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Repositioning cruises are used to move a ship from one part of the world to another due to seasonal scheduling. A transatlantic or transpacific repositioning cruise is cruising in its purest form, reminiscent of the days when sailing was the only way to cross the ocean.
Come along on a recent voyage from Lisbon, Portugal to Miami, Florida with Oceania Cruises. Eight days at sea. No land in sight. By day, the distant horizon becomes your world. By night, the black velvet sky is filled with stars and planets usually obscured by city lights. There are no schedules to keep except the ones that please you most. The ship is an oasis of leisure and luxury. This crossing on Oceania Cruises moved the ship from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean for the winter season. It was under $1,000 per person for the eight day crossing in a spacious cabin with a private balcony. Airfare from major U.S. airports to Lisbon and Miami back to the gateway was complimentary. Where could you vacation for over a week with free airfare, luxury accommodations, gourmet meals, non-stop activities and entertainment and plenty of pampering for as little over $100 per day per person?
All major cruise lines offer repositioning cruises throughout all parts of the world. Surf the Web or ask your travel agent to explore repositioning cruise bargains.
Cruises around Australia and New Zealand are scenic and action-packed. Cruises between Australia and New Zealand offer the opportunity to circumnavigate both North and South Islands leaving from Sydney or Melbourne in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand.
South Pacific cruises primarily circle the volcanic islands and coral atolls around Fiji or Tahiti. Hawaii cruises are typically seven night circle cruises within the Hawaiian Islands with ports of call to each of the five main islands: Oahu, Hawaii (the Big Island), Maui, Kauai (the Garden Island) and Molokai. Hopefully, you will get lucky and be treated the spectacular sight of lava flowing from Kilauea volcano into the Pacific Ocean.
Where in the world do you want to go? It's a big world and over 70 percent of it is covered by seas and inland rivers. Where do you want to cruise? Use these tips on leading cruise destinations to tickle your cruise travel fancy.
Cruising the Caribbean
The Caribbean holds the title of the hottest cruise ship destination in the world and the majority of new and repeat cruisers (especially in North America) choose the Caribbean. Cruise itineraries in the Caribbean are as diverse as the islands themselves. Sail the Eastern Caribbean with ports of call in the Bahamas, St. Thomas, St. John, St. Martin/St. Maarten and Puerto Rico. Sail the Western Caribbean for a taste of Mexico, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Belize and the Dominican Republic. And, the Southern Caribbean offers popular ports like Dominica, Martinique, Aruba, St. Lucia and the northern coast of Venezuela.
Still can't decide where to cruise? Sail the globe with a 96-126 day world cruise. Some of the cruise lines that offer world voyages include: Regent Seven Seas, Silverseas, Cunard, Oceania, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Imagine sailing away from the United States to European destinations; then around the Mediterranean and through the Suez Canal and Red Sea to southern Arabia and along the coasts of India and Sri Lanka. Cross the Indian Ocean to visit Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong before traveling south to Australia and New Zealand. Continue sailing to explore the islands of the South Pacific and then Hawaii. Transit the Panama Canal or around South America to the islands of the Caribbean and back to the USA.
Most New England and Canada cruises depart from New York, Boston, Montreal and Quebec. Some cruises turn into the Lawrence Gulf to Newfoundland before sailing up the St Lawrence River to the walled city of Quebec or French Montreal. Bermuda cruises also leave from northeast cities. Bermuda is a collection of 150 islands (only 20 are inhabited) lying 600 miles southeast of New York in the Atlantic Ocean. Most cruise ships head for the largest island Great Bermuda and ports of King's Wharf, Dockyard and St. George.
Africa is a unique and vast cruise destination to explore. With unstable political climates in much of Africa, a cruise ship provides a more secure base for exploring the wonders of Africa from the Pillars of Hercules in Gibraltar to the southern tip of Cape Town. Holland America, Princess, Crystal, Silverseas and Cunard include African destinations on their cruise itineraries.
South America is a continent of superlatives. The Amazon River is the world's longest river. Brazil boasts one third of the world's rainforests. Tiny Ecuador is home to more species of birds and plants than in the entire United States. There's Angel Falls, the world's tallest waterfall in Venezuela. And, Potosi, the world's highest city, is in Bolivia. Add an incredible mixture of mountains, jungles and even desert and it's easy to see why South America is a popular cruise destination. Some cruises to South America travel from North America along the west coast of South America. Some cruises visit the extraordinary Galapagos Islands. Other cruises cover the east coast often including the Amazon River. There are also small ship cruises along the Amazon River.
The roof of the world starts in the Arctic and circles spectacular coastal fjords, glaciers and ice flows. Cruise ships visiting these areas vary from the larger luxury cruise ships (in the southernmost part of the Arctic) to small expedition ships with ice-hardened hulls. Expedition ships cruise the coast of Norway to Murmansk or to the Islands of Svalbard. Explore the ice fields of the Greenland coast or Baffin Island and possibly the Northwest Passage around the top of Canada. The lower Arctic areas of Reykjavik, Iceland; Prins Christian Sund and Qaqortoq, Greenland are popular ports of call on transatlantic cruises between Europe and the United States.
Antarctica is the southernmost continent, sometimes referred to as the South Pole. Actually, this is a misnomer. You won't see the actual South Pole on an Antarctic cruise. It is deep inland on a high plateau. Cruises travel the Drake Passage to Paradise Harbour and the Lemaire Channel. Antarctica is one of the most beautiful and the most forbidding places on earth. Almost 98 percent of the continent is covered by ice. Think bitterly cold, dry and windy. There are no hotels, no tourism infrastructure and no human residents on Antarctica. A cruise ship is the safest and only comfortable way to see this beautiful land.
In spite of the long flight to departure ports, Asia is emerging as a sought-after cruise destination. Asia cruise ports are in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Korea and Japan. Star Cruises (www.starcruises.com) is an Asian cruise line with year-round itineraries. Other cruise lines offering seasonal Asia cruises include: Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. There are also river cruises on the Yangtze River and Cruise West offers a unique small ship cruise in Japan.
The Panama Canal is one of the wonders of the modern world. There are two levels of Panama Canal cruises, full and partial transit. Partial transits (usually part of Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries) enter from the Caribbean Sea through the first set of locks, cruise around Lake Gatun and return to the Caribbean through the same locks. Note: Read Path Between the Seas before or during your cruise.
Like the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, Europe is divided into diverse cruise regions. Northern Europe offers the Norwegian Fjords and medieval cities of the Baltic Sea like Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and not-to-be- missed St. Petersburg, Russia. In Western Europe, there are cruise routes such as along Dutch, United Kingdom, France and Portugal coastlines. And other cruises travel along the coast of England, Wales, Ireland Scotland and as far west as Reykjavik, Iceland.
The romance and beauty of the Mediterranean and its rich history as the Cradle of Civilization make it a favorite cruise destination for novice and seasoned cruisers. Cruise the beautiful Aegean and Adriatic Seas in the eastern Med and soak up the beauty and history of ports like Venice, Istanbul, Athens and popular Greek Isles of Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini. Cruise the western Med for ports along the west coast of Italy like Livorno (Florence), Civitavecchia (Rome) and Naples. Other favorite western Med ports are the beaches of the glamorous Monte Carlo, Canne and Nice Rivieras and Spanish coast ports of Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga and Majorca and Lisbon, Portugal.
Cruising the United States West Coast and Mexican Riviera Cruises along the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States are typically repositioning cruises when cruise lines move their ships to or from Alaska. These cruises usually begin or end in Vancouver with ports of call along northwest California, Oregon and Washington coasts. Other west coast cruises originate in San Francisco, Los Angeles or San Diego with calls along the southern California and to ports like Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Acapulco in Mexico.
Most cruises to Alaska depart from Vancouver, Canada or Seattle, WA and sail the Inside Passage route to ports such as: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. Cruising Alaska treats travelers to some of Mother Nature's finest gifts. There are majestic mountains, calving glaciers and icebergs. There are magnificent whales breaching the icy waters, eagles soaring overhead and black bears roaming the shoreline. Nights are short and days are a constant scenic showcase. Don't forget binoculars!
|Sheri Ann Richerson|