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A Transatlantic Princess Cruise From England to Florida

Updated on July 16, 2017
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She happily lives in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

The author of this post on the Royal Princess cruise ship getting ready  to set sail on a two week transatlantic cruise!
The author of this post on the Royal Princess cruise ship getting ready to set sail on a two week transatlantic cruise! | Source

15 Day Transatlantic Cruise on the Royal Princess


My husband and I just returned from a 15-day transatlantic cruise on the Royal Princess cruise ship. This was our second cruise on the Royal Princess, but our third transatlantic cruise. We enjoy taking transatlantic cruises because there are lots of days when the ship is at sea and although some people find days at sea boring, we find that very relaxing.

The cruise ship left the port of Southampton, England at 5:00 pm Sunday, September 6th and arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Monday, September 21st, 2015. People are often surprised when I tell them that I was on a cruise ship for two weeks. Many of them think they would be bored, especially because we had six days in a row at sea. But my husband and I usually enjoy sea days on a cruise more than the port days. If you have never taken a transatlantic cruise, and think you might be able to handle about half of the days of the cruise at sea, you definitely should look into a transatlantic cruise because they have excellent prices.

The stops on our cruise were:

  • 1) Left from Southampton, England
  • 2) Rotterdam, Holland
  • 3) LeHavre, France
  • 4) Vigo, Spain
  • 5) Lisbon, Portugal
  • 6) Ended in Fort Lauderdale, Florida




The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The SeaWalk on the Royal Princess is seen on the upper right.
The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The SeaWalk on the Royal Princess is seen on the upper right. | Source

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Our first stop was in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

This stop was for all of one day, and then half the next day. We took a bus trip into the city of Amsterdam and went to The Amsterdam Museum, had a Heineken at a bar in the city since Heineken is brewed in Amsterdam, went to a restaurant called, Hage Klage for a typical Dutch dinner which included beef stew and of course, more Heineken.


My typical Dutch meal. This was called "Beef Stew" and it was served with apple sauce. That's red cabbage on the left, mashed potatoes in the middle and beef with gravy on the right.
My typical Dutch meal. This was called "Beef Stew" and it was served with apple sauce. That's red cabbage on the left, mashed potatoes in the middle and beef with gravy on the right. | Source
Amsterdam!
Amsterdam! | Source

Rotterdam Flea Market

The following day we went into the city of Rotterdam and had a wonderful time at an indoor/outdoor flea market that offered everything from food to clothing. It was an amazing sight to behold. I enjoyed the multitude of fresh baked goods and fresh produce much more than the line up of fresh fish. To a seafood lover, I am sure the fish looked wonderful but looking at and smelling dead fish was not high on my list of experiences!

Rotterdam Flea Market pastries
Rotterdam Flea Market pastries | Source
Fresh produce at the Rotterdam Flea Market
Fresh produce at the Rotterdam Flea Market | Source
Fresh seafood at the Rotterdam Flea Market
Fresh seafood at the Rotterdam Flea Market | Source

LeHavre, France


Our next stop was in the cruise port of LeHavre in France. We left the ship early in the morning and went on a tour by bus to the beaches of Normandy. This was a trip my husband has always wanted to take, but it made me sad. We went to three different beaches, saw an old German gun battlement with the actual guns still in the embankments, and to the D-Day museum. I found going to the Normandy beaches and seeing the fields that American soldiers lost their lives while fighting the Germans very eerie, and it just was so sad to be on that now hallowed ground. The trip was supposed to include a visit to the American cemetery, but unfortunately, it was closed that day due to a security issue.

The trip included a wonderful typical French meal at a local golf club. We had a view of the sea out a nearby window, and that was pretty special. We were treated to a delicious meal of chicken breast, baked tomato, potato and a sweet and creamy custard for desert.

Monument at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France.
Monument at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. | Source
Our typical French Meal which consisted of Chicken, potatoes and a baked tomato.
Our typical French Meal which consisted of Chicken, potatoes and a baked tomato. | Source

Vigo, Spain


The next stop was in the city of Vigo in northern Spain. We went on a walking tour of a medieval town within the city of Vigo, Spain. I spent a LOT of time walking around the town and taking pictures of the 16th-century churches and buildings. We had one hour of time on our own which we spent at a cafe and had Cokes and a little snack of tapas that they brought out for us. We had Cokes because I saw them on other tables and we don't speak Spanish, and we didn't know how to order anything else!

I was amazed at the age of many of the buildings, including churches that were in this part of town. I spent most of my time taking pictures of these buildings and the beautiful alleys that were closed to cars.

Ruins of a church from the 16th century in the medieval town of Ponte Verdre in Vigo, Spain.
Ruins of a church from the 16th century in the medieval town of Ponte Verdre in Vigo, Spain. | Source
Alley in Vigo, Spain.
Alley in Vigo, Spain. | Source
Our Cokes and tapas in Vigo, Spain.
Our Cokes and tapas in Vigo, Spain. | Source

Lisbon, Portugal


The next stop was in Lisbon, Portugal. We took a combination bus/walking tour of the highlights of Lisbon which included the National Maritime Museum, the oldest part of the city the Alfama, and Jeronimo’s Monastery. The museum focused on many of the explorers that came from Portugal originally, and had many examples of Portuguese boats, from fishing boats to boats of royalty. The monastery was huge and built in the sixteenth century.

A boat belonging to the King of Portugal, built in 1728.
A boat belonging to the King of Portugal, built in 1728. | Source
Jeronimo's Monestery in Lisbon, Portugal, built in the 16th century.
Jeronimo's Monestery in Lisbon, Portugal, built in the 16th century. | Source

Ponta Delgada, The Azores


Our last stop was in Ponta Delgada. We shopped in the stores at the port of Ponta Delgada in the town of San Miguel in the Azores and had a sangria at a restaurant overlooking the harbor. We have been at this stop many times before and have taken tours to various parts of the island to see a botanical garden, beautiful lakes, and natural hot pools.For those who don't want to take a tour, cruisers can get off the ship and walk around the dock area which has five stores with crafts and souvenirs, and plenty of restaurants. Many of the restaurants offer free WiFi for customers who order food and drink.

The Royal Princess docked at Ponta Delgada in the Azores with stores and restaurants in front of the ship.
The Royal Princess docked at Ponta Delgada in the Azores with stores and restaurants in front of the ship. | Source
The cruise port of Ponta Delgada (seen from the ship) on the island of San Miguel in the Azores.
The cruise port of Ponta Delgada (seen from the ship) on the island of San Miguel in the Azores. | Source
The beautiful atrium on the Royal Princess.
The beautiful atrium on the Royal Princess. | Source

The Royal Princess Cruise Ship

We enjoy cruising with the Princess Cruise line the most although we have cruised with Norwegian cruise lines and Holland America. Princess seems to offer exactly what we need at a reasonable price.

We chose the Royal Princess because it is one of the newer ships Princess Cruise lines offers and my husband enjoys newer ships more. The ship, built in 2013, has a capacity of just over 3,500 passengers. If you enjoy ocean cruising on larger ships, the Royal Princess is definitely one to try.

One of the most exciting things about the Royal Princess ship is the SeaWalk which is a glassed walkway with a 128-foot view directly down to the sea! Walking over this passageway does produce a bit of anxiety, especially if you are afraid of heights, but still, it's a fascinating experience.

Like all Princess ships, a big draw is the Movies Under the Stars screen which allows movies to be shown on the pool deck. Crew members fit each lounge chair on the deck with a cover complete with pillow and provide blankets and free popcorn to the audience. It's like a drive-in movie but much more comfortable! And at various times during the day, a fountain dances to music and scenes on the Movies Under the Stars screen. At night, colored lights make the fountain show come alive.

Along with the usual cruise ship free dining room choices, the Royal princess offers a pizza restaurant which is complimentary. In the large atrium, there is a gelato station for which there is a nominal charge.

We truly enjoyed our cruise on the Royal Princess not only for her new and exciting additions but also for the transatlantic itinerary.


The SeaWalk on the Royal Princess cruise ship.
The SeaWalk on the Royal Princess cruise ship. | Source
Lounge chairs with pillows and blankets ready and waiting before the movie of the night.
Lounge chairs with pillows and blankets ready and waiting before the movie of the night. | Source
Dancing fountains at night on the Royal Princess cruise ship.
Dancing fountains at night on the Royal Princess cruise ship. | Source

On Board the Royal Princess


While on the ship when not on tour, and on sea days, here is a list of what I did:

  • Read one book, “Into the Wild” about a young man named Chris McCandless who purposefully went into the wild of Alaska to live by his own means, and died there after four months at the age of 24.
  • Attended a concert by a man named Travis Turpin who is a wonderful vocal impersonator.
  • Attended a classical music strings concert by a group named, “Liberty” which was four young women from the Ukraine.
  • Attended a concert by Chris Watkins on an electric violin.
  • Attended an electric guitar concert.
  • Attended three variety shows with the ship’s singers and dancers.
  • Attended a show by comedian Tom Briscoe.
  • Watched a water fountain show set to music outside on Deck 16
  • Shopped in the ship stores
  • Had formal portraits taken by the ship’s photographer
  • Went to three specialty sales on the ship to purchase cruise wear on sale.
  • Attended a pub lunch at The Crown Grill restaurant
  • Attended a beauty party offered by the ship’s spa staff.
  • Took a tour of the Royal Princess Thermal Spa.
  • Watched one of those movies on the large screen on a top deck at the “Movies Under the Stars” event which included free popcorn and lounge chairs with blankets and pillows.
  • Attended three free cocktail parties hosted by the captain.
  • Participated in the “On Deck for the Cure” walk for Breast Cancer.
  • Walked 10 miles on the outdoor walking track.
  • Swam twice in the adults’ only pool.
  • Went in the hot tub twice on the adults’ only deck.
  • Observed dolphins swimming alongside the ship off the coast of Spain.
  • Went dancing with my husband.
  • Went to breakfast with another couple we met that are from Michigan.
  • Wrote five blog entries about the cruise for my blog, “Second Marriage Romance.”
  • Watched a flower arranging presentation
  • Gave my husband a ship’s tour for his birthday present.
  • Celebrated my husband’s birthday with him.
  • Attended an International Concert
  • Went to a church service on board the ship.
  • Watched a total of 20 movies, including:

A Little Chaos

Begin Again

Big Eyes

Birdman

Boyhood

Emma

If I Stay

McFarland

Mr. Turner

Some Kind of Beautiful

Song One

St. Vincent

The Age of Adeline

The Best of Me

The Fault in Our Stars

The Rewrite

The Theory of Everything

This is Where I Leave You

Wild

Wish I Was Here

Seats set up for Movies Under the Stars on the Royal Princess.
Seats set up for Movies Under the Stars on the Royal Princess. | Source
The free pub lunch on the Royal Princess. I chose fish and chips which comes with smashed peas!
The free pub lunch on the Royal Princess. I chose fish and chips which comes with smashed peas! | Source
The cruise ship staff on the Royal Princess decorated our door at no extra cost for my husband's birthday. You just have to ask at the passenger services desk!
The cruise ship staff on the Royal Princess decorated our door at no extra cost for my husband's birthday. You just have to ask at the passenger services desk! | Source
My favorite pool to swim in, the Adults Only Retreat Pool.
My favorite pool to swim in, the Adults Only Retreat Pool. | Source
A show by the Royal Princess singers and dancers.
A show by the Royal Princess singers and dancers. | Source
The theater on the Royal Princess.
The theater on the Royal Princess. | Source


Now although these are the things that I did personally, there were plenty more activities available to cruise guests. Among some of the activities I could have done but chose not to do were:

  • Line dancing, ballroom, and Zumba fitness classes
  • Trivia games with the cruise staff
  • The Marriage Game with the cruise staff
  • A second comedian show
  • An Illusionist show
  • Two port lectures
  • Five lectures on Investing in the 21st century
  • Used the Fitness Center
  • More movies
  • More books to read in the library which also had games that could be borrowed
  • An Ice Sculpting presentation
  • A backstage tour of the singer/dancing shows
  • More concerts
  • Book one of the many spa services that were available
  • Participated in Clay Pigeon shooting
  • Played Ping Pong

And much more, but my husband and I go on cruises to relax and choose to do only things that will make us happy. Spending a lot of money on spa services does not make us happy, but they are available for cruisers to use.



I love to take cruises, and my favorite two cruise lines are Princess and Norwegian Cruise lines, although I do think that Princess has more available activities and that’s important when you take a transatlantic cruise, or any cruise that has a lot of days at sea.

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    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 22 months ago from Georgia

      Aw, Cofee Brewin

      You should give a cruise a chance. Go ion the summer for the best chance at good weather. I highly recommend one, obviously!

    • profile image

      Cofee Brewin 22 months ago

      Awesome pictures you and hubby had a wonderful time. I want to take a cruise but with my luck the weather wouldn't be great. Thanks for sharing your great adventure.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 22 months ago from the short journey

      Thanks for the guided tour with some great pictures. Not sure about a cruise myself, but it would obviously be a comfortable way to travel!

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 22 months ago from Georgia

      Yes wetnosedogs you are right we do eat well. And I am happy that I only gained 4 lbs. on a 15 day cruise. The average weight gain on a 7 day cruise is 7 pounds, or so they tell me, LOL! The food is delicious though!

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 22 months ago from Alabama

      Looks like you eat good on the cruises and you don't have to cook it!

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 22 months ago from Georgia

      billybuc

      Thanks for your comment. The room actually is a mini-suite so it is one step down from a suite on a cruise ship. The categories are an inside cabin, ocean view, balcony room, mini-suite and suite. That's why it seems so large. My husband insists on having a mini-suite because he has worked hard all his life and feels he deserves it. Personally I am very frugal and would be happy with an indoor cabin, so we could take even more cruises, but I haven't convinced him that it would be a better choice, lol. So I just enjoy what he wants.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 22 months ago from Georgia

      srsddn

      Thanks. I hope you can have one like this soon too! It's SO relaxing!

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 22 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      Cruises can be such fun, whether they are sea days, or days in port. I especially enjoyed the trivia competitions. I'm so glad that you had such a good time and I love your descriptions and photos of what you did and saw.

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 22 months ago from Dehra Dun, India

      Nicely described. I wish I could have one like this soon.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 22 months ago from Georgia

      ahorsebackrider

      Well, maybe you might be more willing to give a cruise a try, at least for your wife's sake? There are many cruises that don't have any days at sea, so you have a stop every day, or maybe just one or two days at sea. You could try one of those. Or a 3 day cruise just to try it out. My favorite site is smartcruiser dot com and they have cruises of many different lengths and prices so you may want to just start there and take a look at what's available. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The room on the ship is larger than I expected. Much larger.

      As for the cruise, the food looks divine...the sites fantastic...I'm just not sure I could be on a boat, gone from home, for fifteen days. Maybe I'm just getting old?

      Thanks for taking me along on your return trip. Great fun!

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 22 months ago

      My wife often tries the "lets take a cruise " trick with me . We have traveled much but cruises don't interest me much as to the boredom that I fear , except a long sea cruise or perhaps a rocky northern sea one , But you make this sound interesting ! great hub !