Watching a cruise liner @ Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Watching a cruise liner @ Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

There's many ways to rove the world.  Most people fly — it's fairly cheap and fast. And most are single destination travelers. They'll fly to and hang out in a city or town or simply explore a geographic region. Time and money drive this behavior.

But let’s face it. Flying is a hassle. Many wouldn’t do it at all if their time weren’t an issue.

But if you're a rover — especially if you're a full-timer — time isn't always driving your travel train. You’re always traveling. You’ve got all the time in the world, right? If you weren’t we’re you are right now, you’d be elsewhere, to overstate the obvious.

Get rid of your anchors to set sail for freedom

If you don't have “anchors” — a house, kids, pets or a job you must return to at a specific location, “time” becomes relevant only for staging travel from one area to another. It becomes an effort to answer the question: where do I have to be at what time to catch a (fill in the blank) to get the destination X?

When you start thinking like this, you open your mind to possibilities about modes of transportation over time rather than thinking about destinations as travel goals. Stated differently, the mode of transportation becomes a destination worthy of exploration in and of itself on the way to another destination.

When you eliminate “traveling quickly” from your life, cruising becomes an alternative to pick from your decision making tree.  If you’re like many of us, you’ve probably thought about it and come up with a various reasons not to go: time, money, fear, health, arrogance, negative news or negative comments from family or friends.

Arrogance and negative news were my excuses. Years ago, I lived and worked on aircraft carriers and various classes of naval ships. My notion was “how can a commercial cruise line do it as well as the U.S. Navy?” This attitude combined with well-known cruise ship fiasco’s — pandemic illnesses and accidents at sea — reinforced my bias.

But I was wrong.

In 2015 my wife and I took our 26-year old son and a friend on a 2-week cruise across the Mediterranean on the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). Since then, we’ve taken two trans-Atlantic cruises and a cruise through the Panama Canal with the Holland America line. Now, I’m a cruise “convert”.

When I think about getting to another continent now, I first ask the question: “is there a cruise that will get me from here to there?

The Azores
The Azores

Cruising for Rovers — Why you should cruise

Cruising is a great way to see the world. And repositioning cruises are the best of the best for rovers — an affordable way to get from one continent to another — and back — if you wish. All you have to do is structure your departure dates for the beginning and end of each cruise season.

So let's look at some of the big reasons why rovers should cruise:

  • Gain relief from the constant pressure of the question looming over the heads of most full time rovers: “where will I live tonight?” (this is a big deal for full timers like us)
  • To provide a full-service, temporary home
  • To provide a full-service permanent home (we've seen this a lot with seniors)
  • To get from one geographic area to another (inter or intra-continental travel)
  • To avoid the annoyances of airline travel
  • To bask in a slower pace of travel
  • To get to areas that might be harder to reach by plane
  • To survey countries at ports of call quickly to decide if you want to return for a more in depth visit

Water covers about 71-percent of the Earth. The oceans hold about 96.5 percent of the Earth's water.  When you move from continent to continent by water, new possibilities open up to you.  Many cool places to visit are accessible, in practical terms, only by boat!

Ferry @ port of Loutraki, Skopelos, Greece
Ferry @ port of Loutraki, Skopelos, Greece (accessible only by boat)

Yes, a cruise might cost you more than airline ticket. But a flight doesn't give you a hotel room with 3 meals a day over time while you travel from point A to point B.  And a flight doesn’t present shore excursions — sights to see or things to do — on the way.  A cruise is a floating hotel room on the move.

We've met full-time travelers who cruise by budgetary criteria: if they can find a repositioning cruise for $100 a day or less, per person, they will take it. This makes sense. When you realize that you're getting your room, board, entertainment and transportation all for this price per day, cruising becomes downright economical.

Cruising strategies for Rovers

Repositioning cruises are mothers milk for rovers.

Want to go from the U.S. to Thailand?

Instead of taking a 22-hour trans-Pacific flight, you could catch a cruise from the West Coast of North America to some point in Asia — and get to see several destinations along the way. From there you could take a quick flight to Thailand.

For example, the Holland America line offers a 15-day trans-Pacific repositioning cruise from Vancouver to Yokohama-Tokyo, Japan in September every year. The return-repositioning cruise from the Far East to the USA occurs in April the following year. Stops along the way include Ketchikan, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Dutch Harbor, Kushiro, and Hakodake. The cost? $1600.00 per person a day for an inside stateroom. You might pay that much just to fly from the U.S. to Asia!

When you start thinking of ships as your mode of transportation instead of aircraft, you'll change the time of year and the time spent abroad on different continents driven by cruise line-repositioning schedules.

Eiders, Vigur island, with view toward Iceland. The only way to get there is by boat!
Eiders, Vigur island, with view toward Iceland. The only way to get there is by boat!

Want to see Europe and avoid a flight? If you're in the USA, you can take a repositioning cruise from Port Lauderdale, Florida, to several locations in Europe. Cruises span from 7 to 18 days.

For example, a Holland America Cruise leaves Port Lauderdale Florida in April of every year and ends in Copenhagen, Denmark. Along the way you'll stop at the Azores (Portugal), Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark over the course of an 18-day cruise. Once you arrive in Copenhagen, Europe is your oyster. You can rent-a-car and drive across the continent to your hearts content, catch a plane for a quick trip to the Greek islands, or catch another cruise and see the Baltics, Norway, or other destinations. And if you stay over in Europe for about 2 months, you can catch their 18-day Viking passage cruise out of Rotterdam back to the U.S. and never set foot on a plane!

M.S. Rotterdam at port, Isafjordur, Iceland
M.S. Rotterdam at port, Isafjordur, Iceland

With the trans-Atlantic crossing above, you get 18 days of room and board, nightly entertainment, daily room service, an onboard casino, exercise rooms, laundry rooms, swimming pools and endless sights to snap with your camera along the way. And guess what? When you take 18 days for a trans-oceanic crossing, jet lag is not an issue.

When you cruise, you arrive relaxed, refreshed, rested and unhassled by airport security, customs and border procedures. Cruise lines have plenty of time in advance to check you out. You won't go through the near strip search procedure you'll be subjected to at an airport.

Taking a cruise is a form of a traveler’s sampler. If you want to get a quick feel about a country, take a cruise. We tell our friends and readers just a quick pass through a country suits us just fine. If we like what we see, we put that country on our list of places to return.

Once you remove “time” and “anchors” as travel triggers, the decision to cruise comes down to benefits for money spent over time: “how much will it cost per day and what will I get for this daily cost”.

There’s lot’s to be said about cruises and cruising for the rover. I’ll be adding hyperlinks here to future posts as I add them.



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Tom @ RoverTreks
Tom is the editor at RoverTreks. His feature-length stories span travel, technology, history, culture, security, national security, military affairs, languages, communications technologies, and law. He's a member of the Board of Directors for the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association and serves as the Technology & Security Advisor for the Association. Media appearances: CNN, CNBC, ABC, MSNBC, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, The National Law Journal, Decision Management (Ireland), Fortune Magazine,, ZDNet News, USA Today, e-BUSINESS Advisor magazine, eWEEK, CIO magazine, CFO magazine, Accounting Today, Government Executive Magazine, Time, The San Francisco Chronicle, Matrix, The Chronicle for Higher Education, Newsbits, Information Security News, and Business 2.0.