Traditional cruises operate on a roundtrip basis, a growing number of passengers are opting for one-way trips instead. Otherwise known as repositioning cruises, one-way cruises offer several unique advantages over their roundtrip counterparts. For those who want a multilayered vacation experience, one-way cruises provide the opportunity to explore the final land destination at their own leisure, giving themselves what many believe to be the best of both worlds.
Packing for a Long Cruise
Embarking on long cruises may be tempted to pack as many items as possible, but keep in mind that you’ll probably be returning home via jet, and airlines charge mercilessly for bags that are overweight or if you have more than their stated limit. At the same time, not all cruise ships offer laundry services, so you may have to bring enough clothing to see you through until reaching your destination. You can fit more items into your bag if you roll them rather than folding them. A 27-inch suitcase should be large enough to fit two weeks worth of clothing and shoes into but won’t be large enough so that airlines will charge extra for it.
Cruise ships have either U.S. two-pin sockets, continental European sockets, or British sockets. You’ll need to pack a power plug even if your cruise ship is equipped with U.S. two-pin sockets because you’ll need it once you reach your destination.
Budgeting for a Long Cruise
Average price-per-day of long cruises is actually pretty reasonable, but transportation costs back to your departure point as well as those of sightseeing and exploring once you reach the final destination can add up quickly. Fortunately, March and April are among the least expensive months to book a transatlantic airline ticket, which is during the same time frame that many repositioning cruises leave Florida ports to sail to Europe. It’s also considered the shoulder season in many European locations, which means you should be able to find some good deals on lodging and other travel-related expenses. However, if you’re going to be flying into Florida, avoid traveling during Spring Break if you don’t want to pay inflated airline and lodging prices.
Repositioning cruises are those that occur when a ship is leaving one region at the end of the season and sailing to another place where the cruise season is just beginning. For instance, you may be able to leave from the port in Fort Lauderdale on the of the last cruise ships of the season and end up in Rome or Venice at the end of your trip. These cruises don’t solely travel in a straight line from the departure point to the final destination — passengers have the opportunity to visit ports of call such as New York City, Bermuda, London, Paris, Marseilles, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Valencia, and San Juan, just to name a few. Westbound repositioning cruises usually end in San Diego or Los Angeles and visit various ports in Latin America and go through the Panama Canal before heading north.
Florida Ports of Call
Repositioning cruises depart from several Florida ports, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Port Canaveral, and Jacksonville. Accessible airports include the Fort Lauderdale International Airport, the Miami International Airport, and the Jacksonville International Airport. Each airport offers convenient shuttles to the cruise ship docks.
Because travel mishaps can completely ruin a long-planned-for leisure experience, it’s important to recheck your itinerary after booking your cruise just to solidify your expectations. The term repositioning cruise may be confusing for some, and there has been at least one case of a passenger apparently not realizing that he hadn’t booked a closed-loop cruise. Steven Weiner found himself stranded in Puerto Rico and was highly upset when he discovered that the ship wouldn’t be turning around at San Juan and returning to its port of origin. However, evidence exists that the cruise had been advertised as a repositioning cruise, so his request that the cruise line pay for his airline ticket home was denied.
One-way cruises definitely have the potential to provide a quality vacation experience, but you’ve got to be sure to work out the details so you don’t encounter any surprises.