Cruise jargon buster: What is a repositional, and how can it be beneficial?
Bargains can sometimes be had when cruise ships transfer between locations
For those who want a lengthy cruise, but don’t have a huge budget, a repositional cruise may be the answer. Often, after a ship has spent its spring and summer in the Mediterranean, it will transfer to the Caribbean for its winter programme, where the weather is hot. The same is true of colder destinations, too, which are enjoyable in summer, frozen over in winter. Emerald Princess, for example, will spend this summer travelling from Seattle (and other West Coast ports) to Alaska before it repositions to South America in the winter.
Cruise lines don’t like to sail without passengers on board, given the costs of operating the ship, and will avoid it if possible, hence these sailings, which are often unique, contain extra onboard activities and can often be snapped up for a decent price. They’re never flagged as ‘repositional’ though, usually transatlantic or ‘discovery’ (ignoring lines, such as Cunard, that specialise in transatlantic voyages) and offer good value for money, particularly for those who are looking for something a little different. Flights, from two different destinations, can push the price up considerably, so they work for those who are hoping to get to a destination – usually the US – without flying. Some lines will pair the reposition with a standard cruise, for example Viking Cruises’ New York, Bermuda & the West Indies cruise, which finishes in Puerto Rico, from where the line runs its Caribbean sailing (from £3,040pp). This pushes the price up, but, in this case, creates an incredible itinerary.