Last Updated on September 15, 2023

What is a repositioning cruise

What Is a Repositioning Cruise?

A repositioning cruise is a type of journey that cruise ships undertake to relocate from one region or hemisphere to another.

It typically happens when the cruising season in one region is ending and beginning in another. For instance, a ship might reposition from the Caribbean to Europe as summer approaches.

These cruises often offer unique itineraries that might not be available during regular-season voyages.

They often include multiple days at sea and sometimes unusual port calls.

As these are not regular routes and the cruise lines want to fill these trips, repositioning cruises can often be a great deal, offered at lower rates compared to standard itineraries.

A Repositioning Cruise can also be known as a repositioning voyage or cruise relocation.

Benefits of Booking a Repositioning Cruise

Valeria on a cruise to the Caribbean
Valeria on a cruise to the Caribbean

A Repositioning Cruise can provide you with many benefits as a traveller and these include the following:

1. Lower Cost

Repositioning cruises are often more affordable than traditional cruises because they are considered one-way journeys. Cruise lines tend to reduce prices to attract passengers for these less common itineraries.

These cruises are less popular with some people because of the extended time at sea that some people prefer not to book.

But they can be an attractive option if you are a traveller seeking a longer cruise experience at a lower cost.

2. Unique Itineraries

Repositioning cruises often follow quite different routes from the norm, allowing you to explore ports of call that are not part of typical cruise itineraries.

You may visit less-visited destinations and experience a more off-the-beaten-path journey.

Some repositioning cruises may take you through picturesque and less-traveled routes, offering stunning views of coastlines, islands, and natural landscapes.

This chance to see different places from normal cruises is what I especially love about this type of cruises.

3. Extended Cruise Duration

If you enjoy longer vacations, repositioning cruises typically last for a longer duration than standard cruises, providing an opportunity for more leisurely travel and relaxation.

If you love the open sea and the onboard experience of a cruise ship, repositioning is a great option.

4. Fewer Crowds

Since repositioning cruises may have fewer passengers compared to peak-season cruises, you can enjoy a more relaxed and uncrowded atmosphere onboard.

This can result in shorter lines for dining and activities.

5. Opportunities for Socializing

With fewer passengers on board, it can be easier to meet fellow travelers and make new friends during repositioning cruises.

Many passengers enjoy the extra-sociable atmosphere on cruise relocation trips.

6. Flexibility

Repositioning cruises allow you to embark and disembark in different locations, which can be hugely advantageous if you are looking to explore multiple destinations or combine your cruise with additional travel plans.


It’s important to note that repositioning cruises may have some downsides. These disadvantages can include the following.

1. Extended Time at Sea

While some passengers enjoy the extra days at sea, others may find it monotonous, especially if the ship lacks extensive onboard activities or entertainment options.

2. Limited Availability

Repositioning cruises are not as common as regular cruises, so you may have fewer options in terms of departure dates, cruise lines, and itineraries.

3. Potential for Repositioning Hassles

Sometimes, last-minute changes to the ship’s schedule or the need to adapt to unforeseen circumstances can disrupt passengers’ plans, leading to inconvenience.

I have never experienced any issues personally though on a repositioning voyage.

4. Crowds at Key Ports

Although repositioning cruises often visit less-traveled destinations, they may attract crowds of tourists at the more popular or well-known ports of call along the route.

5. Limited Dining Options

Some dining venues and restaurants on the ship may have reduced operating hours or closures during repositioning cruises, affecting passengers’ dining choices.

6. Long Flights

Depending on the embarkation and disembarkation ports, travelers may need to endure long flights to reach or return from their cruise, which can be tiring and time-consuming.

Paul’s Own Experience and Thoughts

Caribbean repositioning cruise
In the Caribbean at the end of a Repositioning cruise

Overall, I love repositioning cruises because they really are more sociable.

You get to know the other passengers better given there are far fewer of you and sometimes you also get a chance to get to know some of the crew.

I also love the destinations that you can sometimes go to on these cruises!

Common Questions about Repositioning Cruises Answered

1. Are Repositioning Cruises Rough?

Repositioning cruises do tend to involve longer distances between ports and so there is the chance to experience rougher seas during the journey.

Modern cruise liners though are well-equipped with amenities such as stabilizers to ensure a smooth ride so, apart from known rough seas such as the Bay of Biscay, you will for the most part find the trip fine in terms of the sea.

2. What Happens on a Repositioning Cruise?

Unlike traditional cruises, repositioning cruises provide you with unique opportunities to explore ports of call and destinations that may not be available during typical cruises.

You will also usually have longer days in port as the ship travels to its destination.

This means that you will be able to explore each city’s culture and local attractions more deeply than on a regular cruise itinerary.

Additionally, many of these voyages feature stops at exotic ports of call with fewer crowds and shorter wait times.

3. Are Repositioning Cruises Less Crowded?

Repositioning cruises typically have fewer passengers than more traditional voyages, making them ideal for those looking to travel in a more laid-back and relaxed atmosphere.

This makes it far easier to make more meaningful connections because you end up in a tighter-knit group.

Where to Find and Book a Repositioning Cruise

There are numerous sites for searching for and booking a repositioning cruise and these are some of the places I look to first:

10 Tips for Traveling on a Repositioning Cruise

1. Pack for Variable Weather

Repositioning cruises often traverse regions with varying climates. Pack layers and versatile clothing to be prepared for both warm and cool weather.

2. Enjoy the Journey and Engage in Onboard Activities

The extended duration of repositioning cruises allows you to truly relish the onboard amenities.

Take advantage of the chance to benefit from the enrichment classes, and leisurely moments at sea.

Engage in activities like dance lessons, trivia, and cooking classes, and use your time to embrace the opportunities onboard.

3. Actively Engage with Fellow Travelers

The longer duration of repositioning cruises fosters camaraderie among passengers.

Attend meetups, lectures, and social events to meet new people and share experiences.

4. Plan Port Exploration

Research the ports of call along the repositioning route.

Plan shore excursions to immerse yourself in local cultures, history, and attractions.

5. Dine Adventurously

Take advantage of onboard dining options, including specialty restaurants.

Sample a variety of cuisines to enhance your culinary journey.

6. Pack Lightly, Shop Thoughtfully

Repositioning cruises often feature shopping opportunities at different ports.

Pack light to accommodate potential purchases, and choose meaningful souvenirs.

Remember, repositioning cruises offer a distinctive blend of relaxation and exploration.

Paul Symonds