I am new to ocean going travel and I wonder if you could help me?
My wife and I are interested in traveling to Europe by ship. We have been doing some research on the internet and so far all we are able to find are "cruises"
that usually include all sorts of wonderful entertainment and dining options
as well as stops in several ports of call. What we are looking for is more in the nature of a simple "crossing" with basic accomidations and meals.
In other words, more like basic transport and less like a sea going vacation.
Is this type of trip still available? If you could help me with this question I would be very grateful.
Thank you for your consideration.
The only vessel which has regularly scheduled transatlantic crossings is Cunard's QE 2 (six days between New York and Southampton).
But don't be misled by the word "cruise". The cruise lines use this word to entice passengers who think they'd be bored silly on an ocean crossing.
And, they throw in a few ports for the same reason. I suggest you first check out individual ships and find one that meets your own personal criteria -- cabins size, quality of food and service, price, and then look at itinerary and the amount of time it takes. All ships, including QE 2, will have entertainment which you can take or leave, as you like. There is still plenty of room for just gazing at sea and watching the world pass by.
QE 2 is traditional, but the ship is really three classes, depending on the cabin category you want. And, in the lower categories, the cabins are miniscule. If you do book this ship, be sure to ask your agent about the square footage of different categories.
I suggest you consider newer ships, where cabins are all standard in size and amenities -- nearly always much larger than those aboard QE 2 -- and you'll dine on the food everone else has. Princess, Holland America and Crystal would be high on my personal list.