If you’re looking for a way to visit Europe but aren’t keen on flying, or you have the luxury of time and want to experience a unique journey across continents, transatlantic cruises are worth considering. The days of endless ocean might not be for everyone, but they offer the chance to fully relax and experience travel as it was before the world got so fast-paced. Read on for some pros and cons of transatlantic cruises.
What is the best time of year to take a transatlantic cruise?
The best time for a transatlantic cruise is between April and December. Most cruise ships reposition from Europe to the Caribbean in fall and vice versa in spring so you can find some good value prices around these times.
Different types of transatlantic cruises
Classic Ocean crossing
The Queen Mary 2 is the only regularly scheduled ocean liner that crosses the Atlantic. She sails between New York and London and takes about 6 or 7 days, depending on ocean conditions. This is your classic transatlantic journey and it doesn’t have any other ports of call. It will appeal to fans of Titanic who want to experience travel as it used to be (without the icebergs).
Repositioning routes with stops
These cruises are offered when ships move between Europe and the Caribbean often with a few stops in ports along the journey. These usually occur in the spring and fall and last between 10 and 15 days as they make stops in Europe or the Caribbean along the way.
The pros of a transatlantic cruise
A transatlantic cruise can be an adventure you’ll always remember, and it can also save you some serious cash. For around $600 you can take your time cruising from Rio de Janeiro to Lisbon with stops in the Canary Islands, including all meals, drinks, entertainment and fitness facilities.
It can also be a great way to take in several European cities at once, in a convenient and cheaper way than flying. Norwegian Cruises have a 15-night passage from New York to Italy with day stops in Lisbon, Cadiz, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Cannes and Italy, all for $800- that’s $53 a day!
Have you ever had a relaxing vacation only to end the trip with a stressful long-haul flight and arriving home frazzled from the journey? Transatlantic cruises save you all of that and even sidestep the jetlag problem. Since Europe is about six hours ahead of EST time, ships travelling west lose an hour each day. Those going east add an hour, so some cruises have 25-hour days: one extra hour to hit the free buffet.
Since transatlantic cruises have a lot of days at sea with no stops the cruise companies put on a range of activities like lectures or art and photography classes. There will also be spas and fitness facilities with yoga, pilates and other classes.
Time to relax
Your food is prepared and cleaned away and you can even order it to your room for free. You’ve got nothing to do except whatever you want; read, watch movies, hit the gym and spa, swim some laps or just stare meditively at the ocean horizon. A transatlantic cruise truly offers you a chance to chill out.
The cons of a transatlantic cruise
Weather and waves
With most other cruises you are never that far from land, and you do most of your sailing at night. But on a transatlantic cruise you might not see land for a few days and the ocean can get pretty rough. Luckily most ships have stabilizers to protect passengers from the worst waves. Travel in summer for the best conditions and get a cabin in the middle of the ship to avoid sea sickness.
Where some see the opportunity to relax, others can find the constant empty horizon claustrophobic. If you’re the kind of person who needs to burn off a lot of energy this probably isn’t the trip for you.
As transatlantic cruises tend to take a long time most of the people onboard will be retired. This probably won’t be a party trip, but with unlimited drinks available you never know!
Long Story Short...
The next time you consider a European holiday a transatlantic cruise could add an extra adventure to your trip. Choose a repositioning cruise and it can also be one of the cheapest ways to see European cities or dreamy Caribbean islands. They allow you to set sail like the adventurers of old and might be just what you need to slow down from a fast-paced lifestyle.
Written by Laura Sedlak