Twice a year I indulge a fantasy: that I will take a transatlantic repositioning cruise. This happens in the spring, when the cruise lines move their ships from the Caribbean to Europe, and in the fall, when they bring them back.
It doesn’t hurt that these one-way cruises can be tremendous bargains, sometimes available for less than $50 a day per person, half of my $100 threshold for what constitutes a reasonable bargain in cruises. That’s inclusive of food and much of the entertainment, pretty much everything you truly have to pay except tips and airfare.
Take the April 18 sailing of Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas, a 14-day passage from Galveston, Texas, to Barcelona as an example (mainly because that’s the one I’d like to go on). The base fare of $579 per person for an inside cabin with double occupancy comes out to $671 with taxes and fees.
That’s $48 a day, and it’s an outstanding value.
One of the advantages of a transatlantic repositioning cruise, to my mind, is the large number of days at sea. The Galveston to Barcelona cruise spends nine of 14 days at sea, for example, five in a row between the Bahamas and the Azores.
I have experienced an unbroken string of days at sea only once, in a five-day crossing of the Pacific from Vancouver to Honolulu, and it was the most relaxing experience of my life. I recommend it particularly for anyone who is harried and tired. No doubt some people would find it boring, but that’s for each of us to evaluate for ourselves.
Of course, the lowest rates are for inside cabins, with no windows or portholes. This doesn’t bother me — I was surprised to find inside cabins quite cozy and restful. There’s rarely a problem finding a quiet spot with a view of the sea in the public areas of the ship.
If that sounds appealing to you, have a look at this list of spring respositioning cruises from cruise.com. If you book such a cruise, you can probably expect to spend at least $400 on a return flight to the United States.