Before air travel, cruise ships were the only option for getting from one side of the ocean to the other. Although trans-Atlantic cruises may no longer be necessary, they're still available for those wanting to experience a bit of the way things used to be while crossing in first class. Most of these cruises are seven to eight nights between New York or Boston and Southampton, England, usually with a port of call on either side and a full five or six sea days in a row. Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 is the only ship that offers regular crossings year-round, while other ships do a handful of Atlantic crossings a year, sometimes as part of repositioning cruises.
What We Love
Pace: With no scrambling to book shore excursions or to get on and off the ship, it’s a lovely opportunity to actually slow down.
No Jet Lag: With the gradual sailing through five time zones day by day, you won’t feel the sudden impact of a five- or six-hour time change like you do when you fly.
Best Known For
Lectures: Cruise lines bring in top authors, diplomats, entertainers, and other experts who present lectures or performances on sea days. These special guests often dine with passengers and attend cocktail parties as well.
Nostalgia: Taking a trans-Atlantic crossing today, especially on the Queen Mary 2, is an opportunity to travel as wealthy folks did in the early 20th century, complete with ballroom dancing and elegant dining.
Shop for Cruises
Santa Cruz, Tenerife: Drives around this mountainous volcanic island reveal stunning scenery in all directions.
Halifax, Nova Scotia: Halifax is easy to get around and full of fun things to do, from viewing the Titanic artifacts and ship models at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to visiting Pier 21, Halifax’s version of Ellis Island.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Be Prepared for Choppy Seas: When crossing the North Atlantic — in the winter especially — you will likely encounter some rough water. On spring crossings, in contrast, the water may be like glass, without a ripple.
Heidi Sarna is a Singapore-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Condé Nast Traveler and USA Today.