2013 Transatlantic Cruise Bargains

| Wednesday, 02 Jan. 2013

The Queen Mary 2 is the last true ocean liner

Once upon a time NOT so many years ago and NOT in a land far, far away every person who wanted to visit the old world had travel there by passenger ship. Naturally that changed and today most people cross by jet, but there are many more passenger ship transatlantic crossing options that you may think.

Most of the year you can cross aboard the only modern ocean liner still in service, the Queen Mary 2, but twice a year there are a number of otherwise regular cruise vessels that make the journey as part of their regular routine of changing cruising regions every year.

The name for the journey these ships make is "transatlantic repositioning cruises" and the regular biennial migration between Florida and Europe occurs eastbound (to Europe) every spring and westbound (back to the U.S.) every autumn.

Every year these are among the cheapest cruises possible (priced on a per diem basis), largely because they tend to offer more days on the open sea than days spent anchored in a port of call. Although the Queen Mary 2, the world's only true modern ocean liner, can easily make the journey between New York and England in six days, when the destination is Florida rather than New York then it takes the average cruise ship nine days at sea.

While an inexperienced cruiser may feel that a cruise with more days at sea than in port is a drawback, most regular cruisers considered days at sea to be equally desirable for the extra time they allow just to enjoy the ship.

Are you a fan of transatlantic crossings? Tell us here: Cruise Forum

Various Atlantic Crossing Itineraries

Not all transatlantic cruise itineraries are the same; in fact most are different. Some frontload the cruise with ports of call in the originating cruise region; some do it on the backend of the cruise. For example, next autumn CruiseMates has a transatlantic cruise scheduled upon the brand new Royal Princess. We start in Venice, Italy, where we stay overnight, then we sail to Messina (Sicily), Naples and Rome (Italy), Cannes (France), Barcelona and then after two days at sea we visit the Portuguese island of Madeira, some 400 miles out in the Atlantic ocean.

Seven days at sea later we disembark in Fort Lauderdale. So we get a nice European cruise itinerary in front of a nine-day crossing which is broken up by a singular visit to a remote Atlantic island. It's an 18-day cruise and we have fares as low as $1699 per person. This is Princess Cruises' brand new, most innovative ship yet, and this is one of the lowest prices you are going to see for this brand new ship (which makes it inaugural sailing in June, 2013) all year - on a per diem basis.

Other Transatlantic Cruise Bargains for 2013

Our cruise is on a brand new ship of a unique design, which always makes it more attractive to cruisers. But here are some other transatlantic cruise bargains for 2013 on older and hence less pricey ships. Let's take a look at some of my favorite ships and bargain prices:

Liberty of the Seas 12 Night Eastbound Transatlantic Cruise

Liberty of the Seas' crossing is on sale for as little as $34.91 per day; or $419 per person for an inside stateroom. It sails April 8, 2013, from Fort Lauderdale with eight days at sea, one day in Lisbon (Portugal), Cadiz (Spain) another day at sea and the Barcelona. Oceanview staterooms are $519 and balcony cabins are $849.

Brilliance of the Seas is a brilliant little ship sailing from San Juan (Puerto Rico) to St. Thomas and St Martin before heading north with seven days at sea to arrive in Lisbon Portugal. Yes, she is a fast little ship. The price starts at just $319 per person, or $31 per day, for inside; $449 oceanview and $619 balcony.

Both of these ships have received the "Royal Advantages" upgrades which means they have special restaurants onboard. Liberty of the Seas also has the DreamWorks experience with live characters and 3D movies.

Are you a fan of transatlantic crossings? Tell us here: Cruise Forum

Norwegian Breakaway and Epic

There is another brand new ship coming out this year, Norwegian Breakaway, from Norwegian Cruise Line, which happens to be crossing from Europe to Miami (it is under construction in Papenburg Germany as we speak) in April. This means it will be sailing the opposite direction of most ships next spring. This is a brand new ship, so we shouldn't expect the crossing to be cheap, but you would be getting a preview look at this brand new vessel before the vast majority of travel agents and even media since its inaugural celebration is set to take place after its arrival in New York City on May 8th.

The crossing of Norwegian Breakaway is a simple seven-day sojourn sailing April 30 from Southampton to New York City; inside cabins start at $749, Balconies at $1199, mini-suites at $1499 and studio staterooms an astounding $1549.

However, my guess is that in many ways this ship is going to resemble Norwegian Epic, at least on the inside, the current flagship of the Norwegian fleet, and it so happens that crossings on Norwegian Epic are a real bargain this year:

Norwegian Epic - 11-day Transatlantic to Miami start at $499 or $45 per day (Balcony $749). This cruise starts in Miami and makes only one stop in Madeira before ending in Barcelona.

Holland America

Holland America is one of the classiest cruise lines - especially when it comes to quality surroundings and service at very mainstream prices. There are five Holland America transatlantic cruises this spring season but two of them are still available as real bargains:

MS Noordam 16-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rome. This is a crossing that includes a regular European cruise in the itinerary. It begins March 22 in Fort Lauderdale, has six days at sea before hitting Ponta Delgada (Azores), two more days at sea and then arrival in Lisbon. The ship remains there overnight before sailing at noon for Seville followed by days in Malaga and Cartagena (all in Spain), a day at sea and the landing in Rome on April 7 th.

You can take this 16-day cruise for as little as $699 per person, $799 oceanview, $999 veranda. That comes at to as little as $43 per day, plus you finally land in Rome positioning you for an excellent European vacation, or another cruise. Noordam is one Holland America's Vista-class ships; newer, spacious and with enticing onboard attractions like the movie theater and the Explorations Café.

An even nicer ship is the newer Eurodam, with additional dining options and a cozy atrium. Eurodam sails a 13-day cruise April 6 from Fort Lauderdale to Rome. Along the way stop at Ponta Delgada (Azores), Malaga and Cartagena (Spain), a day at sea and land in Civitavecchia (Rome) on April 19. Inside staterooms are $699, oceanview $899 and veranda $999 per person. ($53/day).

Are you a fan of transatlantic crossings? Tell us here: Cruise Forum

Celebrity Cruises - Eclipse

To show you how prices go up as ships sell out, Celebrity has some transatlantic cruises priced as low as $799 per person, but others are as much as $1149. The only difference is availability of staterooms on the ships, similar to seats on a plane.

April 20, 2013, you can cruise on the beautiful Celebrity Eclipse , the third ship of the award-winning Solstice-class, for 13 nights from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton, England, starting as low $699 per person ($53 per day). This is essentially a Caribbean cruise with a trip to Europe included in the deal. The cruise sails to Nassau, San Juan (Puerto Rico) and St. Martin before eight days at sea and then landing in Southampton.

Another Celebrity option is the 13-day cruise to Harwich, England on Celebrity Infinity , one of the older vessels, but one that has been "Solsticized" to add some of the more popular features from the newer vessels. This extended European itinerary starts in Fort Lauderdale followed by six days at sea, Ponta Delgado (Azores), two days at sea then Cherbourg (France), Bruges (Belgium) and ending in Harwich, England. The cruise starts at $749 inside, $1049 oceanview and $1199 balcony. ($58/day)

More Options Online

These are some of the better bargains I found, but there are always more transatlantic cruises options on tap. Keep in mind that the best bargains are often found about three months out, but that true last minute bargains are indeed available now. So, if you are willing to book a cruise less than a week before it sets sail you may very well find an amazing bargain - if there is still plenty of availability of staterooms aboard the ship.

Keep an open mind. Transatlantic cruises are great for people who love days at sea and who have plenty of free time, especially when you consider that you end up in Europe with the opportunity to stay and see as much as you want. These cruises are all cheaper and far more comfortable than flying to Europe (average cost $1200 per person) and you get many meals and ports of call you might not have seen otherwise in the bargain.

Are you a fan of transatlantic crossings? Tell us here: Cruise Forum

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