Taking the Slow Boat – Re-positioning Cruise

What is a Re-positioning Cruise

Each Spring cruise lines re-position many of their ships from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale to Europe in order to service itineraries there. The fares for these cruises are typically discounted in order to fill the ship for its voyage across the Atlantic.  The duration of a re-positioning cruise will depend on the cruise line and route, but are typically from twelve to fourteen days. These are not port intensive cruises and there are more sea days than port days. Disembarkation will typically happen in South Hampton, Barcelona or Rome. While fares are discounted, services are not sacrificed, and passengers enjoy all the amenities of full-fare cruises.

Why book a Re-positioning Cruise

The answer to that question is easy for us because we love to cruise, and we live within two hours of two major cruise ports in Florida. Cost, comfort and convenience are the main reasons why we have taken a ship to Europe three times in the past five years. You can read about our experience on the Celebrity Eclipse trans-Atlantic crossing in this post from last year. Being on a ship for thirteen to fourteen days might cause concern for first-timers, or anyone who languishes at the thought of being at sea for consecutive days, but we have adapted well. Ships today are big enough to get quietly lost in a corner or be at the center of activity whenever you choose.

Being retired has given us the luxury of time to “take a slow boat,” literally. Once there, we can hop on another cruise, or travel by rail to almost anywhere we care to be. We have met travelers who spend months taking consecutive cruises or traveling by rail through Europe before returning to the States via cruise ship when they re-position back to the US in October and November. Now that’s the life!

Celebrity Silhouette – website photo

Many passengers book a re-positioning cruise simply to enjoy a luxurious, resort style vacation. If you only have two weeks to travel and want a great bang for your buck, this is the way to go. Based on personal experience in a Balcony cabin on a Celebrity ship, the average cost is about $60 per person, per day (excluding beverage packages, spa services and excursions). Yes, you will have to factor in the flight home, but I’m guessing it will still be less expensive than one week in a first class resort near your home.

Cruise Community

We have taken cruises for as few as three days to as many as thirty-six days, but the one thing they all have in common is community. We always meet interesting people and have formed lasting friendships with several couples who we met while cruising. Passengers on a re-positioning cruise tend to be especially social. After all, you have to do something with all those sea days; why not make a few new friends over a game of cards.

A few years ago I discovered Cruise Critic a website for cruisers. Before we cruise, I check the ship’s roll call in order to connect with other passengers on our ship. The roll call for re-positioning cruises is especially active since almost everyone has a different purpose for taking the cruise and they are anxious to gain and share information. From sharing rides and booking private excursions to organizing games for sea days, everyone gets in on the conversation. Cruise Critic offers a wealth of information beyond connections, and is worth checking out before your next cruise.

What’s Up with Us

Our next voyage leaves from Ft. Lauderdale on April 15th and arrives in Southampton, UK on April 28th. Ports of call include Kings Wharf, Bermuda, Lisbon Portugal and the Azores.  After the cruise, we will take a train from Southampton to London where we will begin a two week rail journey through Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands.

During this final week before departure, we will check weather conditions at all our destinations and make one final edit to our already packed wardrobe, pay bills, exchange currency, contact credit card companies, organize travel documents, leave instructions for house sitters and secure outlet converters. Whew…I need a vacation!


29 Comments on “Taking the Slow Boat – Re-positioning Cruise

  1. Thanks for this post! I have a couple of friends who have done this and they both loved it. Most of our travels have been in our RV and we have never been on a cruise.


    • Beth, you are so close to so many sea ports. You seriously need to consider taking a cruise. If you love RV travel, you will really love cruising. I would not recommend a “crossing” to a first timer, but definitely a quick three or five day out to Bermuda would do you a world of good.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Suzanne and Malcolm – My husband and I have done all kinds of travel….except we have never yet explored cruising. Thank you for sharing this info on ‘Repositioning Cruises’……it has sparked a few new ideas which I will now explore further!


    • Donna, from your location you should check out trans-Pacific re-positioning cruises. We have always wanted to fly to Seattle or Vancouver and take a ship to Australia and New Zeland, maybe Toykyo and Hong Kong as well. We sailed out of San Diego a few years ago on a 36 day South Pacific voyage to Hawaii, Bora Bora, Tahiti, etc and had a wonderful experience. Thanks for stopping by.


  3. I have done few cruises and have always enjoyed it a lot. We live only 30 minutes from the port of Southampton in the UK and therefore it is so easy for us. I love how relaxing it can be, also you feel you are on holiday the moment you board the ship. I have not yet taken a re-positioning cruise, but it certainly appeals to me. I hope you have a great time in Europe and I will look forward to your blog posts 😄


  4. Gilda, hop a ship when they come back to the US in October or November and hang around for a while. We will go play together!


  5. Although we haven’t cruised often (once to Mexico and recently to Alaska) we have enjoyed the experience. I’ve heard about repositioning cruises and think it’s a great idea when you have the time to spend both at sea and then at the final destination (which we do now that we are retired). Here on the left coast, we have a few convenient options, including a few cruises that leave from our city (and I love the itinerary of the 36-day cruise from San Diego to Hawaii, Bora Bora, and Tahiti). I still have the Panama Canal on my bucket list. Have a wonderful time on your cruise!


    • Janis, you are in the perfect location for cruising. We have always wanted to do the Canal also and we will one day in the near future.If you find something interesting (and economical) let me know. The 36 day South Pacific from San Diego was amazing. We did that on a Holland America ship, but I think Celebrity has something available also. I have never visited anywhere as beautiful as Bora Bora. Having the time to take extended trips is the most wonderful thing about retirement.


  6. Although I’ve heard about re-positioning cruises, I’m not so sure I would be a good candidate for one. I suspect I would go a little stir crazy after a day.

    I hope you have a great vacation. I like the sound of the rail trip through Europe!


    • I know from having read your Blog that you like to stay active. I’m like that too. You might be surprised at how many opportunities there are, from dance lessons to Yoga classes, to Trivia games and such to keep yourself busy. I have rarely been bored. What gets me though is rain! It drives everyone inside and the ship can get a little claustrophobic for me. We are looking forward to riding the trains again.


      • I admit that while I was out hiking today I caught myself thinking about you and this cruise.
        There is still that part of me that says – “but you’ve never tried it, Joanne. You might like it’ 🙂


    • We were in Bruges for a couple of nights a few years ago and loved it. Have never been to Amsterdam or Copenhagen, so those stops should be interesting. Malcolm is most looking forward to seeing Wunderland in Hamburg Germany. I am sure I will devote an entire post to that visit.


  7. We have never ever been on a cruise but I imagine one of the main benefits would be not having to find or change hotels and pack and unpack. Enjoy your upcoming cruise!



    • Peta, that is clearly one of the appealing things about cruising. Kinda wishing the cruise was on the back-end, and not the front-end of the journey. I will need some relaxation after living out of my luggage while we city hop.Reminder to self- stay organized!


  8. Suzanne, so happy to have discovered your blog again! Your cruise looks absolutely wonderful, as does your whole itinerary. I think you will love Lisbon. Portugal is still slightly under the radar of most people, and the prices are really terrific, still, as a result. My tip? Buy lots of costume jewelry! Seriously, you can pick up great pieces there for between 3-5 euro each for the many, many sidewalk vendors. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!


  9. It seems cruise for people who looking for more educational and immersive experiences in life . That’s a lot of fun and memories to spend some time in re position cruise


  10. Pingback: Recap of 2018 and What’s Next | Picture Retirement

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  12. Great information, Suzanne. Only on one cruise, so far, approximately 25 years ago. I did feel a little seasick (50% of the ship did not feel well). We were in the Western Caribbean and we were in open sea (no docking) for two days. First time I have heard of Cruise Critic. Thank you for sharing information:)


    • Erica, I’d say it’s time to try another one. Things have changed a lot in 25 years and the cruise industry has something for everyone. Bigger ships with better stabilization have practically eliminated the need for sea sickness meds, but there is always the chance of rough seas. If that happens, we just pop a pill and find a quiet corner. Cruise Critic is a great place to research cruise lines, individual ships, and destinations. Passenger reviews are invaluable when making choices.

      Liked by 1 person

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