Oosterdam Holland America

Baby Let Me Take You On A Repo Cruise

How to get from here to Seattle and back on a highly original, supercool mini vacay for a shockingly low price.

Oosterdam Holland America


TRAVEL ADVISORY | It doesn’t take career counselling to conclude that all work and no play leads to burnout. If you want to take a quick break before this occurs, we’ve got just the ticket, a micro-mini vacay involving glamorous accommodation, all you can eat and multiple modes of transportation. And did I mention the best part? This adventure is priced so shockingly low you might even want to treat your partner or BFF.

Though you’ve missed the boat for sailings this May (they were booked months ago), there’s still time to take advantage of several supercheap single-night repositioning cruises that will run between Seattle and Vancouver in September.

What Is A Repo Cruise, Exactly?

Most cruise ships work in two parts of the world. They sail in tropical, southern hemisphere regions throughout the winter season then switch to temperate, northern hemisphere waters during the summer months. This means that every spring and fall, cruise lines must move (a.k.a. “reposition”) their vessels to the part of the world where they’ll be needed for work.

To help offset the cost of transportation, cruise lines offer deeply discounted “repositioning cruises,” which begin in one port and end in another and involve mostly days at sea. Repo cruises, which can last anywhere from one night (like the Van-Seattle run) to 30, can be great fun if your idea of cruising is taking full advantage of the resort amenities cruise ships are famous for.

September Repo Cruises: Seattle to Vancouver

When I asked her to do a little digging, my travel agent friend Julia Guest, of Travel Concepts, found two cruise lines—Princess Cruises and Holland America Line—offering three repo cruises between Seattle and Vancouver in September 2012.

“The prices I’ve quoted are for different types of cabin. I’m giving you a ‘from’ price for an inside cabin (no window), outside cabin, balcony cabin and suite,” she informed me in an email, adding that dinner, entertainment and breakfast are part of the deal, which is “subject to availability—and port taxes, of course.”

Out To Sea: September Sailing Dates

Princess Cruises: Sept. 22 & Sept. 23 on the Golden Princess and Star Princess, leaving Seattle at 4 p.m., arriving in Vancouver at 7:30 a.m. Prices $79/89/129/179 (the same for both sailings; call 1-866-335-6379)

Holland America: Sept. 30 on the Oosterdam, leaving Seattle at 5 p.m., arriving in Vancouver at 7 a.m. Prices $79/109/139/279. (Call 1-877-932-4259)

Downsides? None Really

Amtrak CascadesOne frequently cited downside of repositioning cruises is that they’re a one-way proposition requiring passengers to fork out more transpo fees either at the beginning or the end of their journey. The beauty of this overnighter is that getting to Seattle to embark is as easy and inexpensive as a $64 train ride stateside. Amtrak leaves Vancouver at 6:40 a.m. daily and arrives in Seattle at 11:05, leaving you plenty of time to shop before you begin your cruise. —C. Rule

Special thanks to Kathi Smith for suggesting this story. For more information on cruise ships and train, visit hollandamerica.com, princess.com, amtrakcascades.com

Photos: Holland America Line, Amtrak


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