Thinking About Taking a Transatlantic Cruise???
So, you’re considering taking a transatlantic cruise? GREAT! Transatlantic cruising is a great way to journey to or from Europe, all the while being pampered and spoiled. Plus, oftentimes, the trips are a bargain! After all, this is actually just a big-ole repositioning cruise (in fancy cruise-speak that means it starts in one place and ends in another). So, the cruise line needs to get its ship to another port, typically from the US to Europe in April or May, then back again in September or October, and you come along for the ride. And while 14 days cruising the Mediterranean might set you back a pretty penny, crossing the Atlantic is down-right cheap…cheap…cheap! Why…you simply can’t afford NOT to go!!!
And let’s not forget that you are leisurely adjusting to the time difference! How great is that??? No more arriving in jolley-ole England at 7:00 a.m. dead on your feet only to be told by the front desk clerk you can’t check into your room (or flat, as they say) until 3:00 p.m. (15:00 hours). “ARGH! I’M TIRED” you say to yourself, but gently smile, nod, and trod out the door in your slumber-deprived state. And when you are finally allowed to get into your room, you KNOW you shouldn’t go to sleep, as it will mess up your sleep patterns for the rest of your trip! “Don’t do it!” you say to yourself, but ohhhh that fluffy pillow looks sooooo nice and inviting…..
Ok, ok, you get the picture, you arrive in Europe (Eastbound) or the U.S. (westbound) refreshed. Fabulous dawling! But I know, I know, every time you look at the itineraries you think to yourself OHMYGOSHWHATINTHEWORLDAMIGOINGTODOATSEAFOR ALLTHOSEDAYS??? Fear not….if you want to stay busy, there are loads of things to do on the ship. For example, most (if not all) ships offer classes on foreign languages, computer, cooking demonstrations, wine/scotch/martini tastings, tours of the galley, bridge and engine rooms, a spa and exercise facility, movie theatre, and a showroom. Don’t forget about your hobbies - knitting, crocheting, karaoke anyone? During one transatlantic cruise we were on, a fellow passenger parked herself in a booth at the café day after day, and made her bead jewelry. She had it proudly on display, and was happen to school fellow cruisers on her craft, while her husband played chess against…well, pretty much anyone who would play. And of course, there’s always a casino and bingo to try your luck.
Oh…I almost forgot….they feed you….and feed you….and feed you…. Of course, you’re famished from all the activities, so it’s a good thing. There are the typically breakfast and lunch buffets, and oftentimes, a brunch that runs in between. There’s the main dining room, dinner buffet, specialty dining, coffee bars, gelato bars, ice cream bars (actually places they scoop ice cream, not the fudgsicle-kind), piano bars, pool bars, flare bars, and good old fashioned “hey, can you get me a beer!” bar. You may find burgers, nachos, and dogs near the pool, and/or a lighter fare menu near the spa. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
And let’s not forget that when you are not at sea, there are shore excursions at all those fabulous ports you will visit when crossing the Atlantic. Always wanted to see Portugal? Tenerife? The Azores? Well, now you can! Imagine how wonderful it will be to tell the ladies in your book club about visiting Spain, Portugal, and France on your vacation while they were at home living their dreary lives. They’ll think you won the lottery. Or…you could take the high road and tell them how your veranda stateroom was a real steal. Naw!!
If you find you’re exhausted from all that late night action in the disco, throwing the dice, or you simply don’t want to do anything but veg, there are plenty of places to curl up with a good book, catch some rays, or perhaps a little shut eye, if that is your cup of tea.
Now I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you the importance of choosing the right size ship. With the introduction of bigger and better cruise ships, it’s important to be mindful when selecting a ship that fits your needs and desires. For example, Royal Caribbean’s larger Freedom and Voyager Class ships are huge, and thus, you may have to navigate from one end of the ship to other for dinner, rock-climbing, ice-skating, surfing (both the internet and their onboard wave), and/or bowling. If that sounds like too much for you, consider a smaller (but still grand) ship, like Celebrity’s Solstice Class ships. When selecting a ship size, look at the tonnage; the larger the number, the bigger she is. Here ladies, tonnage can be a good thing.
Are you ready to pack? If so, don’t forget your dress-up clothes. There are usually 2-3 formal nights on board. Men - bring a suit (or two) and don’t complain to your ladies about putting on a tie. Girls - show some leg for your guys. They might say they don’t mind seeing you in sweat suits and sneakers everyday, but I assure you they won’t complain a bit seeing you all gussied up. And who knows, you may find a little romance at sea, or should I say…wait for it….The Love Boat….Bon Voyage!!!