Travelers who would like to cruise for less should consider a repositioning cruise. These cruises are available when cruise lines relocate their fleets because of the changing seasons. For example, in the winter they don't need to have ships in chilly Copenhagen, Denmark, so they will move the ships to a warmer location for winter cruising.
Repositioning cruises often include unique stops not found on regular itineraries. These trips are best for people who would like to relax while on board a ship. On some itineraries, travelers could be at sea for eight consecutive days, which, depending on their personality, could be great - or torture. They will still enjoy all the onboard amenities including plenty of food, but if they want a lot of port excursions, these cruises may not be their cup of tea.
I priced a late-September repositioning cruise on the Norwegian Dream from Dover, England, to Galveston, Texas. Bottom line: Prices per person per night start at $55 on the repositioning cruise versus $162 per person on the European cruise, offering a savings of 66 percent. At these prices, it's almost affordable to live on ship.
Here are the numbers. The 17-night repositioning itinerary begins at $949 for an inside cabin, $999 for an ocean view, $2,274 for a balcony and $2,699 for a suite. These rates were per person based on double occupancy. Prices on the same ship for early September travel within Europe for 12 nights ranged from $1,949 per person for an inside cabin to $4,869 per person for a suite.
For those traveling in a party of more than two, money can be saved by adding a third or fourth passenger to the same cabin. For example, prices for a 14-night cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles, with stops in Alaska, start at $1,599 per person for the first and second passenger and $699 per person for the third and fourth passenger sharing the same cabin.
Princess has a great itinerary for people with ample vacation time. The repositioning cruise from Copenhagen to New York departing in September has stops in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as stops in Iceland, Greenland and St. Johns, Newfoundland. Unfortunately, the cheapest cabins on the 15-night cruise are already sold out. However, they are available on the return trip in May from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Copenhagen, with stops in the Azores Islands and Europe.