Repositioning Cruise: Kuki Goes Transatlantic - Part 1

| May 26, 2003

I'd been dreaming about doing a transatlantic crossing for some time -- something I had never done in all my years of cruising. I envisioned a bygone era of steamer trunks being loaded onboard, ladies dressed in their finery, and gentlemen who would never be seen outside their cabin without a jacket and tie.

In my mind's eye, I could see people strolling the decks under the light of a full moon, sipping champagne from crystal glassware. The men occasionally reached for the chain leading to their vest pocket, removing their pocket watches to check the time. I have obviously watched the movie 'Titanic' way too many times.

Although I wasn't actually expecting to encounter an experience quite like the one described above, I was filled with excitement and anticipation of sharing the same kinds of feelings on an ocean crossing. At the moment, except for the QE2 (to be replaced on the transatlantic route next year by the Queen Mary 2), the only way to experience an ocean crossing is by booking a repositioning cruise.

We chose a repositioning cruise on the Celebrity Constellation, sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Harwich, England. One of the main reasons for my choice is that Celebrity is still attempting to offer a more traditional cruise experience, rather than the "Personal Choice" or "Freestyle" milieus being touted by Princess and NCL respectively. We felt Celebrity would therefore offer us an experience that might be closer to the modern-day equivalent of my "Titanic visions."

Indeed, as we crossed the gangway we were met by white-gloved attendants who offered us a glass of champagne before escorting us to our cabin. For a moment, at least, I was living that dream.

After preliminary stops in St. Thomas and St. Maarten, we sailed off to cross the Atlantic, giving us five glorious days to enjoy the beauty of the ocean and the ship.

Our first night at sea was also our first formal night, and because we were making a crossing, this night took on a more significant tone for me than all the previous formal nights we had experienced on past cruises.

This night, the ladies were all dressed in their finery, and the men in tuxedos and suits, matching the elegance of their companions. For at least this night, I was indeed sailing in the atmosphere of days long ago, and sharing the experience with souls long gone.

"to be continued"

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