|Tortola, B.V.I., is a port of call on repositioning cruises from Oceania and Royal Caribbean.|
Consumers often overlook fall or spring repositioning cruises because these voyages aren’t the norm in terms of an itinerary. They’re longer than a typical Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise and have multiple sea days.
Yet, repositioning voyages have their own appeal. Itineraries are certainly one-of-a-kind. They often visit off-the-beaten-path ports. In addition, the lines often theme such voyages or add one-of-a-kind onboard activities or interesting speakers. For example, Crystal Symphony will shift from North America to South America, departing November 23 with a convenient Miami departure.
Fielding a “Wine and Food” theme, the Crystal Cruises voyage includes culinary perks, an overnight in Rio and port calls in Barbados and Devil’s Island, French Guiana. Brazilian port calls include a maiden call in Natal, plus Belem, Fortaleza, Maceio and Salvador stops.
Another draw for repositioning cruises? The lines have also increased port calls on such itineraries—clearly recognizing the importance of “the destination” to cruise guests. Royal Caribbean International’s Brilliance of the Seas departs October 27 from Boston for a 13-night repositioning cruise that includes port calls in the southern Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean organizes shore trips for guests at Basseterre, St. Kitts; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; Willemstad, Curacao; and Oranjestad, Aruba, before the cruise ends in Tampa, FL, where the ship repositions for a winter season of sailings. While the voyage includes seven sea days, it also includes five full day port calls in the southern Caribbean. Air lift is good on both ends, all within the U.S. That’s a plus for those travelers wanting to avoid overseas flights.
“Another advantage to repositioning cruises is they often allow for extended overland visits,” emphasized Amber Blecker, owner, CruiseOne, Aurora, CO. “Even if your ship doesn’t overnight in Lima, Peru, for example, one can leave the ship in one port, make a visit to Machu Picchu, then rejoin in another port without difficulty.”
Among the options this fall? As the summer Alaska cruise season ends, Norwegian Sun will sail September 16 from Vancouver to Los Angeles, providing a week-long Pacific Northwest repositioning adventure. The Norwegian Cruise Line ship will call at Nanaimo and Victoria, BC, as well as Astoria, OR, and San Francisco before the voyage ends. Four port days and two sea days create a good activity mix both onboard and ashore.
“Repositioning cruises with several sea days are great for the overworked professional needing some down time,” said Margie Jordan, president and CEO, Jordan Executive Travel Service, Jacksonville, FL. She believes sea days are a perfect way to relax and enjoy the ship’s amenities.
One cruise with a large number of sea days yet offering a Hawaii adventure is the Carnival Miracle’s 15-day repositioning cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles (Long Beach) on September 17. Carnival Cruise Lines clients will spend five days at sea, but then spend five full days ashore in Hawaii with one day each at Honolulu, Maui, Kauai, Kona and Hilo. The voyage then concludes with four sea days as the ship heads to Los Angeles (Long Beach).
Departing September 14, the MSC Poesia sails a nine-night, western Europe repositioning cruise as it navigates from Kiel, Germany, in the Baltic region to Genoa in the Mediterranean. Guests go ashore in Copenhagen, as well as at Cherbourg, France; Vigo and Lisbon in Portugal; and Gibraltar. This offering by MSC Cruises is good for those who appreciate the cultural diversity of the lands visited and that of those on board.
If clients want a westbound transatlantic cruise and have kids in tow, the 14-night Disney Magic repositioning cruise on September 6, 2014, from Barcelona, Spain to San Juan, Puerto Rico, offers family programming. The Disney Cruise Line ship, which recently was refreshed in drydock, calls at Malaga, Spain; Tenerife, Canary Islands; St. John’s, Antigua; St. Maarten; and Basseterre, St. Kitts.
If Latin America beckons, clients might book Norwegian Jewel’s 16-night repositioning cruise from Los Angeles to New Orleans. Departing September 27, this Panama Canal transit cruise includes seven port calls include Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco and Puerto Chiapas, on Mexico’s western coast; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Cartagena, Colombia; and Cozumel in Mexico’s Yucatan region.
Premium and luxury lines often operate point-to-point voyages, but even their repositioning cruises are a special breed. Repositioning between the Caribbean and Mediterranean, Oceania Cruises’ Riviera departs March 28, 2014, on a 24-night voyage from Miami to Barcelona that touches the Caribbean, Bermuda and North Africa. Port calls include Tortola, B.V.I.; St. John, U.S.V.I.; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; and Gustavia, St Barts. After a call in Miami the ship continues on to Kings Wharf, Bermuda; Funchal, Madeira; and Tangier, Morocco.
Silversea Cruises’ Silver Wind operates an 18-day repositioning voyage on December 3 from Las Palmas, Canary Islands, to Cape Town, South Africa. Guests on this voyage have 10 days at sea, interspersed with six days of shore visits. Port calls include Porto Novo and Praia, Cape Verde Islands; Dakar, Senegal; Takoradi, Ghana; Walvis Bay and Luderitz, Namibia, before arrival at Cape Town, from which it will operate a number of voyages.
Blecker said that such highly exotic voyages may appeal to traditional “non-cruisers” drawn to unusual destinations that are logistically difficult or expensive to reach. Clients interested in Middle Eastern or Eastern Mediterranean culture might consider Azamara Club Cruises’ 17-night cruise on Azamara Journey that sails on April 15 from Mumbai, India, to Athens, Greece. Guests spend 10 days at sea and enjoy port calls at Fujairah, United Arab Emirates; Aqaba, Jordan (with an overnight stay); Safaga and the Suez Canal, Egypt; and Paphos, Cyprus.
She said her clients are drawn to larger ships that need to move from the Caribbean to the Pacific: “These ships are too large for the current Panama Canal, so they must circumnavigate Cape Horn and South America. They call on several rarely-visited ports, especially along the Pacific South American side.”
Port collectors may be attracted to Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 18-night cruise from Barcelona to Rio. Seven Seas Mariner’s itinerary provides seven sea days plus overnight stays in Salvador De Bahia, Brazil, and Rio de Janeiro. Port calls along the way are Cartagena and Malaga, Spain; Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain; Santa Cruz De Tenerife, Spain; Porto Grande, Cape Verde; Recife, Brazil; and Buzios, Brazil. Cruise departs November 20.
For an exotic Asian itinerary, Holland America Line’s 32-day cruise on Amsterdam departs September 20 from Vancouver to Hong Kong. Along the way, guests go ashore in Los Angeles; Hilo and Honolulu, Hawaii; the Marshall Islands; Micronesia; Guam and Saipan, Mariana Islands; Kobe and Naha, Japan; and Shanghai, China.
Similarly, on September 14, Princess Cruises repositions Diamond Princess from Vancouver to Asia, with port calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Whittier, Alaska; Muroran, Japan; Vladivostok, Russia; and Busan, South Korea. It includes a cruise of Alaska’s Glacier Bay and ends in Qingdao, Dalian and Tianjin (for Beijing), China.
Not all repositioning cruises are lengthy. Celebrity Cruises operates an eight-night voyage from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Cape Liberty, NJ, on April 26; this voyage on Celebrity Summit includes an overnight at Kings Wharf, Bermuda; calls at Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, U.S.V.I.; and Tortola, B.V.I.; plus two days at sea.
|Crystal Symphony will overnight in Rio on its November 23 repositioning cruise.|