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hllwdcruiser

First Transatlantic - need advice before booking

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This will be a bucket list cruise celebrating a milestone birthday. We'll be flying from FLL to Europe for two weeks in the fall 2021 and rather than fly back we hope to sail home on a transatlantic. I'm leaning towards the new Royal Class ships as opposed to a sailing offered on the Island.

 

Except for Alaska, we usually hop on a last minute cruise in the Caribbean, normally never for more than a week and always in a balcony cabin. We opt for a larger balcony (aft and Forward on Royal class, Caribe on Grand class) and don't really care about the size of the cabin as we spend so much time outside. 

 

Here's my quandary: I'm thinking that being on a ship in the fall, a larger cabin, like a mini. may be more important so as not to feel claustrophobic especially if we are stuck inside during inclement weather. 

 

Or maybe not. Am I overthinking it? Do we need a balcony at all? Would a regular sized cabin and oceanview do just fine? 

 

I know that all of this is subjective but I'd really appreciate the opinions of those of you (seasoned Princess cruisers) who have sailed numerous Transatlantics in different categories. 

 

We've had cabins all over the ship and never get sick so midship location is not a factor. The only category we won't consider is an inside as having natural light is a non-negotiable. We would also love to stay in a full suite but alas (!) that category is beyond our budget.

 

Also - can you fill me in on what you do during all those sea days? DH is worried that it will get boring although I can't think of anything better than endless days at sea! 

 

I'm hoping to book during the Best Sale Ever if the price is right.

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we did a B2B2B in 2016.  left Florida for transatlantic.  We had a balcony - I would not do a balcony again.  Did not use the balcony.  I would save money and do inside or oceanview (for the light).  You might get lucky and get an upgrade or do an upsell closer to the cruise time.  We just got notice today that we were upgraded to oceanview for our May 2020 Alaska cruise.

 

We took paperback books (left them in the library when we were done with them), had our laptop computer (to play games) and we checked the patter everyday for things to do. I would do a transatlantic in a heartbeat.

 

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Thanks much roxievegas - that's exactly what I'm looking for. I'm hesitant to pay for a balcony if we will rarely use it.

 

Good to know you would do it again in a heartbeat. I've also been eyeing Celebrity's Transatlantics. I see you sail both lines, we've yet to sail Celebrity - do you have a preference of one over the other?

 

Congrats on your upgrade - those are rare things nowadays!

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We have done transatlantics both directions... depends on the route... southern crossing can have nice weather... not hot in spring and fall.  We always book a mini suite because do enjoy time in our cabin and like the larger cabin and bath tub.  I have just gotten off the Coral Pirncess, a sister to the island... by comparison I would recommend a royal class over the Island Princess.   Coral is a nice ship, but island has been modified and many don't like it... 

 

ref the balcony issue I like fresh air in the cabin at least part of the day... 

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I would pick a southern crossing because it may be a bit warmer and not as rough.  We have done 6 crossings and the last one, Nov 2019 was the roughest of them all.  We sailed from Southampton to Ft Lauderdale, but the first port was Boston.  It was rough enough that we were not allowed outside and all outside furniture was tied down.  This was on Celebrity's Silhouette.  The rest of the sailings were fine.

We always book a balcony as we do like the sea air even if it is cold, but you could certainly get by with an o/v.

You will love the  25 hour days (3 or 4 of them depending on where you embark).

I would also book a port side cabin especially if you have a balcony as it will be brighter and you will get some sun in the cabin.

We find T/A's very relaxing.

Edited by TeaBag

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1 hour ago, hllwdcruiser said:

This will be a bucket list cruise celebrating a milestone birthday. We'll be flying from FLL to Europe for two weeks in the fall 2021 and rather than fly back we hope to sail home on a transatlantic. I'm leaning towards the new Royal Class ships as opposed to a sailing offered on the Island.

 

I was under the impression the Royal Class of ships didn't have OV cabins. If you want natural light you will have to book at least a balcony. Actually, I believe Sky Princess did add a few Premium Ocean View cabins all the way forward up on Sun Deck but, other than that, I really don't think the Royal Class of ships have any Ocean View cabins. I have never sailed on that class of ship so could be wrong. If so, I'm sure someone will correct me and I will have learned something.

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If you can afford it I would highly recommend the Premium suites on the Royal class ships.  They are all the way forward and offer a large forward facing window in the bedroom and a side balcony in sitting room.  

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Our only transatlantic was on Celebrity.  We are planning on a transatlantic in 2021, we will do whatever cruise line gets us to London so we can do the princess British isles

We like Celebrity because the passenger populations is smaller.  We also like the cabins (balcony's have couch in rooms).  We have enough  cruise days to give us two free drinks daily (which is enough for us).

We find the food, entertainment, things to do etc, equal on both cruise lines.'

Because we are on the west coast - Celebrity is very limited on trips going out of LA.  We are doing princess out of LA so we don't have to fly.  Only special trips will we consider flying.  Going to Europe we will cruise over, do another cruise and fly home or cruise back to U.S if we can figure out the dates.

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9 hours ago, pris993 said:

We have done transatlantics both directions... depends on the route... southern crossing can have nice weather... not hot in spring and fall.  We always book a mini suite because do enjoy time in our cabin and like the larger cabin and bath tub.  I have just gotten off the Coral Pirncess, a sister to the island... by comparison I would recommend a royal class over the Island Princess.   Coral is a nice ship, but island has been modified and many don't like it... 

I apologize for my ignorance - I'm not sure which way is the Southern crossing? 

We were on the Coral in Alaska - my favorite ship and voyage so far but wouldn't even consider the Island after it was chopped up (unless the fares were so low I couldn't resist).

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8 hours ago, TeaBag said:

I would pick a southern crossing because it may be a bit warmer and not as rough.  We have done 6 crossings and the last one, Nov 2019 was the roughest of them all.  We sailed from Southampton to Ft Lauderdale, but the first port was Boston.  It was rough enough that we were not allowed outside and all outside furniture was tied down.  This was on Celebrity's Silhouette.  The rest of the sailings were fine.

We always book a balcony as we do like the sea air even if it is cold, but you could certainly get by with an o/v.

You will love the  25 hour days (3 or 4 of them depending on where you embark).

I would also book a port side cabin especially if you have a balcony as it will be brighter and you will get some sun in the cabin.

We find T/A's very relaxing.

 

Is the Southern Crossing from Fort Lauderdale to Europe? I was really hoping to travel in Europe and end it with a relaxing cruise which is why I'm thinking of the fall Transatlantic. We live in South FL so it basically will be our transportation home.

The possibility of bad weather is why we are considering a mini....

Thank you for the advice on the port side cabin!

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8 hours ago, Thrak said:

 

I was under the impression the Royal Class of ships didn't have OV cabins. If you want natural light you will have to book at least a balcony. Actually, I believe Sky Princess did add a few Premium Ocean View cabins all the way forward up on Sun Deck but, other than that, I really don't think the Royal Class of ships have any Ocean View cabins. I have never sailed on that class of ship so could be wrong. If so, I'm sure someone will correct me and I will have learned something.

You are correct, the Royal and Regal do not have OVs but all the new builds have a few. The Enchantment and Discovery are the two ships I am looking at for this sailing. The OVs do sell out quickly though...although they are the often the same price as a balcony. 

Being on the opposite side of the country as you, our options for getaway cruises are often limited to the new builds which can be considered lucky (or not) depending on your perspective.

I think you started sailing with Princess after we did but now have A LOT more days under your belt than we so I always value your input. Thanks much!

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The southern crossings start or end in Florida. The northern ones start or end in New York City. Both of our transatlantic cruises were in inside cabins, which was fine for us. The people we talked with who had balconies did not use them much. The transatlantic cruises are very popular with Elites. We had over 900 on our one this fall on the Crown. Both this year's cruise and last year's were diverted due to storms in the Atlantic. We missed three ports in 2018 (but gained two new ones) and missed two ports this year.

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Southern Crossing: If you are going from Europe to FLL and not visiting places like Iceland, Canada, Northeast US, there's a good chance it will be a Southern Crossing.

We just did this on the Sky. Our last "Europe" stop was Madeira. We had some semi-rough seas due to a nearby storm. We had a forward cabin and it was rough enough for me to take a Bonine but not even close to rough enough to "put the bags out" (I've been on a couple of those trips!)

My GF and I got upgraded to a Premium Deluxe Balcony which is much bigger than a standard. We had our morning coffee out there almost every day. (Tip: we brought our own insulated travel mugs to keep it hot.) We also brought our own games to play on the many sea days. We also generally watched at least one movie in our cabin.

 

FYI, our cabin was starboard side which we prefer because we like the light but not the sun. Our balcony was 1/3 under cover (of the above balcony). The room below us had no cover and I would not have liked that. If nothing else, the cover helps keep the furniture dry.

 

That was my 3rd TA and I love them. But if you don't read or watch movies or play long games (or drink?) they may not be for you.

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Now days, a balcony is the only way we will go.  We have stayed in obstructed OV's to save money, but no more.  We love the fresh sea air coming into our cabin.  TA's are wonderful with all the sea days.  We just came back from the Sky TA and I read 4 books (something I don't seem to find the time to do at home).  Getting an extra hour for 6 nights (on the east to west crossings) is also really nice.

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We've done 10 TAs:  5 EB in the spring and 5 WB in the fall.  An EB southern crossing on Princess would end in the port for Rome, Civitavecchia, or in Copenhagen.  It depends on what itinerary the ship will be doing that summer:  Baltic (from Copenhagen) or Mediterranean (from Rome).  The WB cruises were from Southampton or Copenhagen and the ports were mostly in Europe + Iceland and/or Greenland.  I think all the EB cruises stopped at the Azores before reaching Europe.  We love the sea days as there are usually several different lecturers on various topics plus the usual daily games like Trivia and Bingo.  Casino is open 24 hrs on sea days, I believe.  On one of our WB TAs we had rough weather for a day or two as mentioned above.  I imagine we were a bit nervous about doing a TA before we did the first one, but obviously we ended up loving them plus they're usually at a pretty good fare.

Edited by BarbinMich

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12 hours ago, hllwdcruiser said:

I apologize for my ignorance - I'm not sure which way is the Southern crossing? 

We were on the Coral in Alaska - my favorite ship and voyage so far but wouldn't even consider the Island after it was chopped up (unless the fares were so low I couldn't resist).

When I refer to a southern crossing, I mean ones that stay to the south of I believe bermuda, go to islands off the coast of  spain, before entering the Mediterranean vs ones that my go further north to Europe and Ireland/English east or west.  We have done both.   Hope this helps.  

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13 hours ago, geoherb said:

The southern crossings start or end in Florida. The northern ones start or end in New York City. Both of our transatlantic cruises were in inside cabins, which was fine for us. The people we talked with who had balconies did not use them much. The transatlantic cruises are very popular with Elites. We had over 900 on our one this fall on the Crown. Both this year's cruise and last year's were diverted due to storms in the Atlantic. We missed three ports in 2018 (but gained two new ones) and missed two ports this year.

 

Thank you for the clarification. Now I know I am looking at what would be considered the Southern Route.

900 Elites - that's amazing! 

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13 hours ago, talljaycruiser said:

Southern Crossing: If you are going from Europe to FLL and not visiting places like Iceland, Canada, Northeast US, there's a good chance it will be a Southern Crossing.

We just did this on the Sky. Our last "Europe" stop was Madeira. We had some semi-rough seas due to a nearby storm. We had a forward cabin and it was rough enough for me to take a Bonine but not even close to rough enough to "put the bags out" (I've been on a couple of those trips!)

My GF and I got upgraded to a Premium Deluxe Balcony which is much bigger than a standard. We had our morning coffee out there almost every day. (Tip: we brought our own insulated travel mugs to keep it hot.) We also brought our own games to play on the many sea days. We also generally watched at least one movie in our cabin.

 

FYI, our cabin was starboard side which we prefer because we like the light but not the sun. Our balcony was 1/3 under cover (of the above balcony). The room below us had no cover and I would not have liked that. If nothing else, the cover helps keep the furniture dry.

 

That was my 3rd TA and I love them. But if you don't read or watch movies or play long games (or drink?) they may not be for you.

 

Thank you for all the great information and the tip on the insulated coffee mugs.

We've been in the Basic, Deluxe and Premium Deluxe Balcony on three of our Regal sailings and there is quite a difference. You also scored the larger balcony which you don't get in the regular deluxe. Would you mind sharing what cabin you were upgraded to?

Do you normally get sea sick or was this a rare occurrence? I'm just wondering if we should be prepared even though neither of us ever gets sick.

I do love to read but unfortunately, DH doesn't...but we both like movies and we definitely do like to drink!!

 

 

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11 hours ago, CruzinNoony said:

Now days, a balcony is the only way we will go.  We have stayed in obstructed OV's to save money, but no more.  We love the fresh sea air coming into our cabin.  TA's are wonderful with all the sea days.  We just came back from the Sky TA and I read 4 books (something I don't seem to find the time to do at home).  Getting an extra hour for 6 nights (on the east to west crossings) is also really nice.

 

I think we have definitely decided on a balcony and are actually leaning towards a mini. We only cruise once a year and I want to be sure we do it right. 

4 books is quite an accomplishment in two weeks!

I'm looking at the Sky (last minute Drop and Go) for the late Winter/early Spring 2020. I'm trying to justify booking a new ship when the deals are better for the same exact itineraries on the Regal....

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10 hours ago, BarbinMich said:

We've done 10 TAs:  5 EB in the spring and 5 WB in the fall.  An EB southern crossing on Princess would end in the port for Rome, Civitavecchia, or in Copenhagen.  It depends on what itinerary the ship will be doing that summer:  Baltic (from Copenhagen) or Mediterranean (from Rome).  The WB cruises were from Southampton or Copenhagen and the ports were mostly in Europe + Iceland and/or Greenland.  I think all the EB cruises stopped at the Azores before reaching Europe.  We love the sea days as there are usually several different lecturers on various topics plus the usual daily games like Trivia and Bingo.  Casino is open 24 hrs on sea days, I believe.  On one of our WB TAs we had rough weather for a day or two as mentioned above.  I imagine we were a bit nervous about doing a TA before we did the first one, but obviously we ended up loving them plus they're usually at a pretty good fare.

 

Thank you for this - I bow to your experience. I am a bit nervous having only done tropical cruises for 7-10 days and one Alaska cruise tour that was port intensive and combined with daily doses of breathtaking scenery. I am also a tad worried that I am going to love it so much that I'll have to somehow convince DH that a trip to Europe may now have to be on our vacation rotation!

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3 hours ago, hllwdcruiser said:

I think we have definitely decided on a balcony and are actually leaning towards a mini. We only cruise once a year and I want to be sure we do it right. 

May I help to push you over the edge to a minisuite? Anything "below" a mini and you will likely have only one chair as a place to sit other than the bed.

 

In an OV or balcony you MAY be able to get a second chair from your steward (be sure to ask as soon as you meet them). Some ships may have a level of balcony below minisuite that does have a loveseat; I am not an expert on Princess ships. But I know that currently Princess has removed the side or barrel chair from insides, OVs, and standard balconies.

 

I have two bookings with Princess, but they are only on cruises where I could rationalize paying for minisuites (there are five adults and two minisuites was not much more than three OVs)(the first reservation was before the chair fiasco, the second after).

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7 hours ago, hllwdcruiser said:

 

Thank you for all the great information and the tip on the insulated coffee mugs.

We've been in the Basic, Deluxe and Premium Deluxe Balcony on three of our Regal sailings and there is quite a difference. You also scored the larger balcony which you don't get in the regular deluxe. Would you mind sharing what cabin you were upgraded to?

Do you normally get sea sick or was this a rare occurrence? I'm just wondering if we should be prepared even though neither of us ever gets sick.

I do love to read but unfortunately, DH doesn't...but we both like movies and we definitely do like to drink!!

 

 

We were in D145. If you get a PDB I would opt for one in the back. This room, in the rough seas, literally shook when it hit some of the bigger waves.

I am very prone to motion sickness. If I do not take something for plane rides, I cannot read or watch anything. I always bring meclazine (Bonine) with me but rarely need it on the ship (one day on this crossing ).

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We’ve done two Transatlantics. The first was from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton and we used the balcony all the time. The second was from Cobh, Ireland to New York City. On this voyage we took advantage of an upsale offer to a full aft suite with a huge wrap-around balcony,  We didn’t use the balcony as often but sure enjoyed the extra room and amenities on the 14-day voyage.

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We have done trans-Atlantic on HAL, Princess, Carnival, Celebrity and MSC. I prefer the eastbound crossing, from Europe to the U.S., which has most port calls in the beginning and then lots of sea days for rest. Because of time changes, a number of 25-hour days.

 

We have had all kinds of cabins--from inside to mini-suites. Pros and cons in each case; book whatever you can afford and are comfortable with. (If on HAL, see whether the ship has huge category L insides on the Main deck. The Noordam type ships have them). 

 

Currently we have an Oct. 2020 sailing booked on the Carnival Legend from Barcelona to Tampa and Oct. 2021 from Barcelona to Baltimore. Different ports, affordable prices and lots of sea days which we love.

 

On both of those we booked premium balcony cabins. There are only six such cabins in that category. For several hundred dollars less than a suite, you get a huge 230 sq ft cabin with an oversized balcony. 

 

When should you book? Since these crossing occur at the beginning and end of the Mediterranean season, bargains may be had if you monitor prices and wait. The downside in doing that is that your preferred category may be sold out.

 

In March, we are taking the Coral Princess from Buenos Aires to FLL, an 18-day cruise that is not a trans-Atlantic but will be warm and nice, with sea days galore. Have also taken the Pacific side cruise from San Antonio (Valparaiso) to the West Coast. Loved visiting Antigua and Corinto  but thought much of that itinerary was a bit too chilly.

 

 

Edited by barante

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2 hours ago, barante said:

We have done trans-Atlantic on HAL, Princess, Carnival, Celebrity and MSC. I prefer the eastbound crossing, from Europe to the U.S., which has most port calls in the beginning and then lots of sea days for rest. Because of time changes, a number of 25-hour days.. .

I believe you're referring to WESTbound crossings.

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