Why crossing the sea by cruise is 'the perfect antidote to today’s harried, constantly connected lifestyle'

There’s something Old World about sailing on a transatlantic cruise, as maritime customs often include dressing up for dinner, enjoying afternoon tea with views of the horizon, stargazing, and mingling with fellow guests who share a common affinity for long sailings and a love of the sea.

Transatlantic cruising is a vacation option that can offer value as well as several back-to-back days to unwind at sea while enjoying world-class service and enriching activities.

We’ve spoken to travelers who share why they choose transatlantic sailings and why you should too.

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Elegance meets experience

When sailing on a transatlantic crossing the luxury of time is the greatest vacation perk.

“With seven nights at sea across the North Atlantic and no port calls in between, it is truly a unique experience,” said Jackie Chase, a spokesperson with Cunard, a British cruise line. “It’s also the perfect antidote to today’s harried, constantly connected lifestyle, and guests can remove themselves from their everyday schedule and use the time away to work on one’s craft or creative expression, which for some is a necessary luxury.”

To promote relaxation, Chase explains that the transatlantic crossing has evolved from getting across the ocean as fast as possible to slowing down, getting away from life, relaxing and existing without stress. There are even theme cruises to choose from.

According to Chase, Cunard’s signature voyage is the Transatlantic Crossing as they are the only line to offer regularly scheduled passenger service across the Atlantic.

Queen Elizabeth is a 2,081-passenger cruise ship operated by Cunard Lines, a historic passenger shipping company that thrives today as a subdivision of the vast Carnival Corp.
Queen Elizabeth is a 2,081-passenger cruise ship operated by Cunard Lines, a historic passenger shipping company that thrives today as a subdivision of the vast Carnival Corp.

MaryBeth Kardos of Seattle said she prefers the transatlantic sailings because it’s less hassle and she enjoys the downtime.

“While flying is a great way to get from point A to B, I’m not a fan of the overall chaos of air travel, especially with international flights,” Kardos added. “The airlines and their fine crew do take good care of passengers, and I’ve had many a lovely flight, but I appreciate a choice in travel. With a Crossing, there’s no airport insanity, concerns about checked bags, no jet lag. Many times, you can take a transatlantic voyage for a similar cost of an international first or business class plane ticket.”

She also said she likes the freedom to be as busy or as relaxed as she’d like. While some travelers may prefer port days, sea days are Kardos’ preference.

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“Sea days are the ‘weekend’ for cruise travelers,” Kardos explained. “The possibilities abound, with a world of opportunities, all you have to do is choose. You can stay in bed late and do a crossword or read a book. Or get up and run the deck or hit the gym. You can be pampered with a spa day. Do brunch or high tea with friends or new acquaintances, then take a lesson or go to a movie or lecture.”

In the evenings, guests can indulge in amazing drink, cuisine, and entertainment, comfortably knowing “home” is only a few decks away, no ride-share needed, she said.

“And the happy news is, on a transatlantic crossing, you have many days to choose how you want to spend your time and can do something different every single day," Kardos continued. "There's no pressure, it's a practice in letting go. And for me, and many other busy professionals, it’s the perfect getaway."

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Transatlantic history repeating itself

Holland America Line is celebrating its 150th Anniversary on April 18, and to mark this milestone, the cruise line will sail two commemorative transatlantic crossings on Oct. 15 and April 4.

In addition, there are also regularly-scheduled Holland America Line transatlantic voyages.

Jan Yetke of Naperville, Illinois, has sailed on more than ten Holland America Line “World Cruises” over the years.

She says she appreciated the opportunity to relax while sailing and to meet old friends that they’ve met at sea before.

During sea days, Yetke and her husband keep busy but enjoy the relaxing vibe on board.

“My husband reads, and we both walk the decks for fresh air,” Yetke said. “I often meet up with others to crochet, and we both enjoy fellow cruisers' company in the afternoons. Many of us know each other, so it’s nice to enjoy each other’s company. At night there’s a group of eight of us that dine together too.”

To make the most of your voyage, Yetke recommends looking at the activities that take place on a cruise while at sea.

“Make sure you are going to enjoy them and everything that you can do,” Yetke added. “Take part and share, and you will have a wonderful experience.”

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A cruising expert’s recommendation

Colleen McDaniel, a spokesperson with Cruise Critic, sailed a seven-night crossing on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 in June, from New York to Southampton.

While she said a sea-intensive itinerary might not be for everyone, “I’d be willing to bet people sailing a transatlantic cruise would enjoy it more than they expected,” McDaniel added.

“On my last transatlantic cruise it was hard to fit everything in – we never really wanted for anything because there was so much going on simultaneously that we could pick and choose to our heart’s content,” McDaniel said. “Cruise lines really do focus on making sure those days don’t feel long and monotonous – and they do a fantastic job at that.”

Transatlantic sailings, aside from just the chance to recharge and take in incredible sea views, can be a wonderful way to travel for people who aren’t entirely keen on flying – particularly abroad, McDaniel added.

“If you’re traveling with a dog and prefer not to fly with them, another perk specific to Cunard transatlantic sailings is that they have incredible onboard kennels,” she said.

Another benefit could be the value.

Because many transatlantic sailings are repositioning cruises for lines, when they’re moving their ship from one part of the world to another for a new season of sailings, McDaniel said prices can also be lower than a more traditional cruise. That said, repositioning sailings, she explained, are traditionally priced to sell, and people do grab them up quickly.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Transatlantic cruises boast relaxing sea days, time to enjoy the ship