of scenic cruising across Egypt.
The most common repositioning cruise route through the Suez Canal is between UAE (Dubai or Abu Dhabi) and various Mediterranean European ports (e.g., Rome, Athens, Barcelona, Venice). Some of these repositioning cruises through the Middle East use Dubai as a transition hub to form two separate cruises that carry-on further to/from Europe, by booking back-to-back cruises.
Personally, we’ve managed to score repositioning cruises through the Middle East, going through the Suez Canal. They were both excellent voyages filled with exotic ports that would otherwise prove very difficult and costly to travel to.
We once even took a six-week repositioning cruise journey from Hong Hong to Italy, which ended up totaling a mere $49 per night, all-inclusive with an outside cabin! 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, cruising nearly halfway around the world.
As you may imagine, 2020 sailings have been greatly impacted. Most all of the 2020 repositioning cruises from Europe to the Middle East and Asia have been canceled. But there is one remaining voyage still planning to sail in Fall 2020. The MSC Fantasia is scheduled for a 3-week cruise from Barcelona to your choice of disembarking in either Doha (Qatar) or Dubai (UAE). Either way, this last minute cruise is currently set at a bargain price, starting at $45/night!
2021 Repositioning Cruises between Asia and Europe
In 2021, we’re seeing fewer repositioning cruise itineraries between Asia and Europe compared to past years. Yet there are still some intriguing deals to consider.
|MSC Fantasia||Apr-12-2021||Abu Dhabi||Italy||$46|
|NCL Spirit||Nov-07-2021||Athens||Dubai, Singapore||$78|
Repositioning Cruises Between Europe and South Africa
Repositioning cruises to/from South Africa are a new-ish route we most recently took. It’s a great itinerary that spans the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Indian Ocean Islands.
For 2020, the MSC Opera still intends to take this journey, departing Venice on November 8th 2020, for a nearly month-long voyage to South Africa. And at only $58/night, it’s definitely an attractive repositioning cruise deal to consider! See full itinerary and today’s prices.
We recently embarked on a similar Europe-to-Africa repositioning cruise itinerary with MSC and loved it! (Play highlight video below).
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|Majestic Princess||Mar-05-2021||Sydney||Hong Kong||$85|
Repositioning Cruise Deals Between Australia and Asia
As cruise fleets also move between Australia and Asia during the shifting seasons. Aussies can avoid the flight to holiday in Asia by hopping on on a discounted repositioning cruise instead. It’s also an interesting way to consider traveling from Asia to Australia.
Here are some of the best 2021 repositioning cruise deals we’re seeing between Australia and Asia.
|Majestic Princess||Mar-05-2021||Sydney||Hong Kong||$85|
Booking a Repositioning Cruise Deal
The above listed deals are the cheapest repositioning cruises out there, at the time of last update (August 2020). We’ve meticulously combed through all repositioning cruises for each route to identify the best deals.
If you want to see what additional repositioning cruises are out there currently listed at higher prices, you may want to do some additional sleuthing on your own.
You can search and sort through all of the repositioning cruises listed on CruiseDirect. You’ll likely stumble across some great deals that include some additional routes, such as shorter repositioning cruises between European countries. But just realize that their list can also be incomplete, as some repositioning cruises aren’t labeled as such within their search system. It’s also not organized, which is why we’ve taken the time to show the best deals for each repositioning cruise route, above.
Outlook on Booking a 2021 Repositioning Cruise Deal
With cruise lines greatly relaxing their cancelation policies. It can make sense to book a good deal if you see one. Particularly if you really like a certain repositioning cruise deal you see now, it’s probably best to strike while you can. Otherwise you may become disappointed if prices go up or if the cruise sells out.
Repositioning cruise pricing trends can be somewhat predictable for those in the know. Yet with all the uncertainty going on in 2020 and into 2021, all bets are off. There will be many changes implemented as repositioning cruises start back up again. Some of those occurrences could affect how good of a deal may be available on a repositioning cruise.
For example, many cruise lines are currently not filling their ships to capacity, so guests can more easily keep distanced. Also, we’ve noticed some repositioning cruises have been cut from the 2021 calendar. Certain ships have gotten sold or scrapped, while other itineraries have been altered to accommodate shorter and closer cruises that people may be more attracted to in 2021. All of these actions will lead to reduced inventory of cabins on repositioning cruises in 2021. This could potentially lead to cruises selling out and/or higher prices.
There is pent-up demand for cruising and many cruisers are in need of using their future cruise credits (fcc) they have accumulated from canceled 2020 cruises. This could further make getting a cabin on a repositioning cruise potentially more competitive.
On the other hand, many potential cruise customers may want to cruise closer to home. A far-flung repositioning cruise route may not be attractive, particularly among the retired crowd who has the time off to take such lengthy voyages. So it is possible that prices drop, as they have during past years. It’s all purely speculative at this point.
Yet with most cruise line cancelation policies now allowing cancelations 48 hours or more before the sailing, it can be a very safe bet to just book while there’s a good deal.
Enjoy Your Repositioning Cruise – Bon Voyage!
We hope you find a hugely discounted repositioning cruise deal! Happy hunting and bon voyage! 🚢
For more ways to save money while cruising, be sure to check out our big cruise master post about all of our cruise tips & tricks:
And to see how we used four different repositioning cruises to travel entirely around the world without flights, be sure to read our big fat post about:
Publishing Note: This post is continually updated with the latest information and repositioning cruise deals. Last updated: August, 2020. We’ll strive to update it regularly throughout the rest of the year and beyond, so feel free to bookmark this page and check back for more 2021 repositioning cruise deals to come!