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Old September 9th, 2006, 07:18 PM
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Default Transatlantic Cruises

What are some thoughts on these trips? Is the weather better in the spring or fall? Are their too many sea days? Any special events on board? What are the crowds like? Any difference in the crew's attitude during repositioning? What about booking the last cruise before or after the trip as well?
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Old September 9th, 2006, 10:44 PM
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selctsys,

What are some thoughts on these trips?

Overall, they are one of the best deals on the sea. You typically get to cruise for fourteen nights for the normal fare for a cruise half that length in the Caribbean. You also get to visit some very unusual destinations like Malaga, Gibraltar, Cadiz, Casablanca, Lisboa, Ponta del Gada, Funchal, Tenerife, Rekyavik, and Quarquatok, depending upon the line and itinerary that you choose.

Is the weather better in the spring or fall?

It doesn't really matter, as these cruises generally take routes that are sufficiently southerly to avoid really bad weather and associated rough seas. They also have enough time in transit to go around a hurricane, if that becomes necessary.

Are their too many sea days?

No. There are too few. The time at sea allows opportunity for fantastic series of enrichment lectures and a variety of other activities that simply are not possible on other itineraries. On my last two transatlantic cruises, for example, John Maxtone Graham presented a series of lectures on the heritage of the great ocean liners that drew consistent raves from everybody who attended them. There are also opportunities for "behind the scenes" tours of the ship's facilities that are not possible on itineraries that have very few days at sea. It's also likely that the cruise and shop staffs will conspire to put on various fashion shows during the cruise.

Any special events on board?

Yes. See above.

What are the crowds like?

These itineraries are seldom crowded because many inexperienced cruisers won't book them due to misgivings not too different from yours. The overwhelming majority of passengers tend to be experienced cruisers who have spent enough days at sea to understand just how wonderful those days at sea really are. Nonetheless, I have met "first timers" on transatlantic cruises -- most of whom had fascinating stories. For example, I met a French couple on my first transatlantic cruise who were on their way to Florida to spend the winter there. They said it was their first cruise, and that they decided to try the cruise because it was less expensive than flying.

Any difference in the crew's attitude during repositioning?

They may be somewhat less stressed, partly because their routine is more stable with fewer days in port that require adjustments and partly because the ship might not be full.

What about booking the last cruise before or after the trip as well?

I have not done that, but go for it if you have the time! You certainly won't be the only passenger to do so.
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Old September 10th, 2006, 12:23 PM
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Brought the brand new "Vision of the Seas" over the "Route of the Vikings" in '98 plus three Pacific "repositioning cruises" involving Hawaii. Also booked on the "Navigator" in April '07 to cross the pond. I think a veteran cruiser probably enjoys them more because you really need to enjoy the "down time" of the sea days. They can be hectic with passengers needing to be entertained but we just relax and enjoy the shipboard experience. Rather than book a back-to-back cruise, my suggestion would be to upgrade your cabin since, as mentioned, the prices are greatly reduced. Balconies may not have much to look at but check out the prices on a suite to indulge yourselves on those sea days!
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Old September 10th, 2006, 06:05 PM
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Two great replies! You both have confirmed my intuition regarding these cruises. It seems that these transoceanic trips are some of the best deals available. Unfortunately the timing is a bit off as we have school age kids which complicates the logistics.

I totally agree that sea days are great. We'll be on the Navigator of the Seas next summer in July doing a med trip out of Southhampton. This cruise has 4 sea days and also picks up a couple of the ports mentioned by Rev22:17 - Lisbon, Gibrartar - that you don't see on a typical med cruise by Royal Caribbean. Actually most of the ports are new to us on this trip which is one reason why we booked this particular itinerary.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 06:20 AM
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We took Brillance of the Seas from Miami to Barcelona in May '05. We hit a Cat. 3 hurricane in the middle of the Atlantic - one of the scariest things I've ever been through . This cruise was a 40th bday present from my hubby - we traveled with my 5 year old daughter. Let me just say that I felt like a baby on this cruise. There were only 6 other children and the average age of everyone else was 75. I was told by the staff that Transatlantic/Oceanic cruises usually get a geriatric crowd - because typically they are retired and can take 14 - 16 day vacations - most working folks cannot. It was a nice trip - but my daughter had hardly anyone to play with and I really felt like I was on a floating retirement home. Based on my experience I would not recommend a cruise like this to a family with children.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 01:00 PM
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To be brutally honest, the LACK of children is also part of the allure for my 56 year old, retired self. We started out with the shorter cruises but quickly learned to appreciate the perks of longer trips where families fear to tread! But my advice still stands, if you ever can work it out, transatlantic is a nice place to enjoy a reduced priced upgrade.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 10:59 PM
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YOU may enjoy the lack of children but I believe the person who posted said "school age kids". I stand behind my opinion - if you have children a transatlantic cruise is probably not your best option. If I was 56 and had no children traveling with me I would LOVE a transatlantic cruise - but as a mother of a 5 year old I felt isolated and unwelcomed by most of the guests - they clearly did not want children traveling with them.
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Old September 15th, 2006, 07:00 PM
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I'm curious about the seas? Are they rougher than is usually
experienced in the Caribbean...the highest seas we've had
were from Acapulco to Panama Canal and I believe the highest
were 10 - 12 feet.
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Old September 15th, 2006, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbie H
To be brutally honest, the LACK of children is also part of the allure for my 56 year old, retired self. We started out with the shorter cruises but quickly learned to appreciate the perks of longer trips where families fear to tread! But my advice still stands, if you ever can work it out, transatlantic is a nice place to enjoy a reduced priced upgrade.
I don't think it is much fear as money and time. Traveling with a family of 4 doubles the cost of the trip compared to a couple and the transatlantic crossing times are not during school breaks. Finally, most people with school age people are working and have difficultygetting the time off themselves.
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Old September 16th, 2006, 07:41 AM
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Lou,

The Atlantic can be calm but also quite rough. The westbound sailing in September 1998 on the VI described by Robbie H above was a bit bumpy. So was the eastbound one in May last year on the BR as mentioned by makeupdiva. The westbound on EN back in 1997 also had high waves and strong winds. These are just a few examples, but many more with calm seas. As for high waves, I have experienced wave heights of 70 ft on some crossings.
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Old September 16th, 2006, 10:22 AM
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Thanks Roland, I don't think Transatlantic voyages are
for me, as the possibility of 70' seas would make me
very uncomfortable. I don't think I could take enough
Dramamine to keep me from being sick.

I can't imagine how a ship behaves in such seas. From
previous post, how could RCI and the captain not know
they were travelling into a cat 3 hurricane?
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Old September 16th, 2006, 01:10 PM
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Don´t thank me Lou. The transatlantics are mostly wonderful sailings and it was not my intention to scare you off. Only to tell you that once in a while they can be a bit uncomfortable if you don´t love the sea.
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Old September 16th, 2006, 03:40 PM
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A bit bumpy Roland??? , they would only admit to 50' PLUS waves...but we were in the minority that LOVED that particular 24-36 hours or so. We would do it again in a heartbeat!

I do agree the posters need to be informed, but not afraid of it, as the "Vison" held up very well considering. And I always appreciate your knowledge & experience about these things.
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Old September 16th, 2006, 03:47 PM
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I belonged to that "minority" Robbie H and I have always loved rough seas. If you want another bumpy crossing you should perhaps try the NV next year. Leif Bang seems to attract heavy seas.
Also, thanks for your kind words
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Old September 16th, 2006, 06:59 PM
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Roland: I do love the sea, but I know I would not love
it in the conditions you've experienced.

Can you even describe to those of us who are used to
the calm Caribbean, what to expect in 50-70' seas?
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Old September 17th, 2006, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou
Roland:
Can you even describe to those of us who are used to
the calm Caribbean, what to expect in 50-70' seas?

It is impossible to make sweeping statements, since so many different factors will affect the experience. How the ship is built, how large it is, relative wind direction, water temperature etc. What is sure, is that you will feel heavy motion, whether it is pitch and/or roll. And in real bad weather, stabilizers don´t help much.
What can happen and do happen from time to time is that portholes and/or windows break, that flooding may occur in exposed areas, just to name a few incidents. As a possible result of above, there may be broken limbs on some guests. This is in fact not unusual due to the fact that guests on transatlantics are usually older than in eg. Caribbean waters. What has happened for the same reason is that guests suffer heart failure and even die.
Now again, I will not dissuade anyone from going on a transatlantic cruise. You get a big bang from the buck and if you love the sea, they are some of the best. And –with good or bad weather- as I use to say:
“Days at Sea are Days at Peace?.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 11:33 AM
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Lou; I have recounted our crossing in '98 several times on here but since you asked.... "Vision" did lose a porthole on the deck below us and we were up front since we took an "oceanview gurantee." I think we were on deck 4, port side. Was told she also received some complexion damage to her bow area. The storms we hit were between Iceland and Canada and we couldn't get away from them. I felt like we were on a big surfboard as the Captain "set up" to sride the sets of waves. Obviously we were locked down and they even closed the "Windjammer" for a time. Motion sickness bags were placed everywhere throughout the public areas and some people slept in the public areas in their life jackets. I do have a fear of drowning BUT I really do have faith in these ships/crew.

And we are booked on the eastbound NV Roland! Not sure if we can go now but trying to work it in.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 11:40 AM
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Guess I'm a wimp, but even the possibility of being in
such a storm or high waves deters me from booking
a Transatlantic cruise....otherwise it would be a perfect
cruise for me...lots of sea days!
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Old September 18th, 2006, 11:53 AM
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Hope you can make it RH, but April is one of the worst months for me due to my work!
/R




Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbie H
And we are booked on the eastbound NV Roland! Not sure if we can go now but trying to work it in.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 01:42 PM
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Roland,

As for high waves, I have experienced wave heights of 70 ft on some crossings.

These waves sound like the fish that got away... and that get bigger with every telling of the story.... and such occurrances are most assuredly the root of the expression "sea story"....

Norm.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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Lou,

Guess I'm a wimp, but even the possibility of being in
such a storm or high waves deters me from booking
a Transatlantic cruise....otherwise it would be a perfect
cruise for me...lots of sea days!


Didn't you notice the soreness in your leg???

He's pulling it!

Seriously, no cruise ship is about to venture into seventy foot seas -- and that's if one can find severty foot seas into which to venture. Even the notoriously rough seas of the North Atlantic rarely gets worse than thirty feet or so during the rough season.

That said, I do have to agree that rough seas are great fun! Remember how you complained, as a kid, when your favorite carnival ride stopped after five minutes? Well, rough seas are just what you always wanted -- a carnival ride that lasts for several days!

That said, the reality is that cruise lines are well aware that many passengers are "landlubbers" who hae little tolerance for motion. Thus, the practical reality is that all cruise lines are going to send their ships where the waters are calm. Cruise ships will do anything to avoid a real strom -- even if it means an extre three or four days at sea to go around the weather system.

Norm.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 02:32 PM
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Reminds of me of when I was a teenager and my Dad had a 25' boat. We were never out in severe seas, but I was always sitting on the bow, hanging on, wishing the waves were higher. Living on the gulf coast, only in the worst of hurricanes do I NOT find excitement in a storm. Sweet memories!
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Old September 18th, 2006, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
These waves sound like the fish that got away... and that get bigger with every telling of the story.... and such occurrances are most assuredly the root of the expression "sea story"....
Norm.
They may sound like sea stories to you. But they are not always "fun", as I think can be verified by Robbie H.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 05:00 PM
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Another question for those "rough riders" out there. I've never experienced rough waves, course, only been on 1 cruise & it was smooth sailing.

Do you like walk down any hall & when the ship rides down a wave you go tumbling forward head over heels? I saw 'Perfect Storm' & can only imagine a cruise ship riding those waves types? (I know, Captain would veer around it, etc).

For you rough riders out there going on a future cruise ? Can you post some pictures or video of what you experienced should you run into bad weather? It sounds like fun....but at a scary risk!!
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Old September 20th, 2006, 04:01 PM
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Unfortunately my video is on the VHS tape that you play with an adapter and I am kind of a "puter maroon." But remember that these prolonged storms are the exception and not the rule. The spray forced up through the anchor holes (sorry, not into sea lingo) would spray the "Viking Crown" windows and was reminiscent of WWII sea movies.
And as for the question about walking, it's more manageable than you might think. The movement is usually slow enough that you can compensate for it but it's like air turbulence in that you do get an occasional wave that likes to throw things around a bit. We saw a dish cart (where they clean up after you in the "Windjammer") lift up and be thrown at an angle and that is when they asked us to leave for our own safety. The ship did rate them as 50 foot waves so no need to exaggerate them. Many "RCI" crew members have spread out to other ships and I still hear that crossing being discussed by crew on various "RCI" ships.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 09:32 PM
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Cassandra,

Do you like walk down any hall & when the ship rides down a wave you go tumbling forward head over heels?

No. Modern cruise ships are long enough to stretch across several waves rather than riding up over each crest and down through each trough in the manner of a small boat. They aslo have stabilizers that compensate for the residual torques that the the ocean might exert on the ship. Thus, they are quite steady even in rough conditoins. If you live in California, you probably felt more motoin in the last earthquake than you will feel aboard a cruise ship in a bad storm.

For you rough riders out there going on a future cruise ? Can you post some pictures or video of what you experienced should you run into bad weather? It sounds like fun....but at a scary risk!!

Yes, it really is fun, but there's no reason for it to be scary because cruise ships are designed to ride out even hurricanes if the need ever arises. Of course, cruise ships do "whatever it takes" to avoid going anywhere near a hurricane or rough seas in the first place because many of their passengers are landlubbers, some of whom would be unsettled even by slight motion.

Norm.
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