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
- Seabourn Spirit - Seabourn Spirit on March 3 in Manaus, Brazil for a 17-day repositioning cruise to Fort Lauderdale
- Seabourn Spirit - Seabourn Spirit docks in Fort Lauderdale on March 19. Passengers can either disembark or continue to Venice, Italy on April 17.
- Costa Concordia - Concordia departs Sao Paolo, Brazil on March 10 to to Savona, Italy
- Costa Victoria - Victoria sails from Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 20, to Venice, Italy
- Costa Fortuna - Fortuna sails from Fort Lauderdale on March 28, to Savona, Italy
- MSC's Lirica - Lirica leaves Rio de Janeiro March 12, arriving in Genoa, Italy on March 29.
- MSC's Musica - Musica leaves Sao Paolo on March 17, bound for Venice, Italy
- MSC's Armonia - Armonia sails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 29, and concludes in Venice, Italy
- Regent Seven Seas Mariner - Mariner sails from Fort Lauderdale on March 22, and concludes in in Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Fred Olsen's Black Watch - Black Watch departs March 4 from Lima, Peru on a trip to London, England
- Windstar's Wind Surf - Windsurf sails from Barbados on March 21 and arrives in Lisbon, Portugal 13 days later.
- Oceania's Regatta - Regatta leaves Miami, Florida on March 21, bound for Barcelona, Spain
- Royal Caribbean's Splendour of the Seas - Splendour of the Seas departs Sao Paolo on March 20, for Barcelona, Spain
- Holland America's Eurodam - Eurodam departs Ft Lauderdale on April 3 for Civitavecchia, Italy
- Holland America Zaandam - Zandam departs San Diego on April 6, for Honolulu, Hawaii
- Holland America Westerdam - Westerdam departs Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on April 14, for Venice, Italy
- Princess Cruises Ruby Princess - Ruby Princess departs Fort Lauderdale, Florida on April 19, for Barcelona, Spain
- Cunard Queen Mary 2 - Queen Mary 2 departs Southampton, UK on April 22, for New York, USA
- MSC Poesia - Poesia leaves Fort Lauderdale on April 27, for Hamburg, Germany
- Cunard Queen Mary 2 - Queen Mary 2 departs NYC on April 29, for Hamburg, Germany
- Princess Cruises Crown Princess - Crown Princess departs Fort Lauderdale, Florida on May 1, for Rome, Italy
- Holland America Noordam - Noordam departs Fort Lauderdale, Florida on May 14, for Barclona, Spain
- Norwegian Cruise Lines, Norwegian Epic - Norwegian Epic departs Southampton, UK on June 24, for NYC
- Holland America Maasdam - Maasdam departs Boston, Massachussets on July 17, for Dover, UK
- Holland America Eurodam - Eurodam departs Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on August 19, for NYC
- Crystal Symphony - Symphony departs Dover, UK on Sept 5, for NYC
- Holland America Noordam - Noordam departs Civitavecchia, Italy, on October 18, for Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Cunard Queen Victoria - Queen Victoria departs Southampton, UK on Jan 5, 2011, for Los Angeles, CA, USA