Guest post by Randy and Lori Grant.
Part of traveling is learning or finding out new ways to do it. We are always open to shortcuts or finding savvy ways to travel.
When we planned our first year in retirement we knew we would spend a year in Thailand, but after that first year we started looking at several options. Lori had a milestone birthday coming up in October 2015. She wanted to get back to Italy and several other places to celebrate it so we decided once we left Thailand we would fly to Europe and then take a repositioning cruise from Italy back to the U.S.
We learned about repositioning cruises several years ago while doing travel research on what to bring on a cruise on the internet. It was very intriguing and we thought one day we might be able to use it as a transportation option instead of flying.
As we told people about our plans, we were often asked, “What is a repositioning cruise?’
Everyone is familiar with basic cruises, but a repositioning cruise is when a cruise ship moves from one area of operation to another. For example, cruise ships spend the summer months sailing in the Mediterranean region and then in the fall they cruise across the Atlantic Ocean to winter in the Caribbean. In the spring, they simply reverse direction and on it goes.
Since these trips are usually one-way and during the less-busy off season, you can get some really good deals on these two week cruises.
Most stop in several amazing ports in Europe or the Caribbean for a week prior to the transatlantic crossing, which is usually another week at sea. There are plenty of activities and lectures during your week at sea. Don’t forget to bring a few books or your e-reader.
Depending on what cruise line and accommodations you choose will determine your price. Since we were celebrating Lori’s birthday, we decided to upgrade to a balcony stateroom and we chose Celebrity Cruise Line because the trip we wanted was called the 16 Day Three Continent Cruise (Europe, Africa, North America). Total expenses which included balcony stateroom, taxes, tips, trip insurance for two people cost $3500 Now this is a lot of money compared to what you can usually get these cruises for, but we splurged this time and probably won’t do it again. If we decided to get an inside cabin we would have cut that cost by a third. If we would have gone with Norwegian Cruise Line and took an inside cabin, we would have cut the cost in half.
Prior to our sailing, I checked the Norwegian transatlantic crossing which was 14 days and the price for an inside cabin was $480 per person. This was before taxes, gratuities, etc. Even with those, the price would have been less than $1000 per person. That includes all your meals, entertainment and lodging for two weeks. You are not going to get an airfare much cheaper than that. And another big bonus, no jet lag!
These types of cruises are all over the world and transit many places. You can go to almost any cruise web site (Vacations to Go, Cruise.com, Cruisedirect.com) and find these types of cruises. Remember, the price is low because it is one-way and it is usually during the off season. As teachers we would never have been able to take these cruises, but if you have the flexibility, it may be well worth it for you to look into this type of cruise.
Good luck and happy cruising!