For those who have seen films of a young Grace Kelly arriving at the world-famous Monaco harbor on the SS Constitution for her wedding to Prince Rainier III, the image of a transatlantic sailing remains one of romance and something reserved for the rich and famous. The good news is you don’t have to be a celebrity to sail on a transatlantic cruise, though you may feel like one, as many are available at affordable prices.
Several ships do what is often referred to as a “crossing the pond,” “a transatlantic sail” or “doing a crossing.” They offer a leisurely vacation experience, where you can find enrichment, entertainment, enjoyment and escape from daily routines and hectic schedules.
A transatlantic cruise is a time honored travel tradition, making everyone feel like royalty. There is a mystique about it, a reminder of days gone by. But they are not a thing of the past, as you can still enjoy a fabulous transatlantic sailing, but with all the comforts, luxuries, amenities and technologies of today. You can feel suspended in time, far away and removed from the hassles and demands of daily life. This time is yours. Nurture yourself. Luxuriate in this floating haven and indulge yourself with fabulous spa treatments, gourmet food, fine wine and high-end entertainment, as you de-stress on this ultimate escape.
A Myriad of Choices
The most famous route for these romantic crossings is between New York and Southampton, England. Cunard Line’s ocean liner, Queen Mary 2, is the only ship to do these cruises on a regular schedule. For many, Cunard represents the “Golden Age” of transatlantic cruising, elegance and gentility. Today, you can still expect the finest white-glove service, as well as fabulous onboard amenities and vast culinary choices. Have fun! As you cross the big pond, sip on champagne and enjoy conversation at the chic Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar and dine at a delicious restaurant, such as Todd English. You may find yourself looking forward to the daily relaxing ritual of afternoon tea, usually accompanied by a harpist or string quartet. Watch the stars, both on deck and in the amazing planetarium, the only one a cruise ship.
Some cruise ships may sail from the Caribbean or Fort Lauderdale to Rome (or the reverse) and from various other ports. Transatlantic cruises are not just eastbound from the U.S. You can also depart from Europe and sail west to balmy breezes and tropical shores, such as from Barcelona or Lisbon to Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Another choice, if time doesn’t allow for a complete world cruise, is to simply reserve the “transatlantic segment.”
You can also experience a transatlantic sailing on a “repositioning” cruise, when ships move to different regions of the world depending on the season. Some that spend summers in Europe will then cross the Atlantic in late fall to spend the winter in the warm Caribbean and in the spring, do the reverse. By combining these sailings, such as a Fort Lauderdale to Rome itinerary, you get to do both a transatlantic and a Mediterranean cruise at the same time.
Other cruises may be from Miami to Southampton, with calls at such fascinating and diverse ports as Ponta Delgada, Cobh and Le Havre. Another exciting itinerary sails from Tampa to Rotterdam and includes King’s Wharf, Cherbourg and Zeebrugge. There are also fabulous cruises from New York to London that include beautiful ports in New England and Scandinavia, so you have the best of both worlds.
You can also take a “roundtrip” transatlantic cruise. If time permits, you can then spend your holiday traveling and when it is time to return, you do so by cruise ship, so there are no airports or flying involved.
Days of Leisurely Pleasures
When so much time is spent rushing around, busy schedules and getting things done, it seems almost impossible to not have to do anything except enjoy yourself. Imagine relaxing at sea, with absolutely nothing that you have to do. This fantasy can become a reality on a transatlantic cruise, filled with days of leisurely pleasures.
During this lovely peaceful time at sea, indulge yourself, whether it is in a dance or culinary class, a hot rock message at the spa, workout in the fitness studio or simply catching up on your reading. This time is yours to refresh and rejuvenate while getting pampered in this peaceful haven. With endless onboard amenities, the ship itself can be the destination.
A myriad of exciting activities, including a wide variety of enrichment programs, are also offered on many of these cruises. There are performances, as well as lectures and discussions from the world of music, art, sports, aeronautics and space, medicine, politics, ecology, economics, to name a few. Also featured are famous ambassadors, statesmen, journalists, chefs, astronomers, academics, broadcasters and astronauts.
Kick your heels up on transatlantic theme cruise featuring the “Golden Era” of Big Band music with the sounds of Dorsey, Miller and Wellington. Feel like you are on “Dancing with the Stars” as you learn how to ballroom dance from top professionals. Some cruises feature magical formal balls, where you can dress to the nines and have the time of your life as you dance across the Atlantic.
Fabulous “food and wine” theme cruises let you savor delicious cuisine and learn about wine from experts. Master chefs share their culinary expertise and the best parts are the special dinners, wine-tastings and food pairings. They are the perfect vacation choice for “foodies.”
Diverse enrichment programs, from keyboard classes, astronomy lectures and foreign language studies are offered and carefree days provide the time to learn something new. They also provide a perfect way to meet people with shared interests and make new friends. Classes may be offered in everything from cooking to computers, photography and digital cameras. There are a variety of wellness workshops and cooking competitions.
Celebrity Cruises features “Celebrity Life Plus” on its transatlantic sailings. With an emphasis on “Taste, Learn, Revive and Play,” the program offers you the option to spend days at sea learning new things, exploring new tastes, recharging and having fun. Guest chefs and wine educators share their expertise and conduct cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and fabulous food-and-wine pairings dinners. There are also speakers on a variety of topics and workshops in everything from language lessons to iPhoto classes and wellness workshops — something for everyone.
These unhurried days at seas are meant to enjoy all that is offered to you. Spoil yourself with a day at the spa, with famous names including Canyon Ranch SpaClub, Greenhouse Spa & Salon and Carita Paris. Indulge yourself in the ultimate pampering with a heavenly beauty and wellness treatment, from a well-being massage to a facial or one of the several fabulous rejuvenating treatments.
Another stress-free feature of a cruise is that you can have a night out on the town by just steps from your door. Enjoy a broad spectrum of entertainment, depending on the ship, from lavish Broadway-level productions and Vegas-style shows, to concert-style productions and classical soloists. You can try your luck at the casinos and at karaoke.
If you want to party, head to the disco, which are open until the wee hours. There can be everything from formal balls to dancing to favorite tunes in various lounges. There are also plenty of lounges and bars, for an after dinner cognac with new found friends. You can also watch the latest movies.
For the thrill of a lifetime, sail into New York City, it is something you will remember forever. You will glide past the majestic Statue of Liberty and historic Ellis Island, where your relatives may have arrived so many years ago. Another amazing experience awaits as you view, and later sail under, the massive Verrazano-Narrows Bridge looming ahead in the early morning light. What a magical experience!
A transatlantic sailing should be experienced at least once in a lifetime, whether you love to cruise, are looking for a special vacation or simply want an enjoyable way to travel. These cruises let you experience luxury without a huge expense. They are fun, interesting and very affordable and may be the best and most relaxing holiday you have ever had.
To book your Transatlantic, Repositioning or World Cruise, visit Cruise.com or contact one of our cruise experts at 888-776-0659.