Why Choose a Repositioning Cruise?

Posted on 30 Dec 2022 , updated on 14 Jun 2024

With many ships and cruise lines only cruising out of Australia during our warmer months, one type of cruise itinerary that can be worth exploring is a repositioning cruise.

What is a repositioning cruise?

When a cruise ship leaves one market to move onto the next - whether that be because of ship redeployments or a cruise season ending in one hemisphere - the ships obviously need to travel to their new homeport.

It makes no sense for cruise lines to send empty ships from a ships old home, to their new home - so the ship will do what is known as a repositioning cruise.

Repositioning cruises differ from the general sort of cruising we know, by the fact that rather than being a round-trip journey, they are a one-way journey.

Where do repositioning cruises come from, or go to?

This is all dependent on the line and ship. However, here are some of the common routes (note that we'll put these as if travelling to Australia, but these are often just reversed when the ship leaves Australia).


This is common for ships either coming from the west coast of the USA or from Alaskan cruises.

Transpacific cruises generally stop in French Polynesia (Papeete/Moorea) before continuing west either via New Zealand or Fiji/New Caledonia.

Transpacific cruises have the added excitement of crossing both the equator and the international date line.

Cruise to beautiful Honolulu
Cruise to beautiful Honolulu

South-East Asia

As ships move to the Asia market, there are often repositioning's to Singapore or Tokyo.

South-East Asian repositioning's can either include a circumnavigation of Australia, or travel north through the Great Barrier Reef.

Some cruises will include stops in Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

These cruises will cross the equator, which is normally celebrated on most ships with some sort of equator crossing ceremony.

Explore the sights of Singapore
Explore the sights of Singapore

Middle East

Cruises repositioning to the European market will often reposition to/from Australia via Dubai.

This route is a little less frequent than other repositioning cruises, and can sometimes be broken into segments due to the length/distance.

Ports of call will often include Sri Lanka, Oman, Singapore and Indonesia.

Image by jmbaud74 @ flickr.com
Image by jmbaud74 @ flickr.com

What is good about repositioning cruises?

There are some differences that make repositioning cruises worth consideration:

  • Different ports and destinations. If you are seasoned cruiser in Australia, there are only so many ports you can visit before you run out of places to explore. While wonderful experiences, you can get an itch to visiting somewhere else beside New Zealand or the South Pacific
  • Repositioning cruises can be longer cruises, as they have a greater distance they need to cover to get the ship to its new home.
  • More sea days! If you enjoy the relaxation of a sea day - many repositioning cruises have more sea days than your average cruise. With some repositioning cruises having 7 or more days in a row at sea!
  • Its a relaxed way to travel to an overseas destination or home from overseas - without the jet lag.
  • If travelling home from overseas - you don't need to worry about baggage weight and limits like you do with an aircraft
  • There is more time for your cruise to have a more human feel. With longer cruises you have more time to connect and make friends. You get to know your bar and dining staff - and it can leave you with longer lasting friendships.

What to beware of with repositioning cruises?

Everyone has their own tastes and preferences, and naturally, a repositioning cruise might not necessarily be for everyone.

Some things you may want to consider before pressing that 'book now' button are:

  • There are added costs, as you are on a one-way cruise. You will need to consider that your departure or arrival destination will be far away, so will need to factor in a one-way international flight, and accommodation for before or after your cruise.
  • How many sea days, and sea days in a row are on the cruise? If you suffer from motion sickness - would you be willing to accept the risk of choppy seas for that long?
  • Can you take that long off work, or away from other commitments?
  • Will you get bored? If you are an adrenaline junky or a busy body - does a longer cruise with less port visits match your personality?
  • As the goal of a repositioning cruise is to move a ship to its new market - there is not the choice of dates as there are with other cruises. Its only 2 cruises a year for each ship (one to Australia, and one away from Australia)

Share your experience

Have you done a repositioning cruise? Did you enjoy it? What were the best parts?

Share your experiences and tips in the discussion below.


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We did a repositioning Cruise from Honolulu to Sydney on the beautiful "Rhapsody of the Seas" in 2012(wow that time has flown). We spent 7 days in Waikiki prior to boarding for the 19 nights home! Was a bit cramped in the cabin with all the shopping we brought home! We loved the relaxation of the sea days and the ceremony of crossing the International Date Line etc.. Was easily one of our most memorable family holidays!
05 January 2023, 11:50pm