When most people think of cruising, several generalities come to mind. Destinations like the Caribbean or Mediterranean and cruising from port to port with a few stops along the way to explore and buy souvenirs. But there’s another option – taking a Transatlantic cruise with its mystique, romance, and luxury. Granted, you need several weeks to enjoy the voyage, but armed with a little Transatlantic cruise advice, it’s easy to have a luxe grand crossing.
There is much more to cruising than ports, beaches, and tourist stops. This is especially true when it comes to a transatlantic crossing. Sailing across the Atlantic conjures up thoughts of dressing up for dinner, leisurely days enjoying cocktails on deck, and evenings full of wonderful music, an orchestra, and maybe even a Broadway star or two. Then there’s the food that is carefully prepared and service second to none. And don’t forget a ship equipped with all the bells and whistles and suites that are finely appointed with the best linens and a soft blanket to wrap up in with a glass of champagne on the veranda. True luxury!
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But you may wonder if a transatlantic cruise is right for you. Days on end on a boat with the same people, all strangers to start. What will there be to do for 15 days on a boat? How will we eat at the same restaurants for 15 days? Where will we find luxury in just being on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic? Well, I have been there. These were my exact questions, but I chose to go anyway and I can’t wait to do it again!
I recently spent 14 nights and 15 days with strangers on the Regent Seven Sea Cruises Explorer and loved each and every minute of it! Let me set the stage. The Regent Explorer is a luxury cruise ship with a capacity of 750 passengers, but honestly it feels like way less. Each suite has a balcony and is simply beautiful. The ship is just over a year old, has seven dining areas, four bars, and offers high tea each day. There is a casino, theatre, a pool on the 11th deck, and to top it off, a Canyon Ranch Spa with its own beautiful pool. Basically, it is luxury on steroids floating across the Atlantic.
When I returned, I thought about what tips I could share that would make your t ransatlantic cruise a luxe grand crossing. Here’s the advice I came up with.
Packing – Transatlantic Cruise Advice
Pack what you want so that you can switch it up and be ready for any sort of weather or fun. Being on a ship for two or more sea days in a row, you never know what will happen. Both the activities and weather can change in a heartbeat. Pack for warm and cold weather so you can get outside and enjoy the fresh air, whether sitting on your veranda or on deck. I like to layer it up so I can take a layer off if the sun is shining, or add one when the breeze is strong.
You can always rely on laundry service or the laundry room to get fresh clothes, but make sure you pack your basics and a few special pieces so you do not get sick of what you have. I truly believe there is no such thing as overpacking and all packing should include an empty bag to bring home what you buy on your journey.
The biggest packing tip for a transatlantic cruise is you may not be able to buy whatever you need, so pack all that you think you need and want. Don’t get me wrong – on the Regent Explorer, you can buy some pretty amazing things. But this way, you don’t have to worry about not having enough closet space in your suite!
Port Days Activities for a Luxe Grand Crossing
There is only one suggestion for the port days on a transatlantic cruise – get off the ship! Take advantage of port days, get your land legs back and enjoy the sites. Many of the ports are ones you may never visit again due to the location and how hard it is to get there. So, get off and explore! But don’t just hit the tourist shops by the ship. Research the locations ahead of time and know what you’d like to see. Take advantage of any tours offered by the ship, too. Oh, and don’t forget to talk to the locals.
Sea Days Activities for a Luxe Grand Crossing
Take sea days anyway you want them. Spend a day doing nothing! I literally spent a day in my cabin, ordered grilled cheese, french fries, and chocolate ice cream, and binge-watched Big Little Liars in bed. I just needed that day!Follow that by a day out of your cabin, spending the time doing it all!
Be sure to check out the daily schedule the night before. I literally mark up the schedule and make a plan. I know it sounds silly, but for me, I need to or I will get lazy and not try something new. I played BINGO, made a habit of being on the top deck to watch every sunrise and sunset, and signed up for cooking classes. I made of point of being at high tea each day and going to the shows at night. Take full advantage of all the ship has to offer.
The spa…ahhhhhh…the spa. Plan spa time. Book treatments that are the specialty of the ship. I also enjoy having my hair blown out one day for dinner. Just relax, try new things, and take care of yourself!
Meet New People – Transatlantic Cruise Advice
When you are on a ship for more than a day, the way you move about the boat and your activities will most likely cause you to run into the same people over and over. You can consider them “like-minded potential friends.” So take advantage of this opportunity to make new friends. Say hi, start a conversation, and make plans to have drinks and/or dinner together. I found a few new friends on this ship who I hope I will be in contact with for years to come. I also spoke with a few people who met each other on other cruises and now plan travel together. Don’t be shy. Strike up a conversation.
There is one tip you need to remember the most: keep your daily rituals on the ship. If you work out everyday, work out. If you eat yogurt everyday, schedule to eat it. A transatlantic cruise is long and there will be lots of relaxing days, but keeping your daily rituals is a must. And yes, that includes bubbly.
Just in case you’re thinking of cruising a little closer to home or not quite ready for a transatlantic voyage, don’t miss these Alaska Cruise Tips.