How Long is a Transatlantic Cruise

How Long is a Transatlantic Cruise? A Guide to Crossing the Atlantic by Ship

by Christian Petzold - updated September 26, 2023

Thinking about a transatlantic cruise? These trips, ranging from 7 to 16 nights, offer a mix of ocean views, tasty food, entertainment, and history. Whether you’re following traditional routes or exploring modern luxuries, there’s a cruise for everyone.

Dive into this guide to learn more about these ocean journeys and get tips for a smooth sail.

The Duration of a Transatlantic Cruise: What You Need to Know

Are you considering a transatlantic cruise? The journey typically lasts between 7 and 16 nights. For instance, New York to Southampton is about 7-8 days, while Miami to Barcelona might be up to 14 days. 

The cruise’s length varies based on the ports, speed, and travel distance. Some cruises have intermediate port stops, adding to the journey. These cruises often mean many days at sea, so they may not suit those wanting frequent stops. 

However, it’s an ideal choice if you relish days of ocean views, pool lounging, spa treatments, and sea-based activities. In essence, most transatlantic cruises range from 7 to 16 nights. So, your chosen itinerary should align with your travel desires.

The Classic Route

If you want to experience the quintessential transatlantic cruise, the classic route from Southampton to New York is the way to go. This route has been popular since the early 20th century and is still a beloved option for many travelers today.

Average Duration: Approximately 7-8 Days

The classic transatlantic journey from Southampton to New York takes about 7-8 days, influenced by the ship and weather. On board, guests can enjoy dining, entertainment, and leisure. 

The route showcases breathtaking Atlantic Ocean vistas, with stops in Southampton, England—a historic port with maritime museums, parks, and a lively dining scene—and New York City, an iconic destination brimming with landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Times Square. 

This voyage offers an unparalleled blend of adventure and relaxation, making it an unforgettable 7-8 day experience for new and returning travelers.

Cruise Sunset

Factors Affecting Duration

When planning a transatlantic cruise, one of the most important factors is how long the voyage will take. The duration of a transatlantic cruise can vary greatly depending on several factors, including ship speed, route variations, weather conditions, and port stops.

Ship Speed

One of the most significant factors affecting the duration of a transatlantic cruise is the ship’s speed. Cruise ships typically travel at an average speed of around 20 knots, meaning they can cover a distance of around 480 nautical miles in a single day. However, some ships may travel slower to conserve fuel or provide a more leisurely experience for passengers.

Route Variations

Another factor that can affect the duration of a transatlantic cruise is the route taken by the ship. Some cruises may direct route from one port to another, while others may stop at several ports. The number and duration of these stops can significantly impact the overall duration of the cruise.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can also play a significant role in the duration of a transatlantic cruise. Strong winds, rough seas, and storms can slow a ship’s progress, leading to longer travel times. Conversely, calm seas and favorable winds can help a ship to travel more quickly and efficiently.

Port Stops

Finally, the number and duration of port stops can also impact the duration of a transatlantic cruise. Some cruises may make only one or two stops, while others may stop at several ports throughout the voyage. Longer port stops can add to the overall duration of the cruise, while shorter stops may allow for a more streamlined itinerary.

Overall, answering the question of “how long is a transatlantic cruise” can vary significantly depending on several factors, including ship speed, route variations, weather conditions, and port stops. By considering these factors and carefully planning your itinerary, you can ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience on your transatlantic voyage.

Port Stops

Comparing Historical and Modern Cruises

Transatlantic cruises have evolved significantly since Christopher Columbus’s two-month voyage in 1492. 

By the early 20th century, with ships like the Titanic and Queen Mary, it became a symbol of luxury, featuring amenities such as ballrooms and onboard kennels. Nowadays, while modern ships boast features like rock-climbing walls and Broadway shows, the emphasis has shifted from speed to relaxation.

 The Queen Mary 2, the only ship offering regular transatlantic crossings, takes around seven days from New York to Southampton. Today’s cruises typically last between seven and 16 nights, showcasing the enduring allure of crossing the Atlantic.

Types of Transatlantic Cruises

When it comes to transatlantic cruises, there are different types to choose from. This section will discuss the three main types of transatlantic cruises: Repositioning Cruises, Scheduled Transatlantic Cruises, and Luxury Cruises.

Repositioning Cruises

Repositioning cruises, also known as repositioning voyages, are a type of transatlantic cruise where a ship is moved from one region to another. These cruises usually occur twice a year, in the spring and fall, when cruise lines move their ships to different regions to cater to seasonal demand.

Repositioning cruises can last 10 to 21 days, depending on the itinerary. They often include stops at multiple ports of call, making them an excellent choice for passengers who want to explore different destinations.

Scheduled Transatlantic Cruises

Scheduled transatlantic cruises are popular for passengers who want to travel between Europe and North America. These cruises usually depart from major ports such as New York, Southampton, and Barcelona.

Scheduled transatlantic cruises typically last between 6 and 14 days, with some cruises lasting up to 16 days. They often include stops at multiple ports of call, allowing passengers to explore different destinations.

Luxury Cruises

Luxury cruises are a premium option for passengers who want to experience the ultimate transatlantic cruise experience. These cruises offer a high level of service, luxurious accommodations, and exclusive amenities.

luxury cruise1

Luxury transatlantic cruises typically last between 7 and 14 days, with some cruises lasting up to 21 days. They often include stops at multiple ports of call, allowing passengers to explore different destinations while enjoying the luxurious amenities on board.

When pondering “how long is a transatlantic cruise”, remember that the type you choose depends on your preferences and budget. Whether you opt for a repositioning cruise, a scheduled transatlantic cruise, or a luxury cruise, you can expect a memorable experience while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Atlantic Ocean.

Activities and Experiences on Board

Transatlantic cruises concern many travelers regarding onboard activities. However, depending on the cruise line, these cruises provide diverse entertainment, from shows and concerts to Broadway-style performances. There are spa services, massages, saunas, and more for relaxation. Dining ranges from casual eats to gourmet dishes, catering to all tastes and budgets. 

Additionally, many cruises feature guest lectures, workshops, and enrichment programs, making the journey educational. Transatlantic cruises offer entertainment, relaxation, and learning, catering to all travelers.

Benefits of a Longer Voyage

If you have vacation time and want to unwind, a longer transatlantic cruise might be just what you need. How long is a transatlantic cruise? Typically, these voyages last between 7 and 14 days, but some can last up to a month or more. Here are some benefits of taking a longer cruise:

More Time On Board

One of the biggest advantages of a longer transatlantic cruise is more time on board the ship. This means you have more opportunities to take advantage of the ship’s amenities and activities. You can relax by the pool, enjoy a spa treatment, catch a movie, or attend a cooking class. With more time on board, you can unwind and enjoy your vacation.

More Ports of Call

Another benefit of a longer transatlantic cruise is visiting more ports of call. While shorter cruises might only stop at one or two ports, longer cruises can stop at several. This allows you to explore more destinations and experience different cultures. Visit historic cities like Lisbon, Portugal, or enjoy the beaches of the Canary Islands.

More Relaxation Time

A more extended transatlantic cruise also gives you more time to relax. With fewer ports of call, you have more days at sea to enjoy the ocean breeze and the stunning views. You can read a book, nap, or watch the waves go by. This can be especially appealing if you have a stressful job or a busy home life and need time to unwind.

Work and Relax at Cruise

Better Value

Finally, a longer transatlantic cruise can be a better value than a shorter one. While the upfront cost might be higher, you are getting more vacation days for your money. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the added expense of flights or hotels, which can be a significant cost for shorter cruises that start and end in different ports.

A more extended transatlantic cruise can be a great way to unwind and enjoy a relaxing vacation. With more time on board, more ports of call, and more relaxation time, it’s easy to see why these voyages are so famous.

Tips for Travelers

If you’re planning to take a transatlantic cruise, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make the most of your journey. Here are some tips to help you prepare for how long a transatlantic cruise can be:

Pack Smart

Since you’ll spend a lot of time on the ship, it’s important to pack smart. You’ll want to bring comfortable clothing, including casual wear for daytime activities and dressier outfits for dinner and evening events. Remember to pack a bathing suit if you plan to use the ship’s pool or hot tubs. Additionally, if you’re seasick, consider packing remedies such as ginger or motion sickness medication.

From essentials to elegant ensembles, discover how to pack smart and dress impeccably for an unforgettable cruise adventure.

Stay Active

With so many sea days, it’s essential to stay active to avoid feeling lethargic. Most cruise ships offer a variety of activities, from fitness classes to sports tournaments, to keep you moving. You can also use the ship’s gym or walk on the deck. Staying active can help you feel energized and refreshed throughout your journey.

Enjoy the Journey

A transatlantic cruise is a unique opportunity to disconnect from the world and enjoy the journey. Take advantage of the ship’s amenities, such as the spa or onboard entertainment, to relax and unwind. You can also use this time to read a book, catch up on sleep, or enjoy the view.

Be Prepared for the Weather

The weather can be unpredictable on a transatlantic cruise, so it’s essential to be prepared for all conditions. Be sure to pack various clothing, including layers for cooler days and rain gear in case of inclement weather. Additionally, be aware of any port stops and research the weather in those locations to ensure you’re prepared.

Author’s Note

With these tips in mind, you can make the most of your transatlantic cruise and enjoy how long a transatlantic cruise can be.

Transatlantic cruises offer an unforgettable blend of history, luxury, and adventure. Whether you’re on a week-long trip or an extended voyage, the magic of crossing the Atlantic remains unparalleled. With the right preparations, your journey can be enriching and relaxing, making it a must-try experience for every traveler. Safe sailing!

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