Travels with Bob

‘Take a Holiday from Hurry’

If you’re like me, you probably dread the cramped overnight flight and the ensuing jet lag that follows a trip to Europe. Not to mention today’s high cost of flying across the Atlantic.

Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 offers weekly trans-Atlantic crossings in elegant accommodations

For nearly two decades in the 50s and 60s, the iconic S. S. United States ocean liner represented a more civilized means of travel to Europe in a leisurely and luxurious fashion. With slogans like “Take a Holiday from Hurry”, it attracted countless Hollywood movie stars and royalty, as well as many ordinary people desiring a slower-paced ocean crossing.

On its maiden voyage in 1952, this luxury liner – the only one ever built entirely in America – established the speed record for cruising from the United States to Europe in less than four days, a record that still stands unchallenged. Yet, nearly 50 years later, this once proud ship rests, rusting away in the Philadelphia shipyard where in 1969 she was retired from service.

Yet, it’s still possible for people longing for “less hurry” in their lives and seeking a nostalgic experience, to cruise between New York City and Southampton, England, aboard Cunard’s luxury Queen Mary 2. The QE2 traverses the North Atlantic with weekly crossings – alternating eastbound and westbound sailings.

Following a recent $130 million makeover, the QM2 is more luxurious than ever, offering guests the most elegant amenities and décor at sea at prices that most people can afford. For example, a recent last-minute seven-night eastbound crossing was priced as low at $600 per person for an inside stateroom. On the high end, Queens Grill Grand Duplex suites cost more than ten times that amount, with a wide range of price points in between. By the way, the QM2 is the only cruise ship with an onboard dog kennel for those guests desiring to travel with their pooch.

Two travel options to consider: cruise eastbound from New York and enjoy your European vacation before flying home; or book the QM2 in both directions allowing time between the sailings to experience England or the Continent. Depending upon your shipboard accommodations, your transportation cost may be only slightly more than flying roundtrip and you will get to enjoy 14 nights cruising the Atlantic.

Repositioning itineraries represent third option. Several cruise lines with ships that winter in the Caribbean “reposition” those ships to Europe each spring for summer itineraries in Northern Europe or the Mediterranean. Cruise over to Europe and fly home following your European vacation. The typical repositioning cruise is 12 to 14 nights with some itineraries offering port calls along the way. The same ships cruise westbound in the fall bound for the Caribbean cruise season. Repositioning cruises usually represent outstanding travel values in all stateroom categories, especially considering the per-day cost basis.

These less hurried methods of reaching Europe represent excellent options for people who enjoy days at sea and have the time to extend their holiday experience.