A ‘repositioning cruise’ is where the cruise line moves the ship from one holiday season to another – so the prices can drop unbelievably low.
This is one of our favourite ways to travel, especially when going from one continent to another, as some of the deals you can find are cheaper than a one-way flight.
I know what you’re thinking. Cruises are for old people. What if I get seasick. Or cabin fever. I’ll be the first to admit cruises don’t typically beckon backpackers alike.
But I can assure you, there really is nothing better than enjoying pampered living and all-inclusive meals after months of roughing it. It’s like being at a (floating) resort, and nothing in the world matters.
And if that doesn’t convince you, then here are six reasons why you should take a repositioning cruise at least once on your round-the-world trip.
Reason #1 – Unbeatable price
You won’t be able to pass up the unbeatable deals on repositioning cruises. From just a few hundred dollars, you’ll receive all-inclusive meals (and sometimes unlimited alcohol), entertainment, and transport. That’s a heck of lot better value than flying.
For instance, we scored a 15-night transpacific cruise on the luxurious Celebrity Millennium, crossing the Bering Sea from Canada up to Alaska, and over to Japan.
We found the deal on RepositioningCruise.com for $629US per person, with $200US onboard credit (they gave us an extra $75!). Plus, port taxes ($185US), and gratuities ($13.50US per day).
That’s just $68US per night, which is surprisingly cheaper than some of the countries we backpacked through in South America, and only a $100 more than a one-way flight.
Reason #2 – Take a break from backpacking
It’s a great way to get from one continent to another, without having to take a long-haul flight. Sure, it’s a slower mode of transport, but when you’re traveling full-time, sometimes you need a holiday-from-a-holiday or an escape from backpacker life.
After many sleepless nights in crowded hostel dorms, you’ll love waking up to your own private room with crisp white sheets, a firm mattress, and a hot shower – and not to forget the cute towel animals or complimentary room service.
Then there are the laid-back days at sea, where you can kick back and relax. You can sleep in, enjoy a lavish breakfast, or soak up the sun on the pool deck with a piña colada in hand. You’ll start to feel human again, and like you’re on a ‘real’ holiday.
And when it comes to food, you won’t ever have to worry about where to find cheap eats, or how to avoid getting food poisoning. You’ll be fed like a king, with all-inclusive a la carte restaurants, and an international buffet.
Reason #3 – Explore new places
While repositioning cruises tend to have some obscure ports of call, we were lucky to score a cruise sailing through the inside passage of Alaska. Something we could never afford or would have considered, given the high cost of an Alaskan cruise.
On our transpacific crossing, we also had three other ports of call in Japan (Otaru, Hakodate, Yokohama), and had a chance to explore some more traditional cities.
While cruise line shore excursions can be rather expensive, you can, however explore the ports on your own, free of charge. You can wander the streets, visit the monuments or museums, go on a hike or relax on the beach.
Reason #4 – Meet new people
With thousands of guests on board, you’re bound to meet people from all over the world, and while some cruises tend to attract older folks, they’re always friendly and willing to strike up a conversation with you.
We always opt for ‘open dining’ which means we can sit on our own, or at a shared table. In doing so, we’ve met people from all walks of life, whom you’ll exchange travel stories with over dinner, and end up becoming lifelong friends.
Then there’s the amazing ship crew with whom you’ll bond. You’ll start to learn everything about their lives; their home, their family, their upbringing, their career, and the many sacrifices they’ve made by working abroad. It’s truly enlightening.
Reason #5 – Take a digital detox
Cruises are the perfect way to disconnect from the world. Not just because you’re sailing the high seas and there is no sign of civilisation, but because you literally won’t get any signal, whatsoever.
Well, there is of course satellite internet, but we all know that comes with a hefty price tag, so naturally you’ll be forced to disconnect.
I know it sounds awful but after a day you’ll feel so liberated. You won’t be checking your phone incessantly, or scrolling endlessly through Instagram. This is your chance to unwind, learn something new, read, write, or just chill.
Reason #6 – Build a routine
When you’re backpacking, you’re moving around all the time, and it’s almost impossible to stick to a routine. You’re on the go, so it’s hard to eat well and find time to exercise.
With so many days at sea, you have the opportunity to create a routine – even if it is only for a short period. Just by eating a good breakfast, and working out at the gym, you’ll start feeling better about all those tacos and margaritas you had in Mexico!
While you could stuff your face full on a cruise, and end up in a food-induced coma, it is possible to eat in moderation and get your daily serve of fresh fruit and vegetables – which isn’t always easy when travelling. Your waistline will thank you later.
If you find an awesome repositioning cruise deal, drop us a line and let us know and we might even join you! 🙂