Re-establishing scheduled trans-atlantic service
Now I've never been to Europe either by this ship or plane. But from what I read, the cost of airfare is going through the roof and it appears to me in some cases, as to at least be getting close to cruising to Europe.
I've a collection of websites devoted to trans atlantic service that for all practicable purposes, ended in the early sixties with the jet liner.
On their return to Europe to live, my brother and sister in law found it cheaper to take a reposition cruise than it was to fly. The cruise was about eight or nine days if I remember correctly.
Why then, don't some of the cruise lines do a scheduled service (say once or twice a month) between the US and at least southern Europe. Instead of leisurely making the route, go direct and do it in say about four days. To my way of thinking, it would appear such a tact would be competitive with a lot of airline service, especially if whomever was travelling was intending to spend at least couple of weeks or so at their European destinations. And even if the cost of sailing would be a bit more, think of the benefits of relaxation and the money the cruise line would make from casinos and other attractions?
The costs to the cruiseline would be much less because the people would be aboard for a much shorter period of time.
Does this sound reasonable or am I out of my gourd.
In closing, for those who are most familiar with today's travelling prices, don't you think that something such as weekly service would be competitive with today's airline prices?
Good question Todd.
Right now Cunard is the only cruise line that has somewhat of a transatlantic service on the QM2.
I do believe that if there was money in it for the cruise lines they would jump on it like a cat on a mouse, or me on a New York steak. :)
I think one of the biggest deterrents for this is one of the same reasons why the cost of airfare is so high. The cost of fuel. Having a repositioning is fine but I believe the cruise lines make little or no money on the fares for these cruises. They make their money when they get to their destination. The Caribbean, Europe, Asia or wherever.
I do believe that if they could make money of them they would but I don't think there is money to be made in transatlantic cruises.
The high cost of airfare is why repositioning transatlantic crossings are so popular. Some of the prices on these are incredibly cheap.
But on more than a few occasions, we've found roundtrip airfare to be cheaper than one-way airfare. Plus, when considering what airport to fly into or out of in Europe, look at several options. Frankfurt is the largest, but you should also look at Paris, Munich, Amsterdam, etc. And while sometimes you can get good airfare flying into Heathrow, flying out is more expensive because of the taxes.
But with train fare being fairly reasonable in Europe and the major airports not too far away from each other, there are often more choices than people think about doing.
And if going out a smaller city, definitely think about trains. For example, we were leaving out of Venice and after researching all the options, it was much cheaper to fly into Munich and take the train than it was to fly into Venice.
I think that Todd has a point. Also, I might add that as more and more new ships are coming out, cruiselines could use their older ships to cross the Atlantic.
It would make sense for retirees who are tired of flying. With today's airline service and airport security flying is no fun at all.
Europeans do round trips
I have met Europeans, mainly Brits on TA who spend winters in Fl. They go back and forth on cruiselines. It also enables them to take more luggage.
O F C'er
The problem is that your cost model essentially falls apart in three ways:
1) You have to get to/from the ship in the United States. If you don't live in one of the few port cities where repos tie up, it's an added cost factor.
2) Unless a cruise line puts on a very robust transatlantic service, you'll only be able to take the ship one way. You'll have to fly the other way in most cases, and that pretty much eliminates any savings on an all-in basis.
3) Any such service that is put in place would be for leisure travelers exclusively. In the heyday of the liners, they were the only game in town so they got business and leisure passengers. Obviously, nobody will take a ship for a business trip today. And not only would it be exclusively for leisure travelers, but it would be almost entirely for leisure travelers with plenty of time. . .in other words, retirees. Get on any repo and count the people under 62. They'd fit in one lifeboat.
Intangibles: Yes, it's fairly easy to travel around Europe by train, and seasoned travelers in Europe are accustomed to flying into one city and doing an open jaw home from another. With ships, your options to build your own itinerary become cramped by having to return to the port city. Plus, compared to airports, there are relatively few port cities that correspond to places people really want to go for more than a 1-day stop. London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam come to mind, and relatively few others. There's no way that all of those ports will be served by regular, frequent TA ships. If it were ever to happen, it would probably be London and/or Paris and that's about it.
But I must also add that we've taken a number of repos and have generally had very nice times. Of course, I'm stunned by the number of people who sail to Europe then get right on the bus to the airport to come home. These, I suppose, are the cruisers who are actually frightened of travel unless it's all inside the cocoon of a ship where "everything's taken care of." There's a certain contingent of "cruise only" people on any ship who are in this category and many of them will tell you so. Plus there's another much smaller group of younger people that only get enough time off to take the cruise but not to do anything else. (Of course, they could've flown to Europe and spent their time there, but they didn't. Even though they "went" to the same place, the only place they really went was the ship). Either way, I think it's a real shame. With the half-dozen or so repos we've taken, we've always planned a European itinerary either before or after the sailing.
Finally, this has to be an idea that every single cruise line has considered, and obviously rejected since it isn't happening. Plus, your premise that air fares are through the roof is open to some question. I know that there's always a lot of moaning and groaning on these boards about them, but they're really not that awful.
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