How to find the best deals with repositioning cruises

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One of my favorite travel hacks, when I’m planning out a longer trip, is to look for one-way flights. This offers a lot of flexibility in that I’m not locked into leaving from my original destination. Recently, I discovered that this strategy can be applied to cruises as well. Who knew?

A repositioning cruise is basically a discounted cruise that is going just one way (instead of round trip). Occasionally, you’ll see these pop up when a cruise line is moving a ship to a different region to maximize on a different peak season. This is a great option for anyone who is looking to relax on a cruise and then maintain the flexibility and speed of booking air travel for the other leg of the trip.

Various websites can alert you to deals on repositioning cruises. (Photo by Denis Belitsky/Shutterstock)

Top 3 sites to find cheap repositioning cruises

When you start to think about traveling this way, it’s a great concept, right? So where can we find these magical repositioning cruise deals? Here are the top three sites that I typically search when looking for a cheap repositioning cruise.

Vacations To Go

You can find repositioning cruises when you visit the Vacations To Go site and click on “regions.” On the left side of the resulting page, you’ll see a box called “Find a Bargain.” Within that box, click on the “All regions” drop-down menu and select “Repositioning” from the list.

One thing that I like about this site is that you can sort by the percentage of savings. Although you will often find a better deal directly on a given cruise line’s website, this is a great starting point to see an aggregated list of cruise lines, the duration of the trip, and the discount you’re receiving on the repositioning cruise. 

CruiseDirect

Have you suddenly found yourself with some unexpected time off? Looking to book some last-minute travel plans? The CruiseDirect Deals page lists a ton of really great offers on last-minute cruises. You can filter these by price, duration, and date range. There’s not a specific filter for “repositioning,” but you can search for the term and some results should pop up.

The Cruise Web

The Cruise Web has a full section dedicated to repositioning cruises, which makes it really easy to search and sort for the cruise that you’re looking for. Although this site doesn’t offer as robust of a list as Vacations To Go, it offers a lot of great information about repositioning cruises in general — and you can still find some fantastic deals. 

List of repositioning cruises by cruise line

Here is a list of repositioning cruises by cruise line, linking directly to the cruise line’s website to help you find the best deal.

  • Royal Caribbean International: The Royal Caribbean deals page offers a wide range of options.
  • Virgin: A dedicated page shows repositioning cruises with this cruise line. 
  • Disney Cruise Line: One of the most popular cruise lines, especially for families with small children. Some cruises that are offered begin in the United States and end in Europe.
  • Carnival Cruise Line: You can search for transatlantic cruises on Carnival, many of which originate in Europe. 
  • Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL): Check out Norwegian’s “extraordinary destinations” page for deals on cruises. 
  • Pullmantur Cruises: This cruise line offers special deals on transatlantic cruises. 
  • Costa Cruises: You can find stellar deals for transoceanic routes on Costa Cruises. 
  • Celebrity Cruises: Search for transatlantic cruises by departure port. 

Things to look out for with repositioning cruise deals

Before you book your cruise, here are a few things to consider. 

Not all cruise lines are created equal

Like with any major purchase, it’s always a good idea to read the reviews before you commit to booking the cruise. Look for unbiased sources. In other words, a review on the cruise line’s website might not hold as much weight as one submitted on an aggregator, like Cruise Direct (where you can search for the “customer rating”). 

Check # of days at sea and port calls

This is a tip that I probably wouldn’t have initially considered, but I think it’s really important. When you’re evaluating which cruise to take, look at the number of days you’ll be at sea and the port calls (how many times the ship will stop and let passengers disembark for a bit). It’s unusual to find a cruise with no port calls, but it does happen. So, unless you think you wouldn’t mind taking a 21-day cruise with zero stops, this is a big one to keep in mind. 

Oceanview and balcony room prices can be similar

The difference between an oceanview room and a balcony room is exactly as you’d imagine: An oceanview room has a window, and a balcony room has a small veranda that you can walk out on (giving you a bit more space). Sometimes the pricing for a balcony room is comparable to an oceanview room, which is good to keep in mind when you’re searching for cruise deals. 

Bottom line

Repositioning cruises are a cheaper way to cross the Atlantic for those who are looking for a bit of a slower journey. I like the thought of taking a cruise one way; it feels like an adventure. There are several good resources for finding this type of cruise, listed above. The key is to figure out how many days you’d like to travel and where you want to go. Have you considered taking a repositioning cruise? We’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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