Ocean Crossing and Repositioning Cruises

Some of the best values and most unusual itineries in cruising, can be found in Ocean Crossing and Repositioning Cruises. Also known as Transition Cruises, these are the cruises when a ship is moved from one location to another, generally in the spring and again in the autumn.

Because of the length of voyages and times of year when ships move from summer to winter schedules and back again, repositioning and transition cruises attract a more mature passenger. You'll find the cruise lines know their clientele well, and cater to the needs of the passengers likely to book transition cruises. Look for cruises that offer themed travel, with packages that fill long hours at sea with lectures, shows, and instruction on your favorite interests.

Travel agents realize transition/repositioning cruises are a growing way of travel and frequently offer packages that combine short 3 to 4 day cruises with a similar amount of time at a resort before or after the cruise, or scout out the best land and air fares so the bargain of a transition/repositioning cruise is not lost on jaw dropping one way fares back home.

Pros and Cons

Transition/repositioning cruises are often tremendous bargains as they occur at the end of the tourist season when land based attractions are finishing up for the season and weather is unpredictable. Cruise lines move their ships to Alaska and Europe in the Spring and back down from northern routes to the Carribean, Mediterranian, and South Pacific routes in the Autumn. Whether you want to spend a few days at sea or would enjoy the adventure of a lifetime in a trans-oceanic cruise, you can find a wide variety of ships, routes, and prices that meet your needs. Accomodations sell out early so alert your travel agent or keep your eye on bargain cruise websites to snag the best deals as soon as they appear.

Repositioning cruises are scheduled twice per year, per ship. Ships that cruise the Alaskan coast during the summer offer trips to Hawaii, or down the west coast of Canada and the US to San Diego and Mexico when the weather starts to chill, and vice versa as summer approaches. Cruise lines reposition ships from the eastern US coast and Nova  Scotia, and northern European routes to the Mediterranian and Africa in the Autumn, and back again at the end of Spring. You may find trans-Panama Canal cruises, and trips to Asia and Australia amongst the offerings at both times of the year.

Cruise lines focus on getting from one port to the other in the quickest amount of time, so voyages include few stops - mostly quick pit stops in exotic, off the beaten path, locations - and days are leisurely spent on the open sea.

The downside of transition/repositioning cruises will include reduced staff, unpredicable weather conditions, and unusual ports of call that are boarding up for the end of the season as you are preparing to sail away.

As a rule, it is the weather that dictates the end of a season for a cruise route.  Since repositioning cruises are often over the deep sea, if adverse weather conditions do arise, travel conditions can be a bit rough.

In addition you need to factor in increased air and ground travel as transition/repositioning cruises are one way only.

Transition and Repositioning Cruises in 2010

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User Comments


We are going on a transition cruise with Princess on September 2009 from Whittier to Sapporo and we're wondering what to expect regarding normal sea conditions
we would like to leave from southampton and cruise to australia got any idears Margie
I would like to travel to Ireland in July from Canada, Toronto. Do you know about any cheep way to get on a cruse?

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