Consider Your Cabin Type
On our first Atlantic crossing — a September transit — we were thrilled to be upgraded from an outside cabin to a balcony. Ironically, though, we rarely used it. Occasionally inclement weather, frisky winds and an unchanging view limited its appeal. We’ll take a balcony if the price is right, but more for the chance to have fresh air in the cabin from time to time. We wouldn’t splurge on it.
You Can Often Get A Great Price
Carnivals newest ship Carnival Horizon was launched in Spring 2018.
Theres a reason most cruises start and end at the same port: most passengers arent looking to buy a one-way voyage. Plus, many people arent able to take off the amount of time needed to do a transatlantic sailing. As a result, you can often get really good prices on this type of sailing. Now there are, of course, exceptions.
For example, its often cheaper to get a good price on a transatlantic sailing if the ship is brand new. After all, there are a lot of folks who are willing to pay top dollar to be among the first to take a new ship out for a spin! But even in these cases, weve seen surprisingly low fares if you book early and smart!
In Los Angeles: Hotel Queen Mary Long Beach
If you get as far as Los Angeles after your transatlantic crossing, it has to be theHotel Queen Mary, doesn’t it?; She makes a good base to explore the Los Angeles – Hollywood – Disneyland area.; The original Queen Mary of 1936 has been permanently moored at Long Beach in California since the late 1960s, some 25 miles from Los Angeles Union Station , and it’s undoubtedly the most fascinating place to stay in LA.; The hotel consists of most of the Queen Mary’s original first class cabins, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars available on board, too.; Hotel guests can more or less wander the ship at will, and even sign up for ghost hunts at night on board .;Wood panelled art deco interiors have been preserved, although a few modern items have been installed such as televisions, and in some cases two of the Queen Mary’s original cabins have been knocked into one hotel suite by turning one of the en suite bathrooms into a connecting corridor.; She is one of the most atmospheric places I have ever stayed.
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Helloooois Anyone Out There Youre Not Really Alone At Sea
For a little peace of mind along your journey, remember that your ship travels in shipping lanes.; You are never too far from another ship, even though it may not be visible.
There is a portion on the north Atlantic where you may find yourself in no-mans-land for a day or so depending upon the route that your captain decides to follow.; Be prepared for a brief blip in satellite communications which affects the internet and television. It rarely happens but its always possible.;
On my recent Cunard voyage, we never lost a second of communication via wifi or TV.; Ships satellite technology vastly improves every year.
Orlando Airport Marriott Lakeside
Just a mile from Orlando International Airport , the hotel offers a free shuttle. Spacious rooms and suites boast soundproof floor-to-ceiling windows and pillow-top mattresses for a peaceful night’s rest. Locally sourced cuisine at Crimson Tavern presents an impressive array of delights for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stay in shape with our 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness centre, or go for a swim in the indoor or outdoor pools.
Just a mile from Orlando International Airport , the hotel offers a free shuttle. Spacious rooms and suites boast soundproof floor-to-ceiling windows and pillow-top mattresses for a peaceful night’s rest. Locally sourced cuisine at Crimson Tavern presents an impressive array of delights for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stay in shape with our 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness centre, or go for a swim in the indoor or outdoor pools. Bike and fishing pole rentals allow guests to get out and enjoy the scenery around the hotel on Lake Michelle. Some of Florida’s most popular attractions are nearby, including Walt Disney World®, SeaWorld Orlando® and Amway Arena. Choose Orlando Airport Marriott Lakeside now.
- Distance/Airport: 1 mile
- Distance/Pier: 40 miles
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How Much Does A Transatlantic Cruise Cost
Traditionally, cruising on a transatlantic crossing offers special pricing, sometimes as low as 50% off or as a 2-for-1 fare. Since youre saving money, this may be the perfect time to move up to that luxury cruise line that youve had your eye on. And its also a good opportunity to experience a series of days at sea, especially if you are considering longer cruises in the future.
Beware of cruise lines selling Atlantic cruise fares that seem too good to be true. They probably are.
Many mainline cruise companies offer inexpensive cabin fares. After factoring in the cost for all the extras like alcoholic beverages, special dining surcharges or tips, and you may be paying much more than intended.
You can also use Atlantic crossing cruises as transportation to or from Europe, reducing the number of international flights needed for the trip. I dont know about you, but Alan and I are always happy to avoid international flights whenever possible. We also like the idea of adding a land trip to the beginning of the journey. But more about that later.
Make The Transatlantic Cruise Into A Back
Once youve decided on which transatlantic voyage to take, book yourself into back-to-back cruises so that you stay onboard for either the first cruise once you arrive in Europe or the last cruise before the westbound crossing.; You not only feel special in saying that you are continuing on, but you get to spend time in many wonderful ports throughout Europe.
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How Do I Find A Repositioning Cruise
Look to regions that have very specific annual seasons. For example, ships that spend summertime in Alaska have no choice but to relocate come September, and they frequently offer unique itineraries along the coast of California, across the Pacific to Hawaii or through the Panama Canal. Also look for transatlantic cruises as ships reposition from U.S. East Coast ports to Europe for a season of Mediterranean or Northern European sailings and then come back for Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda cruises in the colder months. This often happens in fall and spring. Other repositioning itineraries journey to Asia, the Middle East, South America and Africa. See some of our favorite upcoming repositioning cruises here.
If You Live In Uk & Europe
Go towww.cruisenation.com, click LINES at the top, then select CUNARD LINE then change Any destination to Transatlantic.
Visas to enter the United States:; Remember that UK citizens must go to the US State Department ESTA website atesta.cbp.dhs.gov to obtain ‘pre-approval’ for travel to the USA under the visa waiver system for a small charge.; Although still called a ‘visa waver’ programme, having to fill in a form and pay a fee to obtain approval to visit sounds like a visa to me…
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How Does The Ticketing Work
Whether you book direct with Cunard or through an agency such as cruisenation or cruisedirect, you log in to Cunard’s voyage personaliser atusing your Cunard booking reference and personal details .
Shortly before sailing date your voyage personaliser will show your allocated cabin number & dinner sitting, and you can download and print your e-tickets &luggage labels.; Don’t worry if you don’t manage to print the e-ticket, as long as you have some proof of booking you’ll be fine for entering the terminal and once at the check-in desk they will have your booking on their system.
Westbound transatlantic guide
Here is a typical transatlantic timetable, port transfer, embarkation arrangements & journey information for a typical westbound transatlantic sailing on the QM2.; Although they normally follow this same pattern, always check the sailing time & check-in times for your specific date.; If you find that something has changed, please let me know.; If you’re sailing eastbound, see the .;
Best Time For A Transatlantic Cruise
If you are wondering which is the best time to board a Transatlantic cruise, you will be surprised to learn that it depends on you. Since cruise lines offer eastbound and westbound Transatlantic cruises, you should decide which direction you want to sail to. This will enable you to choose a port that is closer to home at the start or end of the cruise.
It is essential to remember that the hurricane season in the Atlantic is from June through November. Hence, during this season the sea condition and weather may not be what you expect.
Another point to note is that during spring and fall, night temperatures will be cool. So, you will need a cardigan or sweater if you are opting for a southern crossing. On the other hand, if you choose a northern crossing, you will need a warm coat.
Regardless of which time you choose to go on a Transatlantic cruise, you can rest assured that you will enjoy an affordable, relaxing, and entertaining cruise. This is because most cruises have minimal ports of call and this make Transatlantic cruises quite economical.
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A Transatlantic Cruise Is A Great Time To Do Nothing
This isnt a If Its Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium experience.;; Transatlantic cruises are generally not port intensive.; But if there is a port you would like to visit, chances are you can find a cruise that stops there en route to where you will disembark.
So, with careful planning and a lot of vacation days, you can choose an itinerary which visits four and five ports along the way.; Some cruise lines include a couple of Caribbean ports, too.
Cabins & Dinner Sittings
If you have young children, it’s worth asking for a cabin towards the stern of the ship.; We were given a stateroom at the extreme forward end of deck 6, whereas the Play Zone is at the extreme aft end of deck 6.; That meant we had to walk a sixth of a mile from cabin to Play Zone to sign the kids in, then a sixth of a mile back again to get changed.; It proved impossible sign the kids in at 6pm when the Zone opens, walk all the way back to the cabin, get changed into formal dress, then walk forward again to the Britannia restaurant for a 6pm sitting.;
From this experience on our outward crossing, we changed our sitting for the return crossing to 8.30pm.; The evening then worked better, although some after-dinner films or shows finished after midnight so could not be attended without leaving early to collect the kids.; The dinner tended to take up much of the evening.; A stateroom near the Zone, and dressing for the 6pm dinner sitting before taking the kids to the Zone, might be the ideal solution, but my wife’s and my opinion is divided!
If you’ve small children, remember to take your folding buggy .; It’s a big ship!
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Why A Transatlantic Cruise
It can be an overwhelming experience to cross the massive Atlantic Ocean. You will learn about the olden shipping routes and marvel at how the seafarers of yesteryears cross the ocean with minimal technology.
Also, going on a Transatlantic Cruise allow you to relax and unwind without any interference from the chaotic outside world. You can use the time at sea to catch up on your reading, drink champagne at the deck, try your luck at the on-board casino, indulge your taste buds to a gastronomic adventure, and even pick up a hobby, like dancing or cooking.
Some cruise lines have dedicated Transatlantic cruises throughout the year while others offer it when they reposition their ships from Europe to the Caribbean or from the Caribbean to Alaska.
The Play Zone & Child Care
The Zone is aft on deck 6, staffed by a team of friendly young British-trained nannies.; It has a toddler zone for ages 1-3, a Play Zone for ages 4-6 and The Zone with various computer games and other activities for older kids up to 17.; There’s plenty to do, and activities such as treasure hunts or ship tours are organised by the Play Zone team.
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Santa Cruz De Tenerife Canary Islands
Tenerife, a volcanic island that’s the largest of the Canaries, is dominated by the gigantic 12,402-foot-high Mount Teide. A day in port isn’t enough time to sample all that Tenerife has to offer, whether it’s picturesque beaches or banana plantations. You can scale a snow-capped mountain, stroll aimlessly through charming villages, hike through a pine forest or play a round of golf.
Plan Your Wardrobe Carefully
The weather can be very unpredictable on a transatlantic cruise ship crossing. Therefore, youll want to pack your cruise luggage with items that can be easily layered. If you are heading east to Europe, youll need warmer clothing. However, coming back west, you can wear lighter, cooler threads. A windbreaker can be very helpful for shore excursions. Also, good walking shoes are a must. Dont forget your bathing suit and flops for the pool and hot tubs.
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Travel Planning Tips For Cruising The Atlantic
That Atlantic crossing deal you just found is only as good as the entire cost of the voyage. What do I mean? The trip will usually involve a one-way international air ticket and those can be pricey, especially if you travel business class. Heres how we do it:
- Start with a Skyscanner search to determine the airline, schedule and itinerary thats best for us.
- Check to see if using airline miles is a workable option. It rarely is for us.
- Determine if we will save money by booking the international portion of the ticket to or from a major city near our home rather than from the small airport where we live.
- Ask our travel agent to price out the itinerary that weve chosen with what the cruise line is offering for air so that we can compare prices.
- Budget the cost of traveling to and from the airport. Will we be using the long-term parking lot, renting a car or hiring a car and driver during any portion of the journey?
- Factor in the cost of hotels;on the front or back end of the trip. Start your hotel search here.
Have I inspired your next trip? Check out the My Itchy Travel Feet Luxury Cruise Planner;page before booking your cruise.
And dont forget to purchase travel insurance when making the final payment. We prefer policies that cover pre-existing conditions for the transatlantic traveler and immediate family members. This is especially important if you have elderly parents.
Con: No Ports Of Call
TripSavvy / Linda Garrison
The traditional transatlantic crossing of the Queen Mary 2 does not feature any ports of call, leaving New York and arriving in Southampton seven days later .;
Most transatlantic repositioning cruises taking the southern route between the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas make stopovers at ports of call in the Caribbean, the Cape Verde Islands, and the Canary Islands. Ships crossing the northern route might stopover in Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, Bermuda, Newfoundland, or Atlantic Canada.
While you won’t have as many ports of call as on a seven-day Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise, some of the ports are unique and can only be seen on an extended voyage like a transatlantic crossing.
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Transfer By Taxi In Southampton
Make sure you know which of the four possible terminals the QM2 is sailing from, the QEII terminal , City Cruise Terminal , Mayflower Cruise Terminal , or the new Ocean Terminal .;Map of Southampton, showing all cruise terminals, Southampton Central Station & the historic Ocean Terminal.
A taxi from Southampton Central station takes 10 minutes and costs around £9 to the Mayflower or City cruise terminals, around £12 to the QEII terminal or Ocean Terminal.;You’ll find plenty of taxis waiting at the station, the taxi rank is on the same side of the station where most trains from London arrive, so no bridges or subways to negotiate., level access from platform to booking hall to forecourt.
What’s An Eastbound Atlantic Crossing Like
The ship normally sails from New York at 17:00.; This is the usual time, but please check for your specific departure date.; Once on board and settled into your stateroom, listen for announcements about emergency drill.;This is held at 16:00 and takes about 20 minutes.; You listen for the alarm bells, fetch your lifejackets from your stateroom and go to your allocated muster station where staff will brief you on emergency procedures and you’ll listen to an announcement by the captain.; After this you’re free to go up on deck and admire the Manhattan skyline astern and the Statue of Liberty to starboard .; At 17:00 she casts off, and with a band playing on her aft decks and glasses of champagne available she heads out to sea.; Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty slowly disappear astern, and the QM2 heads toward and then underneath the huge Verrazano suspension bridge out into the Atlantic.;There is just a few precious feet of clearance above her red funnel!; An NYPD police boat follows behind , and a police helicopter buzzes overhead…
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