A Transatlantic Crossing
is a very special kind of cruise. The only cruise line that operates their ocean liners on a regular basis bewenn Europe and the US is Cunard. Cunard does not like their ships to be called Cruise Ships, they call them Ocean Liners in the old tradition of ocean travel. You have an embarcation port (Southampton, New York, or Hamburg in most cases) and a disembarcation port.
In between - one week of water.
Other than cruises, where you reach one port per day, you can concentrate on the ship, relax, go to the spa, read a book, listen to a lecture, or just relax after a stressful time at your job.
Ocean travel on an Ocean Liner, like the Queen Mary 2 where you can enjoy the ship for a week before reaching land again, is something special.
From time to time one of the little sisters of the Queen Mary, Cunard's Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth offer transatlantic crossings, but only QM2 offer these on a regular basis.
Why should I go on a cruise without ports to see?
There are two reasons to go on a transatlantic crossing:
- The trip is the destination. You can enjoy the ship all day long, relax, read a book, go to lecturers, enjoy a "High Tea", talk to other travellers, go to the Spa, etc.
On a transatlantic crossing you have a much better chance to meet other passengers than on a regular cruise where you have nearly every day another port.
- To travel between the Americas and Europe without the hazzles of flying. Many travellers fly to Europe and take the ship back to have no problems with the time change as it occurs slowly. If you have a lot of time, you can just fly
from home to New York and then take the ship to England or to Hamburg and back. What my wife and I did in 2018, we combined a relocation cruise from NCL with a transatlantic crossing on QM2. The longest flight we had to do was 3 hours. 3 Hours from Tampa to NY and 3 hours from London to Rome.
My wife and I went on a Transatlantic Crossing July 29, 2011. We crossed the atlantic on a regular transatlantic crossing on QM2 from England to New York City.
We will stayed three nights in London as I had not been in England for about 25 years. My wife and I went to the British Museum, the flee market, the Tower, took a city tour and visited some pubs for food and beer.
As I love the Phantom of the Opera musical we want to the sequel, which was playing in London at the time, we learned later that we were there on the last night. I was glad that we had purchased the tickets in advance
over the internet. I recommend to use the transfer from Cunard from London to the ship, it was relativly cheap and you did not have to care about the luggage any more.
My plans for the crossing on Queen Mary 2 included these: Canyon Ranch Spa (Aqua Therapy Centre and a hot stone massage), enrichment programs, and the High Tea. I love the High Tea On Cunards' Queens which is offered in the ball room, the buffet, and on the Promenade Deck.
Queen Mary 2 has the largest library on a ship and you find books in a variety of languages, nearly 10,000 books.
But please note that I like the library (a little smaller library) on Queen Victoria with a spiral Mahogony stair case better, althoug it has less books. Please note that when choosing a ship for a crossing that Queen Mary 2
is the most stable cruise ship as it has a deep-V hull and extra-thick steel plates. This type of construction is much more expensive, therefore Cunard used a more standard-construction on the other two ships, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria and on the coming Queen Anne.
I sailed with a group on Queen Victoria in November 2010 our of Venice to the Greek Isles and we had some strong winds and could not tender to land one day, but Queen Victoria was very stable in spite of high winds. QM 2 is even more stable.
Should I go on a transatlantic Eastbound or Westbound?
Several people asked me this question - and it is a good one. Leaving New York is relly nice and you can shoot some great photos leaving NYC. I personally travelled twice on the Queen Mary 2 out of New York, therefore I preferred to leave Southampton to New York, the way the settlers came to America a hundred years ago when I went
on my first "real" Transatlantic Crossing. I did an not-typical crossing from Montevideo to Cape Town on QM2, but about that later more.
I definately would recommend to stay a couple of days in London, going Westbound, and enjoy the city. I had not been in London for over 20 years and therefore I choose to stay for three days before going to Southampton.
You should definately stay a minimum of one night to make sure that you do not miss the ship if your plane is delayed. Remember, there is no other stop on the way to New York. Even leaving from New York, I would recommend to stay for a day, the weather in NYC can be bad and you make sure that you do not miss the ship and in addition to that, you can go shopping in New York.
My Not-Typical Transatlantic Crossing
I did one unusual transatlantic crossing in February 2011 as part of the World Cruise, where I booked the first segment and traveled from Montevideo in Uruguay to Capte Town in South Africa. I have never been sea sick, but I wanted
my first transatlantic cruise to happen on the most stable cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2 from Cunard. This crossing was very smooth, even when we reached the "Cape of Good Hope".
As the islands of Tristan De Cunha were not far off our course, the captain gave us the opportunity to see the island, the most remote civilized island of the world. The island of Tristan de Cunha lies in the South Atlantic Ocean, removed over 2000 kilometres from the nearest major landmass (South Africa). Several authors used the island in novels, like Edgar Allen Poe and Jules Verne.
A Relocation Cruise
can be a good alternative to a Transatlantic Crossing, usually is longer than the typical one week crossing, but you add some ports.
In spring there is a huge movement of cruise ships from the Caribbean to the Mediterranian, the Baltic Sea, and to the British Isles out of two reasons. The first is that summer has some hurricanes in the Caribbean and therefore the Cruise Lines want to keep less ships there. The second reason is that the cruise lines get much higher prices in Europe than for the Caribbean.
Prices are sometimes very low, esspecially on a short notice, I have seen prices from less than five hundred dollars plus tax. Please let me know, if you consider such a cruise and I will get you some information.
My wife and I have cruised 39 times in the past 21 years, but the seven days on sea between Montevideo and Cape Town in the beginning of 2011 and were the most relaxing week on a ship ever, no interruption -- just the wide open sea.