What is a transatlantic cruise (transatlantic crossing) ? It is a passage of travelers on a cruise ship across the Atlantic Ocean from a coast to coast. Every year cruise ships take their passengers from the Americas to Europe and back. Departures from many countries across Atlantic are getting more and more popular. The main feature of such crossing is vacationing at sea. You still get to know places at ports of call but the main purpose – is to hang out in the ocean for a few days. Sounds like something you may like? Read this article and learn all about transatlantic cruising.
Note: As a travel company we will be happy to help you with choosing the best cruise and booking it. Contact us for details or any questions.
Types of transatlantic cruises
There are 2 main ways of traveling the Atlantic Ocean on a cruise ship:
- one way
Round trips – are classic cruise vacations for the most of travelers. Figure out your days off at work, choose a destination and a departure port – and your vacation is ready. Nothing to worry about. Just enjoy the ocean, the ship and its amenities.
One way cruising is a better choice for those who are interested in long term travel or does not depend on their job. There are 2 types of one way cruises:
Crossings are scheduled and go on a regular basic. The most famous one – Queen Mary 2 (Cunard) between London, UK and New York, US.
Repositioning cruises are seasoned and happen in Spring and Fall. Those are the cruise ships that change their itinerary according to a touristic season or other reasons. Read more about repositioning cruises here.
* There is one more way to cross the ocean on a ship – freighter cruises. We have an article about them as well. Read how to cruise on a cargo ship here.
A bit of history
When it comes to history, everyone thinks about Titanic. Though the real history of transatlantic crossing started with steamships that were taking passengers and mail across the Atlantic Ocean on a regular schedule. Between 1820 and 1920 the main reason for crossing was not traveling but immigration for better opportunities. After 1920’s when the US government started cuts in immigration quotes, cruising became more touristic and vacation purposed.
Atlantic Ocean on the map (even the Atlantic Ocean has travelers reviews, oh oh oh 🙂 ):
Cruising faded for a bit, when traveling by plane became more attractive. Thanks to the amazing Caribbean cruises people got back to the ships and as an alternative to south cruising they often choose to sail to the east or combine sailing with visiting Europe.
How long is a transatlantic cruise?
Just crossing the Atlantic Ocean takes about 6-8 days, depending on a ship speed. Round trip means 12-16 days just in the ocean plus add some ports of calls. The length of a cruise depends on a cruise line and its itinerary. There are many options to choose from itineraries and different ports of call. Some itineraries may take more than 1 month.
Cruise lines that offer transatlantic crossings
Currently the following cruise lines offer Trans-Atlantic cruises (feel free to contact us for help with booking a cruise with them, we do NOT charge any service fees):
- Cunard Line
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Carnival Cruise Line
- Disney Cruise Line
- Celebrity Cruises
- Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
- Azamara Club Cruises
- Costa Cruises
- Crystal Cruises
- Holland America Line
- Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
- MSC Cruises
- Oceania Cruises
- P&O Cruises
- Ponant Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Ritz Carlton Yacht Cruises
- Scenic Cruises
- Sea Dream Yacht Club
- Seabourn Cruises
- Silversea Cruises
- Star Clipper Cruises
- Viking Oceans
- Windstar Cruises
What cruise lines offer round trips (departure and embark ports are the same) and cross equator? They are:
- Cunard Line
- Holland America Line
- Phoenix Cruises
- P&O Cruises
Note: that the information is valid for 2020, 2021 and possibly 2022 years. The list of cruise lines will be updated accordingly.
Where do transatlantic cruises go from?
For both sides – Americas and Europe there is enough of Trans Atlantic. Check out all the transatlantic cruise destinations on this map and the list below it:
North American departure ports are:
- Bayonne, Cape Liberty, NJ
- Boston, MA
- Brooklyn, NY
- Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Miami, FL
- New York, NY
- Quebec City, Canada
- Tampa, FL
International departure ports are:
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Athens, Port of Piraeus, Greece
- Barcelona, Spain
- Bergen, Norway
- Bridgetown, Barbados
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Callao, Peru
- Castries, St. Lucia
- Cayenne, French Guiana
- Civitavecchia, Rome, Italy
- Colon, Panama
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Dakar, Senegal
- Dover, United Kingdom
- Dublin, Ireland
- Fort de France, Martinique
- Genoa, Italy
- Greenwich, United Kingdom
- Hamburg, Germany
- Hamilton, Bermuda
- Helsinki, Finland
- Itajai, Brazil
- Kiel, Germany
- La Romana, Dominican Republic
- Las Palmas, Spain
- Lisbon, Portugal
- London, United Kingdom
- Longyearbyen, Norway
- Malaga, Spain
- Manaus, Brazil
- Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Montevideo, Uruguay
- Paris, LeHavre, France
- Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
- Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadaloupe
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Rotterdam, Netherlands
- San Antonio, Chile
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Savona, Italy
- Southampton, United Kingdom
- St Petersburg, Russia
- Tromso, Norway
- Venice, Italy
- Warnemunde, Germany
The most popular and loved by tourists itineraries are:
- Miami (Florida, USA) to Barcelona (Spain)
- Copenhagen (Denmark) to New Orleans (Louisiana, USA)
- Barcelona (Spain) to San Juan (Puerto Rico)
- Southampton (England) to New York City (New York, USA)
- Lisbon (Portugal) to Boston (Massachusetts, USA)
- Dover (England) to New York City (New York, USA)
- Rome (Italy) to Miami (Florida, USA)
Itineraries may change with time. Contact us for all the available options for 2020, 2021 and 2022.
How much does a transatlantic cruise cost?
If you are looking for an affordable option – the best way is to book a repositioning cruise. Those are the cheapest and some deals can go like 50% off and even more on sale days. Unfortunately, they happen in Spring and Autumn which is not suitable for families with school age kids.
Just a small reminder: Travelrows LLC is a travel company and will be happy to help you with a quote for a cruise of any type. Just contact us 🙂
The most luxury cruises are from Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas and Crystal.
The most affordable ones are from: MSC, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess and Celebrity Cruises.
Normal cheap repositioning cruise deal is about 50$ per person per day and a scheduled ocean-crossing price can be 100$ per person per day and higher.
What is a transatlantic cruise really like?
The best way to get an idea of a transatlantic crossing is to find out its pros and cons. Check the list of advantages and disadvantages below. It will help you to understand, if a Trans Atlantic cruise is for you. Major points are going in the same order so you can compare them easily by looking at numbers:
- Though most people say there is nothing to see around – really you can enjoy breathtaking views of endless ocean, its 50 shades of blue, sunrises and sunsets and its wildlife if you are lucky
- Another way to try and experience a cruise – hanging out in the open ocean and see what it’s like.
- Less people than on other local cruises around your country or the Caribbean. Great option for retired people, who can afford long-term travel.
- The price is lower per day of traveling as compare to other popular destinations.
- There is nothing to see around. You may feel like you are in a luxury prison for 6-8 days there and 6-8 days back when crossing the ocean.
- If on a second day of cruising you realize that ocean views is not something that you enjoy, there is no other way back. You will just have to enjoy the ship’s amenities to its maximum.
- More senior citizens and less kids. If you are a young family with kids and want your kids to have fun and make new friends, better choose another cruise.
- The price is higher per cruise as it takes more days than other local cruises.
The best time to go on a transatlantic cruise
Experienced cruisers say, that in general trans atlantic crossings are cold. That is why get ready some warm clothes no matter what itinerary you choose. Here are some advices that will help you to choose the best time of the year to cross the Atlantic Ocean:
* Transatlantic repositioning cruises are usually in Spring and Fall. For ports of call in the Caribbean or Mediterranean these seasons are perfect. Not too hot and not too cold. Which makes this time of year attractive for cruising. If you want to enjoy swimming in the Mediterranean sea you better choose Autumn. Because in Spring Mediterranean sea is still too cold for swimming.
* Get enough warm clothes if you travel to Northern destinations. A typical spring in the Atlantic Ocean crossing is about 50-60 F in the mornings and evenings, 70-80 F during the day. But it totally depends in which side of the ocean you go, North or South.
* Avoid hurricane season and tropical storms, if your route goes through the Caribbean sea.
* When it comes to crossing the ocean, any time of year can be unpredictable and cold in the open sea. Through into your suitcase a couple of warm clothes to enjoy the view from the deck even in the cold temperatures and windy weather.
* If the weather is bad, not only you get seasickness but probably outdoor fun like pools and slides will be closed due to strong wind.
* Good thing – there is a high chance of getting a last-minute cheap deal for a repositioning cruise, that means you do not have to plan and book early. Just check weather forecast for hurricanes, buy your cruise and start packing.
If you have already sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, take part in our poll to help travelers to pick the best month:
Ports of call and excursions
As the main part of any trans Atlantic cruise is crossing the ocean, it has less ports of call and offered on shore excursions as compare to Mediterranean or Caribbean cruises. Main thing to know about sightseeings and what to expect – on a trans-Atlantic cruise you will have opportunity to see some of Caribbean Islands, Northern Europe and Western Mediterranean.
Trans Atlantic cruise tips
- Choose bigger ships for ocean crossing to avoid seasickness from big waives.
- If you choose a way one cruise, think about getting back home. One way airfare can be pricy.
- Bring some entertainment for ocean days in your cabin – books and other reading stuff, toys for kids
- Take some warm clothes, weather can be unpredictable, also hot in ports of call and cold in the middle of the ocean
- Find out the dress code required for the ship when packing, you can learn it from the cruise company, or me – your travel agent.
- Get your seasickness pills. Ships usually have some for free but who knows, maybe you will need more
- You can save money and book a cheaper cabin as in the Atlantic Ocean there is not much to do on the balcony, especially in a bad weather.
Articles, stories and reviews on our website
Best time to cross Atlantic from West to East
Frequently Asked Questions
How much luggage is allowed on a ship?
In case with cruising they don’t count or weight your suitcases but if you are taking a one way cruise, remember about the overweight you may have on your way back on a plane.
I tried a trans-Atlantic cruise before and i did not like it, though reviews are usually very good. What was wrong with mine?
Before getting on an ocean crossing cruise, research cruise lines and ships. There can be quite a difference between American and European cruise lines, East or West, South or North headed itineraries and other aspects. If you read a very good review, stick exactly to that route, ship name and it’s cruise line. Then, you should be fine. Check out this infographics on how to choose the right transatlantic cruise:
If you have already crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a cruise ship, share your experience in comments or send us e-mail with your story and photos. We will be happy to publish your reviews on our website. Thank you.
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