Cruise holidays are a great way to explore the world all the while still enjoying the comforts of a boutique hotel. This is probably why ABTA found that the number of Britons opting for a cruise holiday is growing year on year. however, along with his increase in popularity comes a hike in ticket prices with many luxury lines.
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Yet, as Britons begin to prioritise time spent travelling, many are also looking for new ways to cut costs.
Though holding out for sales and seasonal deals may seem like the only way to bag a cheap cruise, industry insiders have revealed there is one particular type of cruise that could see travellers bagging an unexpected bargain.
The secret comes in the form of repositioning cruises. What’s more now is the peak time to get your hands on one of these cheap cruise deals.
Repositioning cruises are one-off itineraries that come when cruise ships change to a new homeport.
They boast offbeat routes and varying climates, as well as port days in locations you may not normally have the opportunity to experience.
However, as Kerry Spencer, Editor of Cruise Critic points out, they have a financial draw too.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Kerry explained that they offer “lower than average” prices too.
“Not many travellers know about repositioning cruises, but if you enjoy the idea of luxury cruise living with many days at sea and also want to grab a great cruise deal at the same time, then a repositioning cruise might be the answer,” she said.
“These one-way voyages are often sold at discount prices as they are not part of regular sailing schedules.”
Emrys Takkar, founder of Cruise Hive also points out the added adventure on offer from a repositioning cruise.
“Booking a repositioning cruise is something usually that’s seasonal so always be prepared to end up in a totally different region or continent such as Caribbean or Mediterranean or even Alaska or the Pacific,” he says.
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The types of routes on offer depend largely on the time of year.
Kerry continues: “Few ships stay in Europe when the seasons change, so between October and November there are many ships crossing from Britain to the U.S. and Caribbean, calling at the Azores and Bermuda along the way. “Having spent winter in the Caribbean and South America, many ships in the spring also head back to Britain via the Azores, Canary Islands and Iberian Peninsula.”
In a bid to lure passengers in and keep them occupied on some of the long sea days, the ships boast enhanced enrichment activities or specialist themes.
“To attract passengers, cruise lines may theme these cruises with topics ranging from food and wine, to theatre and big band music, to keep passengers entertained,” Kerry continues.
“Enhanced enrichment programmes also make these voyages appealing.”
Of course, the reduced price is the main draw though – and passengers could save up to a whopping 70 percent off the usual ticket price.
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“Repositioning cruise prices can vary greatly, based on sales trends, timing of the purchase, the popularity of the ship, and the appeal of the exact itinerary,” says Kerry.
“Savings can represent anywhere between 25 and 70 percent off the usual cruise fare.
“Repositioning cruise deals have been found for as little as £31 per person, per night, for accommodation, all meals and entertainment, which is a truly astounding bargain.”
However, leaving it until the last minute to book could mean missing out on the incredible offers.
“ It is often best to avoid booking your cruise too early as last-minute deals are a regular occurrence – but make sure you factor in flights as well – since they might be more expensive if bought at the eleventh hour,” warns Kerry.
Emrys adds: “These cruises will be unique and usually only offered once at a lower price.
“These type of cruises are usually longer and cruisers would really need to plan travel arrangements carefully as they can be more expensive.”
Alas, though there are plenty of reasons to enjoy a repositioning cruise, there are some downsides.
Kerry suggests that they simply won’t be for some types of cruiser.
“Spending days on end in the middle of nowhere, especially on ocean crossings – might not be everyone’s cup of tea,” she says.
“Repositioning cruises also tend to be long – sometimes taking up to a month – which means that only some people have the available free time to enjoy them.”
Furthermore, some logistical issues can crop up.
“As you make your way from one region to another, temperatures tend to fluctuate – so you have to make these allowances when packing.
“Ocean crossings can also often mean a bumpier ride, especially on smaller ships, so it’s wise to pack a good motion sickness remedy.”
Kerry also recommends passengers take careful consideration during the booking process. One ill-made decision could change the entire experience.
“As you will be onboard for a long time, we recommend that you choose your cabin wisely,” she advises.
“Study the deck plans and see which cabin areas to avoid.
“The pool deck (in warm weather) and other entertainment and fitness areas will be busy all the time – so you might not want to secure a cabin on or directly under these decks.
“Remember, that if you are booking at the last minute, you might not have much choice of cabins, so will ultimately need to weigh your desire for a perfect cabin location, with your goal of securing the lowest price.”
Many popular cruise lines offer repositioning cruises, including Royal Caribbean International, MSC or Norwegian Cruise Line, well known for their action-packed sailings.
Meanwhile, Celebrity or Princess Cruises also have a number of laid back sailings on offer.
With many repositioning cruises happing in the coming months ahead of the summer season, now could be the time to put this industry secret to the test.
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