And now the age old question of how to get from A to B. We’re headed from the USA to Europe, and one would think with our strong historical and economic ties that finding a way over the pond would not be such a hassle. Nevertheless, we’re finding it a bit of a pain to get from the East Coast of America to the West Coast of Europe without stepping foot in an airplane.
Booking Websites: There are literally hundreds of websites dedicated to helping you find amazing cruise deals, but they would not be in business if they were not making money off of the bookings. In general, we found the services to be almost useless. You could use your generic expedia or orbitz, but they rarely return any real deals, and pretty much just summarize what you’d find by doing the looking yourself.
It is amazing how the internet, which simply has not been around that long, has replaced an entire occupation– travel agents. I would adore calling someone on the phone and giving them my desired departure dates and a budget and seeing what they come up with. Essentially, websites like travelocity make their occupation futile and redundant and I find that sad because travel agents were such amazing people with their own personal experiences backing up their advice and bookings. I guess travel blogging and booking online are somewhat similar.
Cruises: Usually repositioning cruises take place in the spring or fall, when ships need to move between warm water in winter and active tourism ports in summer. That means taking a transatlantic in the middle of the summer will not leave a whole lot of options. For cruise companies, the money is in the Bahamas and Mediterranean. You can find more info on this amazing blog post about the top ten cruise blogs. You can also find some help on My Cruise News.
Airlines: So, if cruises cost too much, should we fly? Flying across the Atlantic isn’t exactly affordable either! Flights are running a mere $100 to $200 less than a 7 night, all inclusive cruise. That seems like a no brainer to me, considering the available R&R on the ship versus the tedium and stress of flying. Airlines are quickly making themselves an unaffordable product, lets hope alternatives like ship travel are increased to take up the slack! A quick tip- you can often find cheaper flights if you book through a European website rather than an American one.
Freighters: One of the innovative areas in travel that has taken up some of the slack is freighter travel. We’ve looked into this pretty extensively. You can go through several sites like the following: www.freighter-travel.com; www.freighterworld.com; and www.freighter-travel-review.com or try to find a freighter leaving by contacting your departure port. Most freighters can only take between 2-12 passengers and have age and health restrictions. The average cost is about $100 a day, and transatlantic crossings take a minimum of 9 days in most cases (making the cost nearly equivalent to cruising). However, if you have the money and lots of time, you can see some exotic ports and have a relaxing and casual cruising experience.
So, thats the skinny on our options of getting from America to Europe. I’m still hoping Cunard will call me and offer me a free cruise for saying how wonderful they are. They are so wonderful, utterly delightful and fantastic. . . . . I’ll be waiting by the phone.