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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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