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Now's the perfect time to book a fall repositioning cruise

By Brad Tuttle
October 3, 2012
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Courtesy <a href="http://mybt.budgettravel.com/_Cruise-Ship-Sailing-into-Sunset/photo/9647831/21864.html" target="_blank">fallbrook50/myBudgetTravel</a>

When cruise ships change locations, like many will in the coming months, passengers going along for the ride often score remarkable deals.

Many cruise ships are like snowbirds, heading to warmer climates when the weather begins to get chilly. The annual migration is an opportunity for travelers seeking affordable cruises, often on itineraries that cross entire oceans, with plenty of relaxing days at sea en route.

Right about now, when the departure dates for these cruises are in the near future, and when many ships poised to change locations still have abundant availability, is an ideal time to search for deals. Prices may dip even further at the very last minute, but by then it's likely to be more difficult to book inexpensive airfare to and from the beginning and end ports. So in terms of getting decent deals on autumn repositioning cruises and flights alike, now's as good a time as any.

CruiseCompete makes it easy to browse all sorts of repositioning cruise specials in one spot, including 14 special one-way sailings between September and the end of the year. A 20-night cruise on the MSC Opera, for instance, sails on November 10 from Venice bound for Buenos Aires, with stops in A-list destinations Barcelona, Casablanca, and Rio along the way, and prices starting at $1,299 per person. The Carnival Magic, meanwhile, departs Barcelona on October 28 and hits Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, and Grand Turk before ending up in Galveston, Texas, 16 nights later. Rates for that itinerary start at just $861.

A helpful CruiseCritic post also gives a primer on repositioning cruises for the fall of 2011, including a list of a half-dozen sailings. While the price is often right with such cruises, the itineraries aren't for everybody, as CruiseCritic notes:

For some passengers, spending days on end in the middle of nowhere -- particularly on ocean crossings -- is more maddening than it is relaxing. Plus, repositioning voyages tend to be long (some nearly a month!), which limits them to retired seafarers and the lucky few with a decent amount of vacation time.

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