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Anyone ever been on a repositioning cruise ship?

Liz CA

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I don't care for all the entertainment on cruise ships but am toying with the idea of looking at a repositioning trip. I think this was suggested on this board some time ago. 

What do I need to know? Why is it a good / bad idea?

I have flexibility with dates. I am thinking of visiting someone in Northern Europe and then fly home.

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I believe it would be OK, if:

(1) It has not just been in a major retrofit immediately before you go on it and if

(2)  You can verify that there will not be any major construction work, painting, etc., going on, during the repositioning cruise.

Bon Voyage...

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Yes! It wasn't any different from a regular cruise except that it was longer and cheaper. Many more days at sea, but still plenty of fun stops on both sides of the Atlantic. One-way plane tickets to get to the port and then come back home can be expensive, though. We drove to our departure port and then flew home from Europe. The plane tickets home cost as much as our cruise tickets (which were wicked cheap for a 16 day cruise, but still).

We made great friends with our tablemates over the course of two weeks. It was a lot of fun.

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Well, I have been on a transatlantic that was basically a repositioning...

I would look at the specific cruise you are thinking of (and not worry too much about what it is called). Many "repositioning" cruises are pretty much the same as the regular ones only with different beginning/end ports. As long as that works for you (i.e. it isn't too inconvenient to travel to/from) it should be like pretty much any cruise. However, in some cases (e.g. transatlantic repositioning) there may be less ports. As you said you don't care for entertainment on board I would assume more ports would be better? Though of course you can largely avoid entertainment and just chill out on board.

Possible differences based on our repositioning (though I don't think they would apply for many others that mimic regular cruises more closely):

The cruise was much cheaper
Flights were more expensive (due to one-way)
Both food and some entertainment got a bit repetitive as the ship generally has one-week sailngs but ours was 12 days
The ship seemed fairly empty. Most cabins were probably taken but there probably weren't as many with 3 or 4 people in it.

Thinking about it a bit more, most transatlantics do have a fair number of ports so the above may not apply as much. However, ours was pretty much just a crossing (we went from Florida to Barcelona and only had one port (Malaga) between). 

Most transatlantic reposition cruises are either in spring (April/May) going West to East and in fall (September to November) going East to West. Personally I like taking the ship from West to East (i.e. to Europe) as it avoids jetlag.

Of course cruise lines are very different from each other so it depends what you are looking for. Would you be taking the family or is it just you? Are you looking for quiet/relaxation, luxury, fun? Any specific ports you are interested in?


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I've been on several transatlantic cruises, and will be going again. All Disney.

I'm not a good food critic (dh and I go for the cheapest possible coffee, for starters, and we really can't tell the difference!) but they had interesting entertainment, I thought (they have always brought on a guest lecturer. One time it was a historian specializing on Columbus when we were essentially following the same route, and another time it was one of the people who worked on the movie Moana.) It was great for our kids, since the crew really have time to get to know everyone, and if you're not big on crowds, it's much less stressful. They tend to use the smaller ships, so it doesn't feel empty, either. 

Also, I've found that the captains generally do a good job steering the ship to the best possible weather, though that might mean several days listening to the fog horn every ten minutes. But foggy waters are very calm.

I'd say the one downside is that if you're on a cruise from Florida to northern Europe, it requires a really wide range of clothes, even in late spring. That said, with determined kids and a heated pool, it has to get really cold before it's not swimming weather!

The Disney cruises from the US to Europe usually depart in May, and the ones from Europe back to the US are in September. I think for the next few years, the east bound cruises are going to Barcelona or other points south, and the westbound cruises come from northern Europe. How far in advance are you thinking?

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