I first learned about cheap cruises a few years ago when I read an article by Tynan. He first introduced me to the idea of a repositioning cruise. Until then I had always thought of cruises as round trips – you end up right back where you started. I had even seen the movie Titanic multiple times, but for some reason it didn't click for me. That was a one-way trip. They were all traveling from Enland to America and they weren't coming right back.
Modern cruising has changed how we view boats. We think of them as traveling playgrounds. You can drink and gamble the night away and when you're finished you end up back at your house.
I've always thought of cruising as something that only the truly wealthy can enjoy. If you look at many cruises, the decent rooms cost tens of thousands of dollars. It's an opulent and expensive vacation. I'm sure it's a blast but I could never justify spending that much money just to be on a boat.
Then I discovered the concept of repositioning. Basically, nobody wants to be in the pool on a cruise ship in a snow storm. So twice a year all the ships around the world move around. They move between continents to maximize their value. Until the advent of air travel, magnificent cruise ships was how people traveled around the world.
You can live like a 19th century baron for a shockingly low price. Repositioning cruises often last three or more weeks. That means that most people don't have the time available to take advantage. They are stuck on shorter cruises that cost much more.
The ship has to reposition even if it's empty. That means the cruise line has an incentive to do whatever to takes to fill the cabins. The demand is much lower because only people who can spend a month on a ship can even consider buying tickets. That's why these cruises are mostly filled with retired people. Not many jobs will give you a month off work!
Tynan is such a fan of repositioning cruises that he put together a website to track the best options and prices. CruiseSheet helps you find the best cruise options for jaunting around the world.
The main thing is that your options are limited. All repositioning happens at the same time of year as the seasons change. So you have to be able to travel when the ship is moving. You can often land a deal for your entire family to travel for less than the cost of rent for a month on a house or apartment.
The key to understanding the finances of repositioning cruises is to think of them as a form of travel and also as a place of lodging. It's more than a plane because you have your own room and the food is actually delicious. When I want to fly with my family I have to buy an extra plane ticket for each person. So the cost of a flight right now is FOUR TIMES more than if I fly by myself. When traveling by cruise the price is mostly per cabin. After the first two people, the next two cost almost nothing. My children can basically travel for free as long as we share a cabin.
You really see some amazing value when you are traveling with a family. When you factor in the cost of travel, accommodation and food for a month the value in a repositioning cruise becomes apparent. There are some even more advanced techniques you can take to save even more money on a great repositioning cruise. To find out more amazing ways to save money while traveling, please check out my book page.