The world is huge… and it can cost a LOT to get around it. But some means of transportation are more cost-effective than others. An often overlooked form of travel for those of us pursuing the Digital Roamad lifestyle is the use of cruise ships, particularly repositioning cruises.

Many people might not realize there are ways to get from the U.S. to Europe, Asia, and even the South Pacific and Australia/New Zealand – onboard a cruise ship as your transfer.

comparison of itinerary maps of three repositioning cruises

What is a Repositioning Cruise?

A repositioning cruise is a cruise in which the embarkation and disembarkation ports are different. They are generally one-off, one-way itineraries designed to move the ship across an ocean or to a different homeport.

Repositioning Cruises are Ideal for Slow Travel

If you are traveling slowly and working remotely, it’s definitely a method you should think about.

Consider the differences when flying.  A flight is going to be far faster.  Air travel is ideal when we have to get somewhere quickly.

But if you’re willing to travel slower, imagine having your hotel room, favorite restaurants, entertainment, and transportation all included as you transition from one part of the world to another. (And you only have to unpack once!)

What might come as a bigger surprise?

If you shop right, you can travel for as low as $150 per day per cabin, double occupancy (for two of you!).

That includes your floating hotel, all your meals, entertainment (live music, comedians, shows, movies), onboard activities, transportation from point A to B, and almost always some stops during the journey to get off the ship for a day and sightseeing.

repositioning cruises search results listings

Think about that.  $150 x 30 days = $4,500 for two people to cover EVERYTHING.  

These prices include taxes, port fees, and gratuities.

Now, that’s not to say there are many options far more expensive, and you certainly can add on upgrades such as alcoholic beverages, tours in ports, specialty dining restaurants, and more to run up the costs.

Not to mention the internet.  Sometimes it’s included, and sometimes it needs to be added. Internet quality varies dramatically, from downright awful to amazingly competent. I’ve experienced it all, trust me.  

I’ll cover this topic in particular in another post.

Let’s Compare a Repositioning Cruise and a Flight

Cruise Option:

Royal Caribbean – Ship: Enchantment of the Seas – 15 days/14 nights
Leave Barcelona, Spain, November 13, 2023
Arrive in Tampa, Florida, November 27, 2023

In an Oceanview cabin (no balcony), as I write this post, the cost is $1,968.  That works out to be $70 per person per day.

Remember that it covers your room, tons of food and basic drinks, entertainment, and the voyage.

You could add many options to run this up, but sometimes cruise lines will offer “On Board Credit” as booking bonuses, as will many travel agents, so you might get some additional credit to offset the cost of the upgrades.

That’s up to you.  You don’t have to spend a nickel more.  

I like doing this exercise since it gives you a comparison on a monthly basis to what you are paying at home:

$140 a day x 30 = $4,200 if you estimate what this would cost if it were for 30 days. 

Once you determine your per diem (your daily cost) and your monthly, you can compare it to the same costs ‘back home’ – it might be quite the eye-opener.  I’m willing to bet most people, if they added up their rent (or monthly mortgage), property taxes, insurance, car, food (groceries, dining out), it would be much higher.  

For half a month of all-inclusive, you’re looking at under $2,000. And you get from Europe to Florida – granted, the slower way 🙂

You stop at Málaga, Spain, the Azores (Portuguese island chain), and the Bahamas.  

There are several sea days, so be aware that you’ll be on the ship for some of the 15 days.  If you’re easily bored, it could be an issue.  But if the internet is respectable, you can get a lot of remote work done, hit the gym every day, watch some shows, eat good food, and even relax!  Why not catch up on a good book, some downloaded shows, or even rest? We’ve learned to really love the sea days.

Flight Option:

Now, what if you took a flight from Barcelona to Florida?

The lowest I could find, with a connection, was about $1,300 for two people, which is reasonable.  Can you find lower?  You could, but you’ll pay extra for baggage and a seat reservation.

For just $700 more, you can get to the same place and have a two-week trip, including everything and all the fun memories.  And I’m willing to bet you’ll be far more rested!

If you flew, then added 14 days in an Airbnb, plus dining out, groceries, any entertainment, Ubers, and other expenses, I’m sure you’d agree you’d be looking at $5,000+ for the same timeframe.  

Comparison Summary:

Cruise (15 days):
Flight (plus 14 days):

$1,968 for two people
$5,000+ for two people

Watch this video to see how this is all done!

▶️ Slow Travel Hack – Cruise Repositioning Deals for Under $100 per Day

How Do You Find Repositioning Cruises?

CruisePlum is the best way to find your next cruise with deal lists, price drops and a great search engine.

Go to

Click “Search” in the top right corner.  Then the green button “Start Searching.” Choose the number of people (such as 2) and where you are from (US or Canada….other locations, choose US to get pricing)

CruisePlum cruise search console

This will download the latest pricing.

There are many ways to search.  For these repositioning cruises, you’ll go to the pulldown for “Region” and select “Transatlantic.” You can also choose “Transpacific” to find these cruises from Asia to the US and vice versa, among others.

finding repositioning cruises on CruisePlum

You’re going to get a LOT of options.

I suggest narrowing it down some more.  Start with cabin style.

Under “Cabins Only,” choose “Inside” for the cheapest rates (no window or balcony in your room).  “Oceanview” if you want a window, but still incredibly affordable.  Choose a balcony if you’d be most comfortable with that – expect to pay 25% – 50% more, but it still can be a fantastic deal.

Under “Lines & Cabins,” your best values with good quality will be:  Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, Virgin and Holland America.  

Searching repositioning cruises on CruisePlum

There are differences in experience, demographics, and the ages and types of people who travel on these, but in the end, it’s about the deal, and all the experiences will be positive with the right mindset.

Feel free to ask questions about these options in the comments below.  We’ve done over 3 dozen cruises and can help you if you have questions.  

MSC Cruises will be the cheapest on paper, but there are many upsells, and peoples’ experiences are mixed, so I do not suggest them for a more extended cruise like this.  Try a short one with them first (3-5 days) to be sure you’ll enjoy it.  Remember, you’ll be on board for two weeks and you want to be happy.

April and May are when most ships reposition from the USA to Europe.

October and November are when most ships return from Europe to the USA.

I would then sort by the column “Cabin Price Per Day.”

Remember, that is for two people (unless you select one person, where you’ll likely be paying a single supplement – completely doable, but since most are priced as double occupancy, you usually have to pay for yourself and 50% of a 2nd passenger).

Pretty amazing right?  Here’s some examples that I saw:

CruisePlum repositioning cruise search results

Remember, anything under $165 a day means all your expenses are covered on a 30-day run rate of under $5K.  Have a bigger budget?  Even $250 a day is only $7,500, comparable to a monthly budget for everything.

And you’ll get a vacation, transportation, a ‘hotel’ room, entertainment, all your food, many drinks (usually not including alcohol though sometimes there are bonuses), and sometimes internet (other times you’ll need to pay extra), gratuities included and taxes. I like using CruisePlum since it includes these fees, which do add up.

Finding Cruise Deals

There are a few factors that go into cruise pricing. Check out our post on cruise deals to ensure you get yours for the best price.

Some of Our Upcoming Repositioning Cruises

We’ve got several of these repositioning cruises booked ourselves:

  • We’ll be going from New York to Iceland in September 2023, so this gets us close to the European mainland in comfort and style.
  • Singapore to Sydney in November 2023 since we wanted to reposition down to Australia and New Zealand for a few months.
  • Florida to Rome in April 2024 because we know we’ll be back in the States at that time but ready to explore Europe again for 90 days. It’s a perfect way to get there (and I got a fantastic deal on this one).
  • And finally (so far) returning from Europe to Florida in November 2024.  

The daily rates on all of these were incredible.  

See you out there!