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Princess ship in Alaska

What Is an Open-jaw sailing?

An open-jaw sailing is a cruise that begins in one port and concludes in a different port of call. These are rather uncommon types of cruises, since most cruises are closed-loop sailings. The best reason to go on an open-jaw sailing is the ship can travel further during one voyage and visit more ports. This means getting to more exotic ports which other cruises would not have the time to visit.  In addition, a repositioning cruise is another type of open-jaw sailing. The reason why open-jaw sailings are uncommon is it creates a difficulty for passengers to coordinate their travel before and after the cruise. 

Key Takeaways

  • An open-jaw sailing ends in a different port than the cruise began the voyage.
  • Open-jaw sailings are uncommon voyages because of the logistical challenges they present.
  • The most common type of open-jaw sailing is repositioning cruises and Alaska.

Understanding an open-jaw cruise

In simple terms, an open-jaw sailing is used by cruisers to refer to a sailing that begins in one port and ends in different port than the one it began. 

Some markets will have open-jaw sailings more than others, especially Alaska.  These types of cruises allow the ship to go further in one voyage, because the ship does not need to take any time to turn around and go back to the original homeport.

Another kind of common open-jaw cruise is a repositioning cruise, where a cruise line moves a ship from one port to another with the intention to transition from one market to another.

The problem with going on an open-jaw sailing is you will have to coordinate getting to the embarkation port and then home from the disembarkation port.  This means getting flights to to/from different cities, or arranging some other form of transportation.  For many cruise fans, this presents a challenge, as well as potentially costing more money than a roundtrip flight.