A Transatlantic Crossing – The phrase is evocative of the Golden Age of Ocean Travel. The images it brings to mind – Luxury liners gliding across serene seas beneath starry skies – seem remote from our current reality of travel, tightly packed in polished aluminum tubes, high above waves that appear as tiny specks upon the sea.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. If you are willing to trade eight hectic hours in the air for eight dreamy days at sea, then a transatlantic crossing is the way to go.
You’ll enjoy endless ocean vistas while lounging on deck, contemplating the way early explorers must have felt, literally leagues from land.
Northern Passage vs. Southern Passage
There are two ocean routes in common use for a transatlantic crossing; a Northern passage and a Southern passage. Both offer advantages and disadvantages.
The Northern Passage provides a shorter crossing of around six days, but has a greater possibility for rough water.
The Southern Passage, while generally smooth sailing, requires a longer crossing of about eight days.
First off, you had better like Sea Days, because there are six to eight of them… all in a row.
Sea Days, as they’re called in the industry, are the rare jewels of ocean travel. Such days allow you to experience the ship without detracting from port time.
Choosing the right cruise ship for you
Being on board for eight days straight makes the ship your destination.
Choosing the correct ship for your life style is critically important on an eight day crossing.
Food in the main dining room on some ships rivals many specialty restaurants; on others, eight nights of dining at the same table redefines eternity. Even if for no other reason than a change of venue, a specialty restaurant is in order.
Does the ship have the type of specialty cuisine you prefer? If you’re a steak lover you may not be happy in a sushi restaurant.
A ship with several specialty restaurants provides variety and a better chance of reserving a table. Reserve a table at your favorite restaurants as soon as you get onboard. Remember, there’s no onshore dining in the middle of the Atlantic.
Some ships, such as Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, rejoice in the sea. The ocean is visible from every venue. Other ships hide the ocean away, a necessary nuisance, to be glimpsed only occasionally. Which ship you choose for your crossing depends on your level of comfort with the sea.
The middle of the Atlantic on a small glass walled ship is not the place to decide you don’t like the ocean.
On the other hand, spend your days on a large ship with a promenade, like Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, and you might think you’re still at the dock.
So… does the ship fit your lifestyle?
[box] DEAL ALERT: In many cases, Transatlantic Cruises are the best per day vacation value you’ll find anywhere
Today, the 13nt Transatlantic from New Orleans to Barcelona on the Norwegian Spirit is selling for $429 per person or $33 per day!! Click here to check availability [/box]
Most transatlantic cruises (with the exception of Cunard) are repositioning cruises. The ship visits ports that are not on the lines regularly scheduled destinations. This is a great opportunity to visit ports of call that may be unfamiliar to you.
On a recent transatlantic crossing we sailed from sunny Miami, crossed the Atlantic via the Southern passage, cruised the Mediterranean, and finally disembarked in Civitavecchia, Italy for a three day stay in Rome. Just like they did during the Golden Age of Ocean Travel… Now that was a transatlantic crossing dreams are made of.
Pricing in the deal alert is based on availability and is accurate at the time of this posting, 5:15 PM ET 1/29/2012.