As summer in Europe winds down, flexible travellers can find bargains on a variety of unusual cruises. We are moving into the "repositioning" season. From late October to early December, numerous ships head west across the Atlantic to spend the winter months plying the warm waters of the Caribbean or South America. To help offset the cost of relocating the ships, cruise lines get paying passengers on board these one-off journeys by offering discounted fares. On these longer voyages – usually about two weeks – the cost per day can work out less than half of what it would be on a regular cruise.
For example, with US line Celebrity Cruises, a 15-night repositioning cruise from Southampton to Miami at the end of November works out at just over £60 per person per day (including flight back) compared with £187pppd for a one-week fly-cruise of the eastern Caribbean in January.
Repositioning cruises are popular with regular passengers who want to spend more time on a favourite ship, and good for people who want to rest and enjoy looking out on an open sea. Some repositioning voyages have a theme, such as dance, or offer the chance to learn a language.
A 15-night cruise from Southampton to Miami aboard Celebrity Constellation (0844 493 2043; celebritycruises.co.uk) calls at Le Havre, Lisbon and Tenerife, departing on 30 November. For the 11 days at sea you can sign up for Rosetta Stone language classes. The cost from £1,082pp includes the return flight from Miami.
Sail for 13 nights from Barcelona to Miami on mega-ship Norwegian Epic. Ports of call are Ponta Delgada in the Azores and the Caribbean island of Saint Thomas. Departure is on 21 October and the cost, from £999pp, includes flights and two nights post-cruise at Sonasta Bayfront Hotel Coconut Grove when booked with Virgin Holidays (0844 573 4398; virginholidayscruises.co.uk).
Mid-size Nieuw Amsterdam sails from Barcelona on 29 October for 13 nights, bound for Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The ship calls at Cadiz, Lisbon and Madeira. The cost is from only £499pp, but it does not include flights (0843 374 2300; hollandamerica.co.uk).
There will be a big band and ballroom dance theme aboard luxury ship, Crystal Serenity on a voyage leaving Barcelona on 9 December to Miami, calling at Tenerife and St Maarten. There will be dance classes from swing to salsa, and lectures on jazz singers and the history of big bands. The cost, from £2,290pp in an outside cabin, includes flights, drinks and gratuities, with Crystal Cruises (020-7287 9040; crystalcruises.co.uk).