A Slow Boat Across the Ocean

Cruise through the Panama Canal

For this cruise we are paying 1220€ for 14 nights. This includes the cabin, food (no special drinks or alcohol), and entertainment. For the flights only we would have paid at least 200€ per person, probably more. If I subtract this from the total, our daily costs are 57€ per day for the two of us. For this we get a nice bedroom with our own bathroom (although a tiny one), daily room service and cleaning, as much food as we want to eat and plenty of entertainment options.

That was from Finnish blogger Mirje at the Anywhereism blog, when they crossed the Atlantic over a 15-day period on a repositioning cruise from Florida to Spain. Part of the time they were off the grid, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They did more offline work, then turned off the devices and did other things instead, like read books. See more on their trip here.

They noted that there are other options that are even less. A 15-night Transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to New Orleans they did another time was under 1,000 euros for two.

When we think of cruise ships, those of us who think of ourselves as real travelers don’t have the most positive images in our minds. After we get past the backpacker stage though and move into mid-range travel budgets, what if a ship can just be a slow travel option between point A and point B?

Repositioning cruises tend to cover a long distance over a lot of nights, moving the ship from one part of the world to another for a new season’s demands. They may go from Sydney to San Francisco via the Pacific Islands over 26 nights, for example, or Los Angeles to Miami via Mexico and the Panama Canal. Other routes include Tampa to Barcelona, Buenos Aires to Ft. Lauderdale, Seattle to Sydney, and Copenhagen to Miami.

repositioning cruise to Europe

Stockholm from the water

Naturally, you’ll be stopping at places along the way. Some will just be lame port towns, but others will be vibrant cities that you’ve probably wanted to visit.

Hate the whole ideas of being on a big ship with lots of other tourists—even if they are frugal ones?

In the latest issue of Perceptive Travel we have a story about someone traveling around the Mediterranean and all the way to Singapore while sleeping in a cabin on a ship—a container ship. She wasn’t working though. She was a passenger along for the ride. She dined with the officers and sang karaoke with the crew.

cargo ship cruise

There are a few agencies that arrange berths on these ships, such as Freighter Expeditions in Australia or Maris Freighter Cruises in the USA. These can go for less than $100 a day including meals.

It’s even less if you do single-country hops on (mostly) cargo ferries in an island nation like the Philippines or Indonesia. You can travel from one part of the country to the other and see it from the water instead of quickly from the air.

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