Travel SOS: What is a line cruise?

Maggie wants to know if she can take a one-way cruise and has asked whether she should take a repositioning cruise or a line cruise. She’s unsure of the difference, so we do our best to explain how it works.


Q. I was thinking about going on a one-way cruise, so I can spend some time in one destination and not just on a ship. I like the idea of cruising (I’ve never been on one) but I’d also like to visit a country and stay for a while. My friend told me I could go on a cruise like this, but I’m not sure if I’m looking for a repositioning cruise or something called a line cruise. Can you tell me what’s the difference?

A. Line voyages can provide an excellent opportunity for travellers to take advantage of great cruising deals and explore more exotic destinations.

For some cruise lines, line voyages usually take place in between European and Australasian seasons to ‘reposition’ the ship. The route can vary each time to provide new experiences for returning guests, whether that’s travelling via Africa, the Mediterranean, South-East Asia, or the Caribbean and South Pacific.

For example, some ships will depart London in October and reach Fremantle in December. After that, they often commence their Australian season. Ports of call you might visit along the way include Amsterdam, Lisbon in Portugal, Bridgetown in Barbados and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.

For those looking for a less lengthy escape, shorter line voyages are available, which can make for a leisurely alternative to air, rail and road transport options.

Closer to home you could embark on a shorter cruise from Auckland to Sydney, or a slightly longer voyage from Hong Kong to Singapore on which you’ll have more time to explore exotic regions before and after your cruise.

The best deals for line voyages are usually when they’re first released – which can be up to two years in advance – so subscribing to relevant mailing lists or keeping in touch with your travel agent are highly recommended.

A strong advantage to line voyages is the value achieved. Line voyages can also offer access to cultures and regions that are typically difficult or expensive to reach via flights, and provide a relaxing way to explore with like-minded travellers who aren’t in a rush. It also means you only have to unpack once!

The timing of line voyages usually coincides with warmer weather, so a winter escape can be another incentive for travellers. 

By its very nature, however, a line voyage means the ship won’t return to where you began, so you’ll need to arrange flights home, but a travel agent can package this up for you. It also provides the opportunity to further explore your final destination should you have extra time up your sleeve.

If you have a Travel SOS question, send it to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer, or find someone who can.

Have you been on a line cruise or a repositioning cruise? How was it? Would you recommend such a voyage to our members?

Also read: Repositioning cruises explained

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