Transatlantic cruises are more popular today than ever before. Transatlantic cruises can be romantic or they can transport the passenger back to a time when the pace was slower and the journey longer. Todayâ€™s transatlantic crossings can be as short as five or six days, or as long as two weeks or more featuring seemingly endless, casual days at sea, and plenty of time to relax and experience the breathtaking views and magic of the grand Atlantic Ocean.
Transatlantic Cruise History
In the world of cruising, the term transatlantic refers to crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Prior to the 19th century, transatlantic crossings took place aboard sailing ships, which often meant taking grueling, lengthy and dangerous trips. Enter steamships.
The invention of steamships put an end to the most dangerous and grueling aspects of transatlantic crossings. Examples of some of the most famous transatlantic steamships include: RMS Titanic, RMS Queen Mary, SS Normandie, and the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2.
As time passed, ocean liners replaced steamships as the largest, fastest and safest means transportation for transatlantic crossings. Ocean liners also became the most luxurious means of transportation for transatlantic crossings making transatlantic cruises among the most popular types of cruises among the rich.
Nothing beats a transatlantic cruise for those seeking an escape from the ordinary. A transatlantic cruise is the ultimate treat if you like spending long days at sea and few days in port. A few transatlantic voyages may include stops along the way such as the Canary Islands on southern crossings or Iceland on the northern route, but stops are not the attraction on these crossings. These sailings between Europe and America allow the passenger to enjoy the main attractionâ€”the actual transit across the Atlantic.
While only one cruise line operates a schedule of crossings during the summer months, most transatlantic sailings occur with the migrations (or repositioning) of cruise fleets from the Caribbean to Europe and the Mediterranean in the spring and the return voyages in the fall.
Eastbound crossings typically depart from Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, New York and a few Caribbean ports. Westbound ships often sail from Barcelona, Spain; Southampton, England and other major European port cities. In each case, cruise ships may take a longer, slower southern course past the Canary Islands, or the shorter, quicker northern journey.
Transatlantic cruises last from 6 to 16 days and many have special themes, such as Big Band, jazz, or food and wine.
Which Cruise Line Should I Choose?
To experience a traditional transatlantic cruise, consider a non-stop, 6-day crossing aboard the Queen Mary 2. Most veteran transatlantic cruisers cite the excellent service and refined atmosphere of QM2 as reminiscent of the era of classic ocean liner travel.
Transatlantic cruise packages aboard the QM2 are offered several times throughout the year while other cruise lines typically offer repositioning cruises twice a year. However, just about every cruise line offers a transatlantic cruise, so some may prefer to take advantage of the huge variety of different cruise ships available.
Booking a Transatlantic Cruise
Do you have a favorite cruise line? If so, chances are they have a transatlantic cruise offering or two. For newbies and seasoned travelers alike, simply contact your local travel agent to begin the booking process or contact the cruise line directly.