Summer is coming! That means the Med is heating up and Alaska is entering prime-time for cruising. Across the fleet Holland America Line ships are preparing to reposition from their winter homes in the Caribbean and other tropical regions to temperate climates that have shorter-but-sweet cruise seasons.
As the ships move from one region to the next a number of unique itineraries become available — giving guests the chance to cross oceans and see some incredible ports of call. Some prefer these longer and less common voyages. We asked guests to weigh in — read on to learn the why, when and where of repositioning cruises!
Crossing the Atlantic
Transatlantic itineraries are the most popular ocean crossing options. From Europe to the Caribbean or vice-versa, guests set out to open sea with unique itineraries. The 29-day Baltic & Viking Passage is a wonderful opportunity to follow the paths of explorers past to the northern regions of the Atlantic. Cruise from one pristine nordic city to the next and through fjords. HAL guest Bruce Hirte praised the cruise saying,
“We have been on more than 20 cruises – several have been in the 30 day range. One of the most memorial was on the Eurodam doing the Baltic and the transatlantic into New York. We had the good fortune of cruising thru the fjord in Greenland on a clear and calm day. A GIFT!” – Bruce Hirte
Southern transatlantic itineraries forgo the fjords for more tropical temperatures.
“The Caribbean to Europe is my favorite cruise!” exclaimed Christine Lewis, a veteran HAL cruiser.
Bob Hale added that he loves that a transatlantic cruise offers plenty of time to enjoy all of Holland America Line’s fabulous culinary offerings and to rest. After all, the ocean is vast, which means more days at sea. Guests who are fans of sea days, like Ester Cooke, treat the ship like a destination in itself, taking time to engage in onboard activities at the Culinary Arts Center, Digital Workshops powered by Windows and more. Another great perk? When you cruise across the ocean you can slowly adjust to changing timezones — which means no jet lag!
“We loved sailing from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale stopping at Malaga, Spain, Alicante, Cadiz and the Azores. We were so pleasantly surprised with how gorgeous the Azores are. The sailing across the ocean was wonderful and we loved gaining an hour each day.” – Sharon Beecro
“Looking forward to the day I can do the trans from Lauderdale to Barcelona. That’s tops on my bucket list … for now.” – Chuck Botts
Another fabulous benefit of repositioning cruises is that they offer totally different perspectives on the same cruise. Imagine visiting Asia and Alaska in the same vacation! Revel in the cherry blossoms and medieval castles of Japan, see the sights in Shanghai and then — just a short while later — walk on the surface of a glacier in Alaska. These cruises are are Grand Voyages in themselves.
“Japan to Vancouver across the North Pacific via Alaska on Volendam was our April/May 2014 cruise. Loved the experience of far northern ports of Japan & then 1st cruise ship for season into Glacier Bay – magic.” – Clive George
Traversing the Pacific Ocean
Like transatlantic cruises, transpacific itineraries typically have northern and southern routes. The South Pacific is renowned for its extraordinary beauty. The editors of Portsie.com sailed across the Pacific in 2014 on ms Oosterdam and likened the experience to something out of a classic travel novel. Typical calls between Sydney and the States include the volcanic islands of New Caledonia, Fiji and Hawaii.
Moreover, these journeys are typically available at incredible rates as Wendy McDonald pointed out, saying, “Repositioning cruises; great value for the money spent!”
“Love any crossing … but lately we’d prefer west coast (which is why we signed up for the grand pacific!)” – Richard E Menken
“USA to Australia — great cruise.” – Nancy Abel Weigand
Exploring Other Oceans Around the World
Repositioning cruises aren’t always grand ocean crossing voyages, however. Ships move from region to region all over the world. Sometimes that means a journey from the Med through the Suez Canal and onward to Australia and Asia through the Indian Ocean. Another popular option is transiting the Panama Canal between the Caribbean and Alaska. Facebook fans Eileen Herr Ludermilch let us know that she is currently on a repositioning cruise through the Panama Canal, and Marsha Ellis is looking forward to a cruise in May that transits the canal en route to San Diego.
The extended length of such cruises is a great opportunity to get to know fellow passengers and Holland America Line’s fabulous employees. Bob Deffenbaugh and his wife were delighted to get to know some special HAL crew members throughout the course of their repositioning cruise.
Bob said, “Julius is our favorite crew member working at HAL, We met him for the second time aboard the Zuiderdam on our repositioning cruise!”
Whether going from Atlantic to Pacific or from the Caribbean to the Med, all of the repositioning cruises offer a unique adventure for those who like to combine relaxing days at sea with exciting ports. Which repositioning cruise most appeals to you? Let us know in the comments below!