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A repositioning cruise is an exciting journey full of relaxing days at sea and stops in exotic destinations along the way. These one-way itineraries start in one major cruise destination and end in another.

Typically, these one-way itineraries take place during changing cruise seasons when ships reposition to locations where there’s warmer weather.

How do repositioning cruises work?

Exterior of Celebrity Ascent

Celebrity Ascent

Ships that sail around destinations that have a limited cruise season (such as Alaska and the Mediterranean) usually offer a repositioning cruise itinerary twice a year.

For example, Alaska’s cruise season runs from May to September, which means that during the off-season months, the ship will be sailing around another region of the world.

In April, a few weeks before Alaska’s cruise season takes off, a ship will embark on a repositioning cruise that sails from Asia to Alaska, where it will remain until September. Then, another repositioning cruise will open up, this time heading back towards Asia, where it will stay during Alaska’s off-season.

Is a repositioning cruise the same as a transatlantic cruise?

Couple on Celebrity Beyond

Celebrity Beyond

Not necessarily. Many ships do reposition across the Atlantic as they move between Europe and the Caribbean, or the East Coast, or South America.

But a repositioning cruise might follow a completely different route. For example, it could travel from Hawaii to Sydney across the Pacific, or through the Panama Canal.

“Repositioning” is a general term for when a ship moves from one sailing area to another and isn’t connected to a specific route.

How long is a repositioning cruise?

What is a repositioning cruise - Infinite Veranda Stateroom on Celebrity Beyond

Infinite Veranda Stateroom on Celebrity Beyond

Since repositioning cruises have to travel such long distances, they tend to be lengthier and can last anywhere from 13 to 19 nights.

It’s also important to know that repositioning cruises often spend several consecutive days at sea (some itineraries spend up to 10 nights).

What are the benefits of a repositioning cruise?

Couple on Celebrity Beyond Villa

Celebrity Beyond Villa

There are several benefits to a repositioning cruise. You’ll have blissful, uninterrupted days at sea during which you can enjoy the ship, keep a watch for marine life, relax, have time to yourself, and generally get into the rhythm of cruising.

A repositioning cruise also takes you along unusual routes across the globe. More often than not, you’ll visit two continents in one vacation. Some repositioning cruises take you from the old world to the new, or vice versa, as you sail between the U.S. and Europe.

For many, a repositioning cruise is an adventure. Because you’re crossing an ocean, you get a different perspective on slow travel and the vastness of the world.

What is there to do on the ship?

If you’re worried about how you’ll be able to fill all those days at sea, there are plenty of entertaining and relaxing activities to engage in while cruising on one of our award-winning ships.

Woman getting a massage on a cruise

Feel like you’ve escaped to a five-star spa resort by getting pampered at the onboard spa, a state-of-the-art facility where you can enjoy oxygen facials, hot stone massages, and wellness and exercise classes.

On Edge-Series ships, we also offer the SEA Thermal Suite, which consists of eight different relaxation rooms, including a hammam, crystalarium, salt room, steam room, infrared sauna room, float room, rainfall water therapy room, and a traditional relaxation room with heated tile loungers.

Or use those days at sea to learn new skills or take up a new hobby. Sign up for wine classes with a sommelier, visit the computer room and learn how to edit pictures and videos, or take a photography class. You’ll also find culinary lessons, arts and crafts activities, and even mixology classes during your time onboard.

Couple on a picnic at the Lawn Club

The Lawn Club

Repositioning cruises are an excellent way to bond as a family. Spend days at sea having fun together in the game room, playing shuffleboard and croquet in the Lawn Club (on Solstice-Class ships), and enjoying meals together at the world-class restaurants onboard.

Reserve a night at Le Petit Chef, where the food is served along with an interactive 3-D table show, or head to Eden on Edge-series ships, where a number of sensory experiences and playful performances await.

Where can I sail on a repositioning cruise?

Couple in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Some of the major embarkation and debarkation ports for our repositioning cruise itineraries include the following:

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  • Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
  • Southampton, England
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Tampa, Florida

What are some typical repositioning cruise itineraries?

Here are some examples of our transatlantic and transpacific cruise itineraries:

Florida to Rome

Couple strolling in Rome

Rome, Italy

We offer a wide range of cruises from Florida to Europe, with ships departing Fort Lauderdale and Tampa. Typically, your cruise might call at sunny Bermuda after three days at sea, breaking the journey again in the Portuguese-owned islands of the Azores.

Other itineraries take you across the Atlantic to the Spanish Canary Islands, basking off the west coast of Africa, and calling at lush Madeira before heading to continental Europe.

Read: Cruises to Europe From the USA

Sydney to Honolulu

Skyline of Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

If you’re in Australia, you can embark on a transpacific cruise from Sydney to Hawaii, where you’ll stop in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands and Auckland. Then you’ll sail east until you cross the International Dateline, where you’ll subtract 24 hours from your current time.

Afterward, you’ll visit the Polynesian islands of Tahiti and Bora and Bora and cruise for five more nights before reaching Lahaina, Maui, and your final port of call, Honolulu.

Europe to Florida

Couple in Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Palma de Mallorca, Spain

There’s a wide choice of ports in which to start your westbound Atlantic repositioning cruise. If you want to explore the Mediterranean before heading west, pick a voyage that starts in Barcelona or Rome.

From Rome, you’ll stop at ports such as Toulon in France, Palma de Mallorca, Cartagena, and Malaga before leaving Europe behind.

Start in Barcelona and you’ll see Alicante and Gibraltar, with stops during the crossing in the Azores and Bermuda.

Alternatively, sail from Southampton, England and you could have a day in both Porto and Lisbon before starting the crossing, breaking the journey in Bermuda.

What should I pack?

Packing for a repositioning cruise is different from packing for a shorter cruise since you’ll experience multiple destinations and climates during your vacation.

Couple hanging out on a cruise balcony

The most important cruise packing tip for these itineraries is to bring plenty of layers that can be mixed and matched. Layers are key to making sure you’re comfortable during the duration of your cruise. 

Breathable t-shirts and long linen pants for tropical or other balmy-weather stops will pair well with cardigans and sweaters for cooler days in ports or evenings out on your stateroom’s veranda.

If you think you may be prone to seasickness during your cruise, pack some anti-nausea medication. Some travelers also find ginger supplements and pressure point bands to be helpful in combating seasickness.

What is a repositioning cruise - Celebrity Beyond

Celebrity Beyond

Explore our upcoming repositioning cruises and book your next unforgettable voyage today.

Free Vacation Planning Services

Free Vacation Planning Services