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RISMEDIA, Oct. 10, 2008-If you want to get away at bargain rates, consider a repositioning cruise. Every fall, cruise lines need to move their ships across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to warmer waters for the winter cruise season. We’re seeing some great rates on these sailings for departures from October through early December.

These cruises make stops in Europe before making the trans-Atlantic journey. During days at sea you can enjoy shipboard amenities such as going to the spa, fine dining, or the pool.

The cheapest rates per night were departures from Barcelona, but there are also great rates from other European cities. The following sample rates were available when we checked, but they can change based on demand.

Royal Caribbean is offering a 15-day cruise from Barcelona to Texas, and rates start as low as about $27 per night. (The line usually sails from Galveston, but will sail from the Port of Houston until further notice.) The cruise departs on Nov. 29 and stops in Cartagena, Madeira, Portugal, Santa Cruz, Nassau and Miami before reaching Texas.

When we priced this cruise, inside cabins started at $399, ocean view cabins were $599, balcony cabins were $1,299, and a suite started at $1,999. Prices are per person, based on double occupancy.

Norwegian Cruise Line has a 13-day repositioning cruise from Barcelona, to New York City that departs on Nov. 16. Stops include the Italian cities of Florence, Pisa and Rome. Prices per person start at $349 for an inside cabin, $549 for an ocean view, $749 for a balcony and $949 for a suite. In comparison, the same suite cabin is selling for more than $1,999 per person in October for a seven-night cruise.

Carnival offers rates starting about $50 per night on 16-day sailings from Rome to Fort Lauderdale departing Oct. 29. The cruise stops in Barcelona; Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Malaga, Spain; Madeira, Portugal; and St. Maarten. Prices start at $799 per person for an inside cabin, $1,499 for an ocean view, $1,729 for a balcony cabin and $2,399 for a suite. Carnival has a similar cruise for the same prices departing Rome on Nov. 6 that stops in Las Palmas, Spain, instead of Madeira.

You will need to find one-way fares to get to your departure point and to return from your final cruise port. While decent one-way fares won’t be hard to find from your U.S. cruise destination, it will be trickier to find one-way fares to Europe, so you’ll need to shop around.

The airfares offered by cruise lines are usually not your best buy, but it is worth checking what they offer. Bestfares.com has one-way tickets that are available for up to 50% off the lowest published fares. Call 1-800-516-9829. You also may consider cashing in some frequent-flier miles for the flight to Europe.

It’s best to fly to your ship’s departure city a couple days early to eliminate worries about reaching the vessel on time.

Contact: Carnival, 1-888-227-6482, www.carnival.com; Celebrity, 1-800-647-2251, www.celebritycruises.com; Holland America, 1-877-932-4259, www.hollandamerica.com; Norwegian, 1-866-234-7350, www.ncl.com; Princess, 1-800-774-6237, www.princess.com; Royal Caribbean, 1-866-562-7625, www.royalcaribbean.com.

Bestfares.com© 2008, The Dallas Morning News.Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.