Repositioning Cruise

A repositioning cruise is either the first or last cruise of a specific season in a specific area.

Why a repositioning cruise?

  1. Generally, repositioning cruises are very well priced as they have to get to their new destination and itinerary but certainly don’t want to sail empty! ‘
  2. You can opt just for the short 2, 3, 4, 5 or more days on the “repositioning” portion only or combine it (like what my husband, Ron and I did) with its new season’s itinerary. This makes it a longer cruise to enjoy but also you get to see some “out of the way” places that can only be reached when ships are changing venues.
  3. It also cuts down on flying time. We live in Vancouver and jumped on the ship here and only had to fly from San Diego to get home. Even the staff on board seemed more excited (if that is possible) about their “change of scenery”.

Repositioning cruises happen all over the world with virtually all cruise lines and many, many ships so there are some very unique itineraries to very interesting places that are not part of the ship’s “regular” route. These will satisfy the avid and seasoned cruisers as well as first timers!

A good example of a repositioning cruise is the one Ron and I took on the charming ms Oosterdam this past season.

The Oosterdam’s route from May until September is a Seattle roundtrip cruise to Alaska visiting Glacier Bay, Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria. Her “winter” itinerary is a 7-Night San Diego roundtrip to the Mexican Riviera visiting Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas.

There’s plenty of sea and places to see between Seattle and San Diego! In fact, because of marine laws such as “The Jones Act” this ship needed to travel outside of the US first before it can reposition so it sailed to Vancouver to begin it’s journey. The “repositioning” part from Vancouver to San Diego took 5 nights and with the 7 night Mexican Riviera cruise meant a total of 12 nights.

Leaving Vancouver on a typical rainy fall day on Sunday, September 27, 2010 from the pier right downtown, we got to view beautiful Stanley Park while passing under the Lions Gate Bridge (also referred to as The First Narrows Bridge) waving at all the cyclists and people walking along the 7 mile seawall that surrounds the park.

First Narrows Bridge

Only a few hours later we were treated to a fabulous double rainbow! Very spectacular indeed against a grey sky and dark blue ocean.

As the weather improved, so did our excitement! We didn’t see rain again until we returned back to Vancouver 12 nights later!

Just a short cruise brought us to the quaint little town of Astoria, Oregon located in the mouth of the mighty Columbia River. The ship didn’t dock until 11 am but the journey up the mouth was full of boat traffic of all types – fishing, pleasure, tugs, freighters and the likes! As this was a Monday morning everyone (except us lucky passengers) was all hard at work in this bustling port city. One of the first sights is the spectacular Astoria–Megler Bridge that spans across 4.2 miles.

We decided to just wander around town on our own and were amazed and grateful for all of the wonderful and very friendly “greeters” that were everywhere in town to answer questions and give directions and pointers. It seemed like the whole town was out and about in their finery to ensure their “guests” got the most out of their charming village.

From Astoria we had two wonderful and relaxing days at sea, giving us not just the time to relax, but also to enjoy our beautiful ship…very classic with teak decks and deck chairs. Not a large ship by today’s standards with only 1848 guests, but well appointed in every way.

Friday October 1, 2010 found us in stunning Avalon, California – Santa Catalina Island, a hidden gem about 26 miles from LA and a well known “hideout” for Hollywood’s rich and famous.

This is a must see place that is very beautiful but still rustic and quaint. The best mode of transportation on Santa Catalina is… by Golf Cart! What a hoot and highly, highly recommended! We spent about 3 hours touring around… getting lost but easily found again… past the historic Wrigley’s Gum factory. William Wrigley Jr bought a controlling interest in the island in 1919. He reportedly brought a few different animals to the island including pigs, deer and others but of these non-indigenous species only the deer remain.

Notice in the picture below that I had them literally eating (dried banana slices) right out of my hand. That was very special! There were 4 of these beautiful white tails lounging in the shade just at the side of the road but if we weren’t paying attention, we would have driven right past them without notice.

For the more adventurous, Avalon boasts a series of zip lines from the highest peak down to close to sea level in several zig zag paths. Looked like fun but I’ll keep my feet firmly planted on the terra firma, thank you! All in all, you can see why Hollywood’s stars like to flock to this little Pacific jewel.

Interestingly, we weren’t to dock in San Diego until 7 am on Saturday and it’s only about and hour and a half from Santa Catalina to San Diego so we enjoyed a very sloooooooooow cruise at sunset with great views leaving the island and of the California coast.

San Diego: my first time there and what a lovely city. Now the first couple things that come to mind when visiting San Diego are the San Diego Zoo and Seaworld and San Diego Wild Animal Park. These are all great day excursions and definitely should be checked out.

We, on the other hand, opted for another independent trip and took a pedi-cab (yes, human pedal power – boy was he in great shape) from the pier and toured around the city a bit with the usual shopping and such.

Pedi cab in San DiegoHowever, our main interest was a trip to the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. Our pedi-cab dropped us off right at the museum and after our tour of the ship it was a short couple of blocks walk back to the Oosterdam.

We took a self-guided audio tour of the ship and for all you history, war, maritime, aircraft, etc, buffs this is another MUST-DO! Dress comfy (it was very warm and humid even in October) and wear GOOD COMFY SHOES. There’s a lot of ground (ship) to cover. Most people spend at least 3 to 4 hours touring the ship.

This was the longest serving aircraft carrier (about 50 years) and has been completely refurbished to what it was in active duty – mostly by volunteer work, many of them being retired veterans. Very impressive and no small feat. My hats off to all the dedicated people that had a hand in this worthwhile project. Among the 60 exhibits and 25 restored aircraft, you can also (for a fee) take a “flight” on one of 3 flight simulators. This is a great family excursion when visiting this important US Naval Base in a very charming city.

On Sunday, October 3, 2010, we left San Diego to embark on it’s 7 night Mexican Riviera Roundtrip Cruise which is what will occupy her until late April when she returns back to Alaska for the next season.

As you can see, a repositioning cruise is a fantastic way to visit destinations not frequented by cruises. If there places you’ve always wanted to travel but weren’t sure how, please give me a call.

Jocelyn Rheault
Cruise and Insurance Specialist
t: 604.737.8100 –ext. 20 | t: 1.800.565.2784 | f: 604.737.1672
e: JocelynR@CruiseExpertsTravel.com
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My office hours are: Tu-F 7-3:30 Sa 8-4:30 (PST)
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