Crossing the Atlantic on a cruise ship – pros and cons
I hate flying. I refuse to fly. I love travel. How to get around this problem? For me, rather than fly, float. Hence our decision to take our long-planned European vacation by sailing to Europe and back – by two different types of vessel.
We are, as I write this little review, fast approaching the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, so I thought it was time to give my impression of the first leg of the journey, our 11 day voyage from Miami to Barcelona on the cruise ship Norwegian Epic. I’ll do it in a “pros” and “cons” format:
1/ We’re not flying
2/ This ship is huge – almost 1100 feet long, 130 feet wide, with a passenger capacity of 4500. These are pros because, on a “one-way” voyage like this, the ship is only about half filled, and does not feel crowded or hectic – lots of room for everyone.
3/ Inexpensive – like, $399 each for an 11 day cruise with all food and non-alchoholic drink included…….
4/ Solid entertainment – we’re talking the Blue Man Group and Cirque de Soleil, along with other smaller acts – much better than the usual cruise ship offerings.
5/ Did I mention we’re not flying?
1/ 11 days with only one port of call before the destination can be a long time. You can only read so many books, listen to so much music, and eat so much food. I’m fine with “slow travel” but this might be a bit long for most.
2/ The Norwegian Epic is a cruise ship, not an ocean liner. To enable her to get into the most possible ports, she does not have a deep draft, which means when you encounter a severe low pressure system as we did on Day 5 things can get pretty rocky, even when extra ballast is taken on. Fifty foot swells and 45 knot winds even had the captain hoping that we would soon sail out of “this misery”.
3/ This one has really peeved me, and many other passengers I have spoken with. After 10 days of seeing nothing but open ocean, this evening we will be sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar, a narrow 7 miles of sea separating Europe (Spain) and Africa (Morocco) which is marked by the Rock of Gibraltar. We are passing this famous and exciting landmark at…….11:00 at night…..pitch dark. Could not the schedule have been just slightly adjusted to allow us to see this once in a lifetime view?
So, would I do this again? Absolutely, I think it’s a great way to travel if you have lots of time and don’t want to fly. Having said that, I’m eager to see the difference between a cruise ship and a true ocean liner when, at the end of May, we return to North America aboard the Queen Mary II……I’ll have a review of that one too. Meanwhile, Europe is literally looming on the horizon…………