In May of 2016, the Pullmantur Monarch departed from Cartagena, Colombia to return to its Spanish homeport. Every winter, this Mediterranean ship flees Europe for the warmer—and more profitable—waters of the Caribbean. It returns homeevery May.
This 13-day voyage across the Atlantic is called “repositioning.” Repositioning cruises often offer legendary prices. Really. Stunning prices.
In this case, the total came out to about $200—includingtax—for a trip from Colombia to Portugal that included unlimited meals and drinks. Not to mention a stop at St. Maarten, a solid gym, and nightly entertainment.
So what’s the catch? Follow along and find out.
What was Included
The Pullmantur Monarch took off from Cartagena, Colombia on May 28th and arrived in Lisbon on June 9th. This means the $200 covered what could have otherwise been,at minimum,a $900 flight. Flights can reach $2,000. That is already a win in my book.
There were two restaurants onboard the Monarch. One was a buffet that served lunch, dinner, and breakfast; the other was an elegant sit-down restaurant on the first level with 3-course meals and generous wine and cava accompaniment. The sit-down restaurant was also included in the $200 package, so it surprised us that the food was actually very good.
At this sit-down dinner restaurant, the night typically included 4-5 options, with plates like oxtail, steak, and fish. There were pseudo-marriages and jugglers who would come by the table as well.
Yes, the sit-down restaurant included dessert.
Even the drinks were of good quality! The free stuff included Beefeater gin and Stoli vodka, but you could splurge on Bombay Sapphire cocktails for $2. Bloody marys were also free.
The Digital Nomad Conference
The global community of digital nomadscame together on the Monarch to present and share skills. What is digital nomads, you ask? A digital nomad is a professional who works remotely and is often also defined by living a in a semi-permanent state of travel.
Aboard the Monarch, more than 200 Youtubers, bloggers, and ecommerce operators united under this flag to host conferences with names such as Choose Your Content Strategy.
There was not only a gym, but also a massage salon. You had to pay extra for the right to use the massage facilities, but it was worth it.
Cruise ships are seaworthy horizontal entertainment buildings. The Monarch included five bars and a discotech. Not only this, it also had a performance stage with two stories of viewing. Among the performances were plays, tangos, flamencos, and comedy. My highlight was a singer with dreads who played an original song called Gay Black Stoner Jesus.
Pool & Jacuzzi
The Monarch was built in 1991, so we expected a mediocre overall experience, but such was not the case. The ship didn’t have any exciting features compared to more modern ships, which inevitably offer toboggans and VR arcades, but nevertheless, it had the required basics like a central pool and jacuzzi.
What Was the Catch?
A cruise ship injury would have probably had you out of commission, as the medical station was probably 20 years old.
The Vucci Law Group says, “More and more U.S. citizens are opting to spend their vacations aboard cruise ships. The United States Coast Guard reports that there are around 200 overnight, ocean-going cruise ships across the world.
The average cruise ship carries about 2,000 passengers and includes a crew of 950 people. The Coast Guard speculates that more than 23,000,000 people will be cruise ship passengers in 2017. Unfortunately, this incredibly popular vacation option comes with its fair share of risks and dangers.”
More than 44% of these injuries are caused by falls.
If you are a traveler or digital nomad looking for a cheap way to get around the world, repositioning cruises might be something you can look into. The only catch is that you will not have a ride back for six months or more.
What is the best price you have ever found on your travels? Let us know below.