I'm wondering if anybody out there has suggestions, ideas on how I (or anyone) can locate a sailing from eastcoast US to anywhere in Western Europe. I can't afford the Queen Mary, can't swab decks or haul sail on a private yacht, but want to repeat the wonderful experience of sailing to Europe I had 45 years ago. Looking for low fare, will consider almost anything that floats & doesn't leak, where someone experienced is in charge. Can't find any listings of commercial sailings on the Web. My ideal: to go in Sept. or Oct. this year. Can fly back, or return by water if available. Destination is France, plan to stay 1 month or more. Many thanks for ideas.
Rome Addict - Thanks for your note. I knew of the QM's Caribbean posting, and also that she doesn't make trips eastbound to Europe in fall (few ships do). Unfortuntely, I need to go to Europe. The QM had a non-stop sailing from NJ to Southampton, England in the spring that was almost affordable, but it took too long and was so "socially" orientated that it didn't appeal. I need a no-frills eastbound sailing in the fall. But thanks for writing. Jed
Have you thought about freighter travel? I know it sounds wierd ,but I read some really cool articles about it and we considered taking a trip the long way from SF ,thru the far east and suez canal to Europe ( but they don't take children under 11).The cabins are usually nice because they were made for the owners ,theres intimacy,privacy ,very old world pace,good food,slow travel,no jet lag,usually a pool & work out room,endless ocean views. We are introverts ( not my child tho) so thought we would like that much more than a regular cruise which does not appeal to us.
Its definately an interesting way to travel and can be reasonable and special ( depending on what you pick).We plan to do one someday.Heres an interesting link that should lead you to some more that might help find what you are looking for:
Dear WT - Thanks much for your suggestion of freighters. I'm afraid they're TOO Slow for me. They make a number of stops, stay in port a day or two or more and move on. I checked out freighters, and agree that they can be very comfortable. But they're not cheap--not nowadays--and they can take weeks to get to your destination. I will check the link you provided, however, and many thanks. What I need is a commercial sailing (eastbound from the east coast, which probably would mean springtime rather than fall), or else a good-sized yacht with room for a few paying passengers. Those are very hard to find, if they exist at all. Jed
Hi Brahamama - What you describe is almost exactly what I'm looking for. I would like to have the information you mention--either sailboat or cruise repositions. Since I'm thinking of a fall trip, and cruises all seem to go eastbound in the spring, I may have to wait till spring to get to Europe. But I'll wait if I have to. I don't want the Queen Mary, however. Something less expensive and less elaborately "social", if possible. Tell me what you know, and many thanks. Jed
Your best bet might to be to just wait til next spring and do a repositioning cruise ship.I mentioned the freighter idea because they do have some that go the route that you want that leave in the fall.They have all different paces ( some quick) and types ( some great bargains) ,so its possible to do a quick one translantic from east coast without any stops for a good price.Just like you can get some good deals on cruises,you can also find some good deals on Freighters if one is flexible .( I looked at this quite closely as we thought about going by boat this fall and did consider leaving from NYC as well).
You might be able to find something on this site which is about privately owned Yachts or maybe leave a classified if thats your preferred choice:
WT--Thanks again. (I'm still trying to learn this message system, so am making some mistakes in responding to postings). I will give the freighter idea closer inspection and check out the website. Appreciate your help.
If you're looking for a berth on a private sailboat, I would look in sailing magazines. I don't know what is available on the east coast, but here on the West coast we've got Lattitude 38 which is like the standard periodical for all sailors. You could post a little ad in that. I'm not sure how impractical this would be, but you could also just go down to the docks you want to depart from and check around. Usually there's someone in charge who could give you a heads up. Again, I don't know if this would work on the east coast... here I would just go to the docks in San Francisco and check around. Of course this would result in something non-commercial, but that might be pretty fun.
Suzanne: Excellent suggestions! Why didn't I think of the sailing magazines? I'll consult the one you mention, and others perhaps oriented more to the East Coast, in the library. Afraid that hanging around the docks in New York, Hoboken or even Jacksonville, FL., aren't possible. But if I should get to any of those places for a visit I'll do so, hoping the sailors won't mistake my intentions. You've been very helpful. I may yet be able to lie once more in my life under a blanket in an aft deck lounge chair, watching the wake unravel behind me as I sip a cafe au lait. Planes just don't do it for me. Jed
Hi Jed, Sorry that I took so long getting back to you. But you've gotten some really good and interesting answers. You're right - the cruiselines go east in the spring and west in the fall. It is to position them in the area where they will cruise for approx 6 months.
My husband won't go on the Queen Mary either - he says it's too fancy and class oriented.
SuzanneF gave you a great website - Vacations to Go. However, it isn't the best price - but you can look and find a cruise that you think you might want and then price it online.
If you find the perfect cruise, you can go to cruisecompete.com and anonymously post which cruise you want, and give an email (I suggest a yahoo or hotmail and not your "real" one) and different companies will bid for the cruise you want.
Actually, you could fly OVER in Sept or Oct and then cruise back home. That is my favorite way, because you have no jet lag at all when you get back to the US. And air prices are cheaper in the fall too.
Anyway, feel free to email me if you have a specific question or I can help you with more details. Brahmama@yahoo.com
Good luck, and don't give up on your dream. You will love it!
Posts: 392 | Location: Cisco, TX US | Registered: 24 December 2002
Dear Carol/Brahmama - What good ideas you have. Your experience obviously shows. Many thanks. It hadn't occurred to me that I could have companies bid on the cruise I wanted. I'll check out cruisecompete.com, even before I start looking at possible cruises. I'm so pleased with the responses I've gotten. So glad that a friend alerted me to SlowTrav. I've gotten more good ideas in two days than I was able to find in weeks of searching the Web for cheap sailings. I plan a major research job now, following up everybody's suggestions. Your suggestion of flyng over this fall and returning later by ship, makes sense, if I can afford to stay long enough in FRance to catch a westbound sailing. What a consolation it would be, heading home, to think I'd be sailing for days on the open sea instead of sitting packed into three square feet on a plane, worrying about shoe bombers! I see you're in Cisco. Texas is my birthplace (San Antonio) and an important place in my background and in my heart. Love Medina, Bandera, the Hill Country, San Antone, Victoria, Austin. I don't have a premiere membership to SlowTrav, allowing private messages, or I would commune at greater length. Must get one. Many thanks for your help. Everybody's been great. Jed
Dear Brahmama: If you see this note, tell me please roughly when--how early in the spring--cruise ships begin their westward sailings to the US from northern European ports, such as UK, France, Holland, Germany. This would give me some idea, before I begin researching cruises, of when I would need to fly to France in order to catch a spring sailing back to the States. I know there are no winter, and perhaps not even any late-winter, sailings west (for good reason); but perhaps I could fly over in Feb., or even March, stay a month or so, then catch an early sailing back home. If you don't know, it's OK and I'll eventually turn up that information in my research. I like your suggestion, but can't stay more than four or five weeks in France. It may serve my needs and desires better to sail over next spring, then fly back in May or June 2007. Again, many thanks! Jed
The ships usually reposition AFTER Easter as that is when the Winter Caribbean season is over. They also like to get the better ships out before Hurricane Season which starts June 1.
As another suggestion, I would contact NCL, Cunard, Holland America and even Carnival and Royal Caribbean to inquire about re-positioning cruises. You can also check with Costa (Italy's cruise line) to see as well. There are others but they will use smaller ships which don't handle rougher seas as well as the larger ships.
As a note... most of those companies are headquartered in the Miami area. The major company who does all the retail on them is based there as well (they are one of my customers) so call the headquarters and they can lead you in the right direction for bookings..
Posts: 2354 | Location: Winter Park, FL | Registered: 18 May 2005
Unfortunately, the ships don't do repositioning in an westward position in the spring. They go east to Europe in Mar/April/May. But they don't come back west until the fall. (Oct/Nov/Dec)
You could: 1. Sail to Europe in the spring - stay however long you like and fly home. or 2. Fly to Europe in the fall - and after your stay you would cruise home!
We have done Transatlantic cruises on Princess (once) and Royal Caribbean(once), but our favorite is Celebrity, by the way. I have posted a trip report comparing our Trans trips on RCL and Celebrity if you'd like to read it. They have all been good!
Please let me know if I can help you further.
Posts: 392 | Location: Cisco, TX US | Registered: 24 December 2002
Dear Brahamama - Having gotten the ship crossings correct once, I got them mixed up when writing you. Of Course they sail east in spring, west in fall. I'll see what the offerings are in both directions and, if any are right, make my plans. I'll be traveling alone, so may let the cruise line select a cabinmate for me, unless you strongly advise against that for some reason. Thanks much for both the information on the crossing months AND the names of cruise lines, with your notation about Celebrity Line. All excellent help to me. Best - Jed
Dear Doug - That's invaluable information you gave me. I'm such a novice. I'll certainly check with all the lines you mention, and others based in Miami as well, assuming they don't all sail to Italy (my destination is France, UK, or as close to them as I can get.) Brahmama had also noted the NCL line as offering cheap passage in an inside room. Many thanks for your information. Jed
Originally posted by Brahmama: My husband won't go on the Queen Mary either - he says it's too fancy and class oriented.
I took the QM2 from England to NYC during its inagural year. We didn't find it too fancy or class oriented. In fact, we never wore any of the formal clothes we had packed. After one meal in the dining room, we decided to eat in the restaurants on the food deck instead. The service was amazing; the ship very comfortable--it's a great way to travel.
"Sail away" from Southampton was really cool (even if we were a bit delayed). Sailing into the NYC harbor, past the Statue of Liberty and under the Verrazzanno Bridge, with feet to spare, was something I'd always dreamed of doing--and I wasn't disappointed. Best of all: no jet lag! Sharon
Dear SharonZ - Thanks for your note. I surely agree about the charms of ship travel. But I'll be looking for something a bit more "proletarian" than the Queen Mary, with fewer restaurants, less elaborate pool and massage areas, less emphasis on cuisine and original art on the walls, and generally less glitz. It's a matter of budgets and a hankering for informality. My only other sailing was a 1961 crossing on a converted World War II Liberty ship, sponsored by the Dutch Student Assn. My personal tastes in travel haven't changed that much in the intervening 45 years. Thanks for writing. Jed
Sharon: - Thanks for your good wishes on sailing to Europe. Yes, guess I'll need to write up a report, if I get that far. There is certainly significant interest in less expensive crossings by boat. If someone with capital backing and an entrepreneurial spirit would get two cruise ships and put them on regular transits from the east coast to northern Europe and back, spring and fall, they would make some money and fill a much-needed service. Especially among Baby Boomers, who not only appreciate the leisureliness of sailing, but have the time to do it. Wish I knew some well heeled capitalists! Best - Jed