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.
My Favourite Hotel Search Site: Wwwbookingcom
www.booking.comis my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here. You can usually book with free cancellation – this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens. It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve – a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together. I never book hotels non-refundably. I have also come to trust their review scores – you won’t be disappointed with anything over 8.0.
Tip: It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites: HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others. Though if there’s not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place atwww.booking.com.
What Is A Transatlantic Cruise
A transatlantic cruise is any sailing that crosses the Atlantic Ocean, often when repositioning a ship from one part of the globe to another during the change of cruise seasons. Examples include the many ships that sail the warm waters of the Caribbean during winter months, then reposition to Europe for summer.
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What To Do On A Transatlantic Cruise
This totally depends on the cruise line. Our vessel, Costa Pacifica, has quite a lot of amenities: three swimming pools, jacuzzi hot tubs, a big slide, library, plenty of bars, four restaurants, gym, running track, disco club, even a casino and spa. A few of these facilities were only opened for a few hours a day and the pools were either closed or too cold to be used when we were crossing the Atlantic.
For kids, Costa Pacifica has a small playground with a kids wading pool, as well as a Peppa Pig themed playroom and a kids club for those aged 3-11. The kids club is opened from 9am to 12 midnight , with child minders to look after the kids. Some of the staff at the kids club were great, but a few of them looked like theyd rather be somewhere else. I wasnt happy with their attitude, and stopped leaving Kaleya there after realizing that she was often left to her own defences there.
At the start of the voyage, we enjoyed ourselves at every destination, going out to explore and seeing different things each day. We mostly spent the whole day outside and returned to the cruise only in the evenings. But the main challenge came when we were crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
Before the trip, I didnt think it would be a problem but we got bored on day one at sea. Due to the strong winds, the slide and most of the pools were closed. It was still sunny the whole time, so most people sunbathed on the upper deck but I couldnt do that all day long even if Kaleya wasnt around.
Why Travel On A Transatlantic Cruise
I booked the transatlantic cruise for a few reasons. Firstly I found a ridiculously cheap deal: the 14-day cruise only cost me 250 euros per person, for an oceanfront room and all meals included.
Ive traveled quite extensively in the Caribbean and I know going from one island to another can be expensive so this would be a good way to see four on one trip. With just one day on each island, we would be barely scratching the surface, but we could get a taste and return for longer trips in future.
I also wanted to do a mother-daughter trip with Kaleya somewhere warm, and a cruise seemed like an easy and comfortable way to let her have fun and give myself some downtime. We really needed some sun and warmth after spending the past few months in cold Amsterdam and taking winter trips to Slovakia and Ukraine.
Plus, a transatlantic voyage sounded like an epic journey and a rite of passage for any traveler. Crossing the Atlantic on cruise would give us the chance to relive history and experience the passage that migrants took in the 19th and 20th centuries on steamships.
I met plenty of people on the cruise who were avid cruisers who have cruised around the world. A Tranatlantic journey was the goal for most of those who love cruising. As one of them shared with me, They say that you havent really cruised until youve crossed the Atlantic on a cruise.
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A Transatlantic Crossing Can Be Flat Calm
Despite what you may think, the Atlantic Ocean can be flat calm at times. Several of our crossings have been just like a mill pond. The calmness of the North Atlantic is very eerie and if you couple this with the banks of fog that often exist when the sea is flat, this can make this experience feel simply weird. These are the days to be up on deck and taking in the sea air and getting some exercise!
Of course the Atlantic is also known for its bad weather and rough seas. Choosing a midships cabin or stateroom lower down in the ship makes any movement less pronounced and you are less likely to feel uneasy. Read our Our Top Tips for preventing Seasickness on a Cruise for more detailed guidance.
Our favourite ship to make the crossing Cunard Queen Mary 2 is on Deck 2 forward. Mid-ships on a low deck and youll hardly feel the infamous thirty-foot seas and gale force winds!
The Altlantic is not always rough!
Top Transatlantic Cruise Destinations And Shore Excursions
A Transatlantic cruise from Southampton to New York is considered to be the original one way voyage, however, crossings can also be eastbound or include the exciting destinations of Miami and Rio de Janeiro. If you want to experience the ultimate in luxury cruises, indulge in a Cunard Transatlantic cruise aboard Queen Mary 2, Cunard’s flagship which sets high standards in opulent transatlantic cruising.
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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.
What Is A Transatlantic Cruise Like
One of the things that sets apart a transatlantic cruise from other cruise itineraries are the number of consecutive days youll spend at sea.
Unlike most multi-country cruises, which visit numerous ports of call throughout their itineraries, transatlantic sailings typically visit destinations at the beginning and end of their journeys. During the extended trip across the ocean, youll be able to enjoy a resort-style vacation in the open waters.
One of the highlights of sailing on a transatlantic cruise is the opportunity to take advantage of all the venues and amenities on board during those successive days at sea.
If youre looking to unwind, sleep in and order a room service breakfast. Pick out a book from our library and get lost in a novel while lounging on your veranda and enjoying gorgeous views of the ocean.
For a more active vacation, wake up early and participate in one of our onboard fitness classes. Then fuel up at breakfast in our Main Dining Room, where theres everything from pancakes to poached eggs, and later book a rejuvenating massage at The Spa in the afternoon.
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In the evenings, sign up for a wine tasting class, dine at one of our specialty restaurants that include French nouveau cuisine and rustic Italian fare, and end the night with a thrilling theater show or some drinks at our ice-topped Martini Bar.
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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.
Pro: Relax And Unwind
When arriving home from vacation, many travelers often complain that they “need a vacation from their vacation!” Although many are surprised at how quickly the sea days fly by on a transatlantic cruise, no one is forcing guests to do anything other than whatever they want to do. Some guests bring along an e-reader full of novels, while others catch up on movies, try their luck in the casino, or spend time unwinding in the spa or fitness center. On a transatlantic cruise, someone else is cooking and cleaning up after you. Guests can sleep in as long as they wish or go to bed right after dinner. It’s their choice.
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More Time On The Ship For Relaxing And Exploring
With more consecutive sea days, youll be spending a lot more time on the ship. Its the perfect time to relax, unwind and forget about your cares. Instead of long days in port or spending days jam-packed with onboard activities that leave you worn out at the end of the trip, you wont feel like you need a vacation from your vacation.
Insider Tip: Packing for a cruise that crosses the Atlantic means bringing clothing for both warm and cool weather, as it can be unpredictable, and wardrobe for any occasion. Cunard includes several formal nights, so know the dress code before you go, as you wont be able to go shopping in any port.
On a transatlantic cruise, youll have the time to sleep in as long as you want to, catch up on reading, learn a new skill, catch up on a craft and get pampered in the spa. With more time on the ship, you can do lots of exploring while onboard, meaning no missing out on any of the ships included amenities like their wellness options, shops, activities and restaurants.
How To Avoid Rough Seas On A Cruise
While a cruise ship in rough seas can be unpleasant, it will rarely result in a canceled voyage. However, it may make nausea-prone passengers seasick and force the ship to skip ports.
Rough waters can occur anywhere at any time, but because of ocean currents, high winds, and nearby landmasses or the lack thereof some itineraries can be expected to have particularly rough seas at certain times of year. So even though you cant predict the weather months in advance of your cruise, you can increase your chances of smooth sailing by not booking during the stormiest seasons . Here are the roughest seas you are most likely to encounter on a cruise, and when to avoid them:
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Is There A Difference Between An Ocean Liner And A Cruise Ship
The difference between liners and cruise ships Interesting article. The terms cruise ship and ocean liner are often used interchangeably. However, while both are types of passenger ships, there is a difference. An ocean liner is a ship designed to transport passengers from point A to point B.
Cruise Lines For Atlantic Crossings
In addition to Cunards Queen Mary 2, most cruise lines that move their ships between Europe and the Caribbean offer transatlantic crossings in some fashion.
Cunard has a rich history of transatlantic crossings and is widely considered the gold-standard for this epic cruise. Sailing with Cunard means you’ll be experiencing your own piece of history on a voyage thats departed for over 180 years.
Cunard leaving from New York is an epic sendoff reminiscent of the golden-age of cruising.
Other luxury cruise lines like Regent Seven Seas, Viking, Windstar and a variety of premium cruise options also offer their version of the transatlantic cruise. Speak to a CruiseInsider expert for the various transatlantic cruise options or more information on this unique voyage.
Insider Tip: The best time for a transatlantic cruise is between April and December. Early and later crossings can mean unpredictable weather, and youll want to consider that spring and fall can be foggy. For southern repositioning itineraries, keep in mind that June to November is hurricane season, making April/May the better time to go.
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Internet & Mobile Phone Access
Internet access is available for a fee throughout the QM2, both in your cabin and in all the public areas including bars but excluding the theatres & restaurants. It generally works well with good download speeds. You pre-pay for a bundle of minutes and this is added to your normal on-board account.
2019 prices: $15 for 30 minutes , $45 for 120 minutes or $80 for 240 minutes .
You can spend these minutes individually, so for example you can buy 120 minutes and spend them over the course of the whole voyage, logging on to download emails, logging off again to compose replies offline, then logging on again to send, and so only using a few minutes at a time.
Transatlantic & Transpacific Cruises
Reposition your view of paradise with a transatlantic or transpacific cruise.
Have you ever thought of traversing an entire ocean from coast to coast? You can go further than you ever thought possible on a transatlantic cruise, crossing the waves between the U.S. and Europe. Departing from Florida, Barcelona, Southampton and Copenhagen, these cruises include both tropical and cultural island stops, in ports such as the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Greenland and Iceland. Meanwhile, transpacific cruises go from Sydney to the U.S., with plenty of white-sand-beach-filled South Pacific ports in between. Take in sweeping views of the Pacific while stopping in exotic ports to see the secluded beaches of Vanuatu or the volcanic vistas of Hawaii.
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Can You Book A Cruise And Flight Together
When you book the flight along with your cruise, most cruise lines guarantee to get you to the next port at no cost to you and supply a complimentary hotel room in the meantime. Cruise lines often offer the lowest rate on base airfare. They can do this because they negotiate bulk contract fares with certain airlines.
Know Before You Go Prepare
With a minimum of seven or more consecutive sea days, even the most entertaining of the mega ships will have a lull in the activities that most interests you. Some ships still have some sort of library.
For the best book selection, get there when the library first opens. By the second or third day, the choice for best sellers has dwindled. Note that Queen Mary 2 has a library on all ships. Chances are you can find a book or two that for the cruise.
Not a reader? Bring your home craft project providing it fits into your checked luggage. Youll find knitting, needle-point, and scrapbook meetings each day in some public space.
Wine tasting events have expanded into single-malt scotch, craft beer and tequila tastings, too. There is a fee but what else do you have to do?
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Hows The Service On The Transatlantic Cruise
The crew on Costa Pacifica were great they did their job well and made our journey a very comfortable one. I really liked our cabin stewart Hoirul and restaurant waiter Florante, who often went above and beyond to make our experience positive. They were also really friendly to Kaleya and it made her feel special, and that meant the world to me.
I did notice that some bar staff didnt look too excited about their jobs though. It was understandable, considering their long hours and being away from family for so long. The crew usually worked eight months straight, with no rest day or break in between. They also worked really long hours, with very little sleep. I dont understand how that is legal since most European countries have labor laws enforced to protect employees.
The staff on the cruise is from around the world, though the majority of them are Asians . Ive seen the same in all the other cruises Ive been on, including the expedition cruises. To me, it shows third-world exploitation at its worst. While some of the staff told me that they are well paid, I dont think they are offered fair conditions and working hours. Im happy that cruises provide so much employment and many of these people are grateful to have jobs that allow them to support families back at home but they should be treated with respect, and given reasonable working hours and breaks.