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Travelers looking for an extended vacation that includes a wealth of relaxing days lounging at sea and disembarking in international ports that beckon adventure—all with an affordable price tag—are sure to be intrigued by the idea of a repositioning cruise. These less common and less expensive sailings are offered when cruise lines move ships from one region to another to “position” them for their next journey, and they’re the perfect opportunity for flexible travelers looking for a longer trip on a smaller budget. They’re not hard to book either—just select “transpacific,” “transatlantic” or “Pacific coastal” when doing your cruise search on Orbitz. Here’s the scoop on how these voyages can save you some serious cash on the high seas.

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3d Cruise Ship Vacation Holiday Summer Illustration Concept

Smaller audiences mean big savings

Repositioning cruises are much longer than a typical cruise (think 15-25 days vs. 5-7 days), so they tend to appeal to a smaller audience—travelers who have the flexibility to be away for an extended period of time. With less demand for these long-haul itineraries and ships pulling away from port regardless of how many cabins are full, cruise lines pass along exceptional savings to attract as many passengers—and fill as many cabins—as possible.

More ports for the money

For avid travelers looking to make stops in new ports-of-call, repositioning cruises can be the answer to getting more for your money and exploring destinations that might otherwise not make it on a cruise itinerary. For example, Royal Caribbean’s 15-Night Transatlantic Cruise departing from Tampa in May 2019 makes stops in Portugal, Ireland and Belgium before disembarking in Amsterdam. Keep in mind, you’ll be at sea for several days before you get there, but with plenty of on-board activities, dining and entertainment, the journey is half the fun.

ALSO: Get on board with top travel perks and rewards when you join Orbitz Rewards—it’s free to join!

Experience new ships at a discount

Savvy travelers looking to experience some of the newest ships at sea will find that repositioning cruises are a great opportunity to give these incredible new vessels a test-run without booking months in advance and paying a premium to sail during their inaugural season. Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Norwegian Joy,” for example, was built in 2017 with innovative features including the first race track at sea, simulator rides and interactive video walls. In April 2019, the Joy will reposition from China to offer seasonal Alaskan sailings, followed by a relocation to Los Angeles to begin a year-round Riviera Maya–Panama Canal itinerary.

Cheap one-way flights

While one-way flights had long been thought of as a disadvantage to booking a repositioning cruise, these fares are now much more common, affordable and can often be easier to book than round-trip tickets when using travel reward points. Booking one-way tickets also gives you the flexibility to explore other destinations once the ship has reached its final port-of-call and gives you more options to find a return flight that fits your budget.

2-in-1 vacation

Many travelers think of repositioning cruises as two vacations in one—the cruise itself and the opportunity to travel throughout a destination upon arrival. If planned properly, it can be easy to build in a full vacation from your final port before heading to the airport to catch a flight back home. And because many repositioning cruises will be sailing into these destinations just prior to their busy seasons, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of ample hotel availability, off-peak prices and fewer crowds at popular attractions.

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Tagged: Alaska, Caribbean

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Jeanenne Tornatore

Jeanenne Tornatore

Jeanenne specializes in savvy budget travel tips, destination experiences, industry trends and the latest products to make any trip go smoothly. A mother of three, she's seasoned in all things family-travel, from the most kid-friendly beach resorts to navigating Disney Parks. Jeanenne is an avid outdoor adventure seeker, as well as a regular TV and radio content contributor. You'll find her @JMTornatore on Twitter and Instagram.

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