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Entries in Repositioning (1)

Tuesday
Aug302011

Travel Bargain: Repositioning Cruises Offer Great Deals

Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Could you use a little pampering at sea?

Every fall and every spring, the major cruise lines move their ships around the globe like chess pieces, repositioning them to take advantage of the changing seasons. Starting in September, when travelers' fancies turn to warmer climes, ships begin to migrate from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, from Alaska to Mexico or to the South Pacific. The reverse occurs in spring.

These voyages, says Robert Sharak, executive vice president of marketing for the Cruise Lines International Association, tend to be both longer and significantly cheaper than a standard cruise.

A 16-day transatlantic crossing from Barcelona, Spain, to Galveston, Texas, onboard Carnival Cruises' newest ship, the Magic, costs $864. Ports of call include Palma de Mallorca and Malaga, Spain; Las Palmas, Canary Islands; and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos.

Why so cheap? The trips occur off-season, says travel expert Aaron Saunders, who writes about cruising at FromTheDeckChair.com. "How do you fill a ship in late September or mid-October?" he asks. "You price it so that people can't say no."

Because the cruise lines are shifting their fleets, passengers also have the opportunity to visit ports that might otherwise not be accessible.

"Travelers can really get a fantastic deal," said Emerson Hankamer, president and COO of travel website VacationsToGo.com, "especially if they're willing to begin and end their trip in an atypical port."

He cites a 14-night trip on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas departing from Mallorca, Spain, and finishing at Colon, Panama. Price: $36.92 a day.

"Until recently, people didn't take advantage of these cruises," said Jeffrey Laign, editorial director of Porthole magazine, which covers the consumer cruise industry. "But now repositioning cruises have started to catch on."

"The per diems are often half of what you'd pay for a regular cruise," Laign said, "and they tend to have itineraries with ports of call not regularly visited."

Because these trips have many more days at sea than a standard cruise, they tend to appeal to seasoned travelers who "really like to sail," he said, "cruise veterans who are looking for something a little different."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio