Savvy cruisers can save thousands on repositioning cruises. Especially for the budget-conscious traveller, these voyages can save up to 50 to 75 per cent off the usual cruise price.
For example, Royal Caribbean has three upcoming repositioning cruises, all for extremely good value.
The cheapest of the lot is a Quantum of the Seas sailing from Honolulu into Brisbane. The 17-night sailing is just $999pp for an interior cabin or just $59 per night. While repositioning cruises spend longer at sea than a regular cruise, there are still plenty of exciting ports. The cruise stops at Papeete, Moorea and Port Vila on the way to Brisbane.
There’s another going on Ovation of the Seas, also cruising from Honolulu to Sydney. This 18-night sailing starts from $1499pp or $83 per night. This cruise will visit Papeete, Moorea, French Polynesia, Auckland and the Bay of Islands.
Brilliance of the Seas is also heading from Honolulu to Sydney. The voyage goes for 17-night nights, with prices starting from $1399 or $82 per night.
Katrina Van Der Merwe, Flight Centre Cruise Specialist says due to many people not knowing about repositioning cruises, they often have more availability.
“Yes – I think that people either forget about or don’t know that these exist! All of the major cruise liners do a reposition at some point in the year – usually twice, as the main seasons change. You get a longer sailing; across the Atlantic, or through areas of the Pacific. Because this is a non-typical route, there are sometimes a few ports of call that aren’t on regular itineraries – definitely a bonus!”
Why are they so affordable?
Ms Van Der Merwe says these cruises generally don’t attract as much customer interest, due to the higher ratio of sea days.
“I think people have the idea that a cruise is a new port every day – and having worked on the ships, this was one of the hardest things to reacclimatise myself to as waking up somewhere new each day can be thrilling, and addictive.
“However, with a repositioning cruise, you’ll spend most of your days at sea, and a lot of people just aren’t interested in something like that. Decide whether you’re looking for some genuine downtime to recharge your soul.”
Who would enjoy a repositioning cruise?
It’s crucial to remember these types of cruises may not be ideal for the type of travel you’re looking for.
Ms Van Der Merwe says: “ This is a relaxing time – sit back and enjoy the solitude that the wide-open ocean affords. This is not a ‘Go-go-go’ type of adventure. You will still have access to the pools, and other ship amenities – but at a slightly different pace, for both the traveller and the ship crew.
“The crew is on a shorter rotation and is also enjoying some downtime. Crew and staff work seven days a week, for six to eight months at a go. Remember that this is their home, and they’re on a bit of a holiday for these cruises as much as you are.”
However, if this is what you are after, it can be a wonderful experience.
“The peace – there’s something pretty magical about being surrounded by nothing – just you, and the ocean. It’s a majestic feeling, really, though a bit daunting sometimes. Your opportunities for something incredible are there, waiting for you to catch them.”
What is a repositioning cruise?
These one-way cruises happen at the end of a cruise season. This usually happens during autumn and spring. When the ships finish their season in the northern hemisphere, they will sail across the Pacific, the Middle East as well as through Asia to get to Australian waters.
There are plenty of good deals around for repositioning cruise, both local and abroad. Rome to Miami sailing over 13 nights with stops in Spain and the Canary Islands is only $966, or just $74 per night.
For another option that will take you straight back home, this Carnival cruise will take you from Seattle to Sydney for just $2233 over 21 nights, with Hawaii and South Pacific stops along the way. If you’re rather looking to head to Asia, this 16-night Singapore to Sydney cruise with stops in Jakarta, Bali, the Great Barrier Reef and more is just $1458 or $91 per day.
Cruise Guru has some great deals running for Princess repositioning cruises, with this 27-night sailing from Vancouver to Sydney starting at $3635 or this 24-night sailing from San Francisco to Sydney starting at just $2965.
Celebrity Cruises also has some great deals running, with this 17-night Tahitian Treasures cruise from Sydney to Hawaii, starting from $3247, or this 17-night Fiji Transpacific sailing, also from Sydney to Hawaii, kicking off from $3614.