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oct 18

Why You Should Consider a Shoulder-Season Cruise

Shoulder season, n.

1. A brief period when weather conditions and travel costs fall between the highs of high season and the lows of low season.

2. In other words: nice weather, fewer crowds, great prices.

3. Start packing.

There is no off-season in the cruise world, at least there's not supposed to be. That's why twice a year, in early spring and late fall, cruise lines move their fleets—from Alaska to the Caribbean, say, or from the Mediterranean to the Middle East—to ensure that it's always sunny (or at least warm) on deck. Ten years ago, these "deadhead" sailings rushed from one high-season destination to another, often without passengers. Now slowed down and known as repositioning cruises, they have become a leisurely genre for folks in search of unusual itineraries.

You'll spend fewer days in port than on a traditional cruise—speed is still paramount, after all—but the trips are hardly bare bones. Lines often add special guest lectures and performers to keep passengers from going stir-crazy—Carol Channing sang on a Royal Caribbean repositioning cruise in 2009. And the reduced rates will give you a warm feeling, even if it is a tad chilly outside.



MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL:

Your Top 5 Money-Saving Cruise Questions—Answered!

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Confessions of...A Cruise Ship Musician

Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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