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Everything & Anything About Transatlantic.....

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I love to cruise and am always envious when I see a story about someone living out their golden years on a cruise ship!

Not to that point in life yet but a transatlantic / re-positioning cruise is on my cruise bucket list.

 

Please share your thoughts and experiences about transatlantic cruising. A few ideas to discuss...

- Did you decide to upgrade your cabin for this type of cruise? Maybe this is the cruise to go all out and get a suite?

- Anything you would advise to pack that someone might not think to pack?

- Do you prefer an east bound cruise or a west bound cruise?

 

Thanks for sharing!

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Wow !!! A dedicated board!!! That is some awesome....

so I am doing my first trip from Tampa to Amsterdam in May.

all the ports are new and I’m excited about all the sea days.

the ship is the Brilliance and I like that size. I have been on big, small, and in between.

i read good reviews about the Brilliance, except for the Smokey casino.

 

some questions I have are on a May sailing will the solarium pool be usable? Or too cold?

we bought the 3 night dinner package, will the food keep rotating or get repeated?

i want to pack light, As much as I can, do people get really dressy for formal night?

 
I do have an active roll call, but it will be great to have this chat board.

thanks for any and all help!!!!

 

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We have done 5 transatlantics  and have number 6 booked.  Love the sea days and ports are last thought.  We have done small medium and large ships.  Three Oasis class and a 4th coming up in Nov.  The Oasis class are our favorite, plenty to do and a mega ship with no kids.  West bounds seem to be warmer and we like the 6  25 hour days as opposed to 23 hour days going east.  All have been from  Rome, Southampton or Barcelona.  Have never had a Suite but always get deck 10 or 12 Oceanview balcony, warm enough on the balcony at least 12 of 14 days. One thing to consider is that eastbound starboard or westbound port gets the sun all day, sun never makes it over the top of the ship. One of the great things about a TA is that they are usually the same price as a 7 night cruise, plus airfare is very reasonable with oneway Lax to Barcelona running around $300.00. We just started looking at airfare for our Nov. trip and prices oneway are as low as $232 on Norwegian air shuttle non stop.  Dinner menus are pretty much repeated in MDR, we usually get a 5 night package or a 3 and a 5,  have never purchased the ultimate dinner package. Eastbound gets cold around the Canary Islands, westbound gets warm around the Canary's.  Have found the ships crew is more laid back and friendlier on longer trips, average age of cruisers is 60+ in my observations.  I have found the westbound formal nights much dresser than the eastbound,  lot's of Brits, Norwegians and Germans going west and they seem to love getting dressed up.  Always 1/2 a dozen or so Scots in Kilts on formal night.  Even the eastbound was far dressier than a Caribbean sailing.  We are on the Nov 1 TA Barcelona to Miami  Allure of the Seas after the 2 month refurb, hope to sea you onboard,  We are in our late 60's.. 

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7 minutes ago, taglovestocruise said:

We have done 5 transatlantics  and have number 6 booked.  Love the sea days and ports are last thought.  We have done small medium and large ships.  Three Oasis class and a 4th coming up in Nov.  The Oasis class are our favorite, plenty to do and a mega ship with no kids.  West bounds seem to be warmer and we like the 6  25 hour days as opposed to 23 hour days going east.  All have been from  Rome, Southampton or Barcelona.  Have never had a Suite but always get deck 10 or 12 Oceanview balcony, warm enough on the balcony at least 12 of 14 days. One thing to consider is that eastbound starboard or westbound port gets the sun all day, sun never makes it over the top of the ship. One of the great things about a TA is that they are usually the same price as a 7 night cruise, plus airfare is very reasonable with oneway Lax to Barcelona running around $300.00. We just started looking at airfare for our Nov. trip and prices oneway are as low as $232 on Norwegian air shuttle non stop.  Dinner menus are pretty much repeated in MDR, we usually get a 5 night package or a 3 and a 5,  have never purchased the ultimate dinner package. Eastbound gets cold around the Canary Islands, westbound gets warm around the Canary's.  Have found the ships crew is more laid back and friendlier on longer trips, average age of cruisers is 60+ in my observations.  I have found the westbound formal nights much dresser than the eastbound,  lot's of Brits, Norwegians and Germans going west and they seem to love getting dressed up.  Always 1/2 a dozen or so Scots in Kilts on formal night.  Even the eastbound was far dressier than a Caribbean sailing.  We are on the Nov 1 TA Barcelona to Miami  Allure of the Seas after the 2 month refurb, hope to sea you onboard,  We are in our late 60's.. 

This is GREAT information!

Thank you for sharing!

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We are taking our first transatlantic cruise.  I went ahead and upgraded to a cabin that included access to the thermal spa on the Norwegian Getaway.  We are traveling from NYC to Rome in mid-April.   I wanted someplace quiet to hang out with so many scheduled days at sea.  From my research, it does not appeat that the weather will be warm enough to hang out around the general pool area.

 

The end of the cruise is very port intensive.  I'm trying to balance 6 days of relaxation at sea followed by long days/potential tours in eight different cities.    I am suffering from "as long as we are going to be there" syndrome and have likely overscheduled us.   Building on this same theme I've add another 8 days in Italy after we disembark in Rome - five on the Amalfi coast and a few in Rome before flying home -"as long as we are going to be there"  LOL.   I'm a bit out of control but a long term project I have been working on for five years is ending and I'm making some professional changes at that time.   I'm viewing this as a once in a lifetime break from corporate life before I have to jump back in again.  

 

My husband hates the long transatlantic flights.  Cruising seems like such a nice way to get to Europe if personal circumstances allow.  Not thrilled about the loss of an hour each day as we sail over but we will adjust.   I already booked our specialty dining and it is my habit to book the early times. I'm rethinking this secondary to the time change.   

 

Looking forward to others thoughts, tips and insights about this type of cruising.   

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We ve booked our first TA for this April with the MSC Preziosa from Martinique to Hamburg (Germany).
We will travel with our Kids (10 and 12) and we like Seadays and reading books or playing games together.

No experience with TAs, its our first.

We ve booked a Suite in the Yacht Club, so better food an better Service for the 15 days.

 

Once in my life I will do a TA with the Queen Mary 2, I have done some sailings from Germany to GB with her, but never a TA.

 

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We’ve done two TA’s, one eastbound on QM2 (May 2016) and one westbound on Holland America Koningsdam. (Oct 2019). I remember on the QM2 it was referred to as a “crossing”. It was a nonstop run from NYC to Southampton. When we first got on the ship in NY, we were surprised that all the deck chairs were tied down, and it seemed like there were no typical deck activities. After one day, it was apparent why. There was 24/7 fog, damp, cold weather. We had booked the cheapest room available and were essentially looking at it as transportation to Europe. I was impressed with the stability of the ship in moderately rough seas. I remember my wife was happy with some of the activities, especially watercolor classes. I won a little bit playing blackjack. I’d do it again if the price was right, but with the understanding it was different than a typical cruise.

Last fall, we booked a westbound TA on Koningsdam from Civitavecchia(Rome). This was our third Holland cruise, so we had an idea what to expect. There isn’t the same emphasis on “festivities” as with Royal/Princess or even Celebrity. We really enjoyed the ports, especially Madeira, beautiful island. We also found our favorite bartender from previous Holland cruise, and spent some enjoyable happy hours at his bar. Also really enjoyed BB King club, but there wasn’t much main showroom that we found enjoyable. Met lots of interesting fellow passengers, and booked another for fall 2020!

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Well - I see that a dedicated TA/TP board has been added - nice!

We have sailed 3 eastbound TAs and 2 westbound TAs. We have an eastbound to Rome booked this May. My extended family enjoy the sea days - me, not so much.  However, I find a TA cruise much less stressful than a TA flight. Our eastbound TAs become port intensive toward the end of the cruise (which is the part I most enjoy) - our westbounds have visited the Caribbean - a nice respite from our much cooler climate (Colorado) in November  (when our western cruises have culminated).

We always spend time in Europe at the culmination of our eastbound cruises - usually 2 to 3 weeks. This affords a nice amount of time in which to explore a part of Europe in which we are interested.

Interesting to see all the outside poolside deck chairs occupied (and/or at a premium) on departing FLL or MIA - 2 days into the crossing it has been too cold and/or windy to enjoy the outdoor pool. 

I love fresh fruit and find that pickings are rather slim toward the end of the cruise - other than that small issue, food has been good on all of our TAs. 

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So glad Cruise Critic has added this board.  Here are some of our insights from east and west bound transatlantics and a transpacific from Seattle to Australia.

 

East or West bound Transatlantic?

This is a hotly debated choice. The advantage of the spring eastbounds are more daylight hours for travel once in Europe and a lesser chance of storm affecting your sailing- either fall hurricanes or Medicanes (hurricane like winds in the Med.)  I just went through one in Dec 2019 and it was quite an adventure!  The Med is more active from Oct. to the winter months. The schools in Rome and Naples were closed because of dangerously high winds. Also, you disembark with your internal clock pretty well set for Europe and you are ready to handle the port intensive European ports.

 

The advantages of westbounds are a few 25 hour days because of the time changes, but in my mind, you will end up losing those hours on the flight back home. Some people think the weather is slightly better on westbounds because the Atlantic is retains some of its summer warmth.

 

I prefer the spring eastbounds because I spend a few weeks in Europe and late spring and early May are great times to be in Europe. We had 70 degree days in England, Copenhagen, and Sweden in early May!

 

We have only traveled west on a transpacific in the fall. There were rogue waves that cause my one and only experience with being seasick and that was a day out of Seattle. Even an officer told me that was his first time with seasickness, so it was rough- pitching, rolling, and swirling. The rest of the 23 day sailing had lovely, sunny weather.

 

Weather:

This is a frequent question on CC?  What kind of weather can you expect?  And the answer is: no one can predict, but most folks will tell you their sailing across the ocean was like glass and very comfortable in either direction.  Of course, anyone who has gone through a patch of the more tempestuous weather will tell you it was an uncomfortable day or two. Our five transatlantics generally enjoyed very nice weather on the Atlantic and provided many days of sunning for the passengers. 

 

The captain usually has at least one day built into the crossing where he can circumvent storms. They usually choose to move at a comfortable speed for better fuel consumption,but can speed up if necessary.

 

The situation in the Mediterranean was different. We would have been a day late for arriving in Rome if the ship made its final stop in Crete, so that port was skipped. The captain needed those hours to handle the approaching storm. We sailed at a slower speed right through the storm as we approached the Straits of Messina which were threatening to close to ship traffic. It was quite an experience. The outer decks were closed for the day, the buffet was closed for hours on the worst day, and the elevators were even stopped for a short while. Only one of our friends had any sign of seasickness. We ate in the MDR (those poor waiters!) and played games all afternoon. The evening show was cancelled because it would have been too dangerous for the performers. 

 

Bottom line: would I hesitate to go on another transatlantic or transpacific because of these experiences?  Not at all, but I obviously don't have big problems with nausea when the ship is rocking and rolling. I sympathize with those who do. BTW- the only time I ever took precautions was on my first cruise, but I soon discovered I didn't need them. When I was seasick on the Transpacific, I was given seasickness meds at the customer service. They were handing them out like tic tacs (they like their carpeting.) 

Also, keep in mind that the three  days I experienced significant ship movement were out of almost a hundred total sailing days where the vast majority were lovely.

 

Seasickness patches, prevention meds and seabands seem to help people who suffer from seasickness. 

Please add your experiences which might be much different than mine. 

 

 

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Some terrific answers here already! 

Regarding cabin choice I think whatever you usually like is the best guideline.

There are strings of At-Sea days, so knowing how you spend your time with At-Sea days may be a guide. If you spend a lot of time on our balcony or in your room you need that. As someone who is comfortable without a balcony i wouldn't upgrade on a TA. I've found that sometimes balconies are too sunny/other times too cool. I prefer to go up to the decks that i can move from spot to spot to take advantage of the best location for me at any particular time. But i realize many really cant think of cruising without the balcony. 

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Hello Everyone.

 

we have done one or two transatlantics a year since 2009. We love the sea days. i find that this type of cruise is more relaxing than the port extensive cruise, i get to enjoy the ship, read, enjoy my stateroom and of course the Spa Thermal suite. We are currently on the NCL Jade transatlantic out of Rome this year 2020. After 4 years doing big ships is nice to go back to a smaller one. Transatlantics are not for everyone, in fact, i find a lot of complainers, bored with the sea days and i say to myself what did they expect? is a Transatlantic...LOL...

 

 

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Our first TA was retirement present to ourselves.  Love Barcelona as embarkation point - easy city to spend 3-4 days precruise on your own.  Then easy embarkation port.  The ship was RC Brilliance which went all out to make it fun.  Excellent entertainment was brought on board, outstanding CD Clo kept us entertained.  Plenty of activity and once we on the sea days stretch it turned into a “coming to America party” theme.  Seas were amazingly calm the entire trip.  We did clear US immigration in San Juan so it was a simple disembarkation in Tampa.  Can’t wait for our next one - B2B transpacific from Sydney to Vancouver.

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What is the daily program schedule for multiple sea days in a row on a trans oceanic Cruise

Sent from my Lenovo K8 Note using Tapatalk

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We have been on five TAs, on a Tp and several long cruises. One component for a great trip is a great roll call. We often do several private  port excursions with them, meet for dinner, and play games and cards on sea days. So, join that roll call!

 

These types of cruises are different as most cruise lines try a bit harder to add more mature activities. You likely won't find belly flip contests.

😁

  The wonderful and dashing Polish captain, Marek Slaby, hosted an eight day chopped competition in sea days. He joined the band to play his electric guitar.

 

The CD usually adds more dance classes, games and activity on sea days. All this is variable. NCL doesn't have lecturers while some others do.

 

The next suggestion isn't for everyone, but many longer cruises have Bible study and fellowship groups started and run by passengers. We have many  fond memories of these, and one had people overflowing into the hallway. Some groups run the Sunday service. Some cruise lines pay a priest to say daily mass but this is becoming rarer. Protestants do it for free and Jews also run their own services. Sometimes these are posted in the daily.

 

 

Edited by Markanddonna

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great info! after the starboard eastern comment and sunshine, realized am on port side for an eastern crossing and I love my sunshine, even a little.  May consider moving my room

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21 hours ago, mismal said:

great info! after the starboard eastern comment and sunshine, realized am on port side for an eastern crossing and I love my sunshine, even a little.  May consider moving my room

I would go so far as to say an Eastbound Transatlantic in the Spring with a Balcony on the Port (North) side would be grim.

Nary a soul lounging on Portside on the Promenade Deck that I ever recall. It can be windy especially near Straits of Gibraltar or in the North Atlantic. Not much scenery...

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Lots of great info on this forum!  We have done many cruises, but never a TA. I finally convinced my hubby that we should take one. We are doing a Westbound from Lisbon to Miami in October and an Eastbound - Ft Lauderdale to Amsterdam in April 2021. After reading some of your comments I changed our cabin to Starboard side on the Eastbound TA.  We are very excited about our TA adventures and hoping for smooth sailing and sunny skies.  Thank you for great information.

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We're dong another TA in Oct. (our first was in 2016 - Barcelona to Cape Canaveral) There are different things to do on the TA's - and yes, there were lectures on the NCL ship we were on (Epic).  It was a 4 day series, and was very interesting. There was a *knitting* club for folks who liked to craft everyday, it was nice to just go and chat. I met several women in there that I am friends with to this day. On our sailing, the waters were like glass everyday. Hoping we have the same calm seas for the one we'll be on in Oct. (on the Escape) I enjoy not having a bunch of children running around, it's just a more laid back, relaxed cruise. Lots of Irish, and British citizens, again, we made some really good friends from across the pond! I personally love them, and would do them more often if I could. You can have your laundry done halfway through the cruise so you don't have to pack as much.

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We have booked our first transatlantic April 2021 (Ft. Lauderdale to Amsterdam).   Following along and appreciate all of the information.  Now I have to go check and see if I booked the starboard side.

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2 hours ago, shefie123 said:

We have booked our first transatlantic April 2021 (Ft. Lauderdale to Amsterdam).   Following along and appreciate all of the information.  Now I have to go check and see if I booked the starboard side.

 

Thank goodness for the information here, right? I had just booked my first TA, on NCL Escape's April 2021 NYC-Southhampton trip, in a Studio cabin since I thought there was no point to having a balcony. And then I realized that I wanted a balcony after all! A little reading of CC, and then I called NCL to make the switch into a starboard balcony.

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We have booked our first TA cruise Barcelona to New York. The airfare I have found so far is shockingly HIGH! I believe it is because I am searching one way tickets. Who have you used in the past to get to Barcelona? 

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I am doing this in June.  AA typically is the cheapest one way.  Delta seems to want to base it on RT.

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So great to see this board.  I'm a big fan of TA cruises because I absolutely love sea days.  I also feel that these cruises give you the best opportunity to experience everything a ship has to offer.  I've sailed on 5 so far.  3 on the Disney Magic and 2 on NCL, the Epic and Escape.  I have my 6th coming up in April on the Sebourn Quest.  This will also be my first solo cruise.  Super excited.

 

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So great to see this board.  I'm a big fan of TA cruises because I absolutely love sea days.  I also feel that these cruises give you the best opportunity to experience everything a ship has to offer.  I've sailed on 5 so far.  3 on the Disney Magic and 2 on NCL, the Epic and Escape.  I have my 6th coming up in April on the Sebourn Quest.  This will also be my first solo cruise.  Super excited

Seabourne and Disney are really expensive. Were they value for money

 

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22 minutes ago, drsel said:

Seabourne and Disney are really expensive. Were they value for money

 

 

Disney's Transatlantic repositioning cruises used be a great value, now as they've become more popular the prices have gone up quite a bit.  I did those in 2007, 2013 and 2014 with my daughters when they were tweens and teens.  

I got really lucky with Seabourn and they were offering a reasonable (to me at least) priced Solo Verandah GTY for this cruise.   

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