Best intercontinental vacations for 2024 and 2025, as well as advice and what to anticipate

A transatlantic cruise ranks high on many travelers’ bucket lists, especially those who love the camaraderie and adventure of a voyage by ship. Today’s roughly 4,000-nautical-mile transatlantic crossing is more akin to the pre-aviation “Grand Tour” wealthy Americans once enjoyed than the immigration journeys many of our European ancestors made from the 17th to early 20th centuries.

Leisurely and luxurious, a one-way sailing offers fine dining, wellness-oriented pampering, enlightening lectures, glamorous nightlife and plenty of time to relax. Transatlantic cruises are also a solution for travelers who prefer not to fly and a tempting option for cruise lovers seeking a longer itinerary at an affordable price.

Is a transatlantic cruise right for everyone? Not necessarily, especially for anyone prone to moderate to severe sea sickness. However, for those who love sea days — and many cruisers do — a crossing can offer an uninterrupted “floating resort” experience; plus, it provides the added bonus of delivering you to Europe or returning you home without a cramped transatlantic flight.

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Here’s everything you need to know about cruising the Atlantic — plus a selection of the best transatlantic cruises you can book in 2024 and 2025.

Which cruise lines offer transatlantic crossings?

Every major cruise line, such as Seabourn, offers transatlantic crossings. ERIC LAIGNEL/SEABOURN

While Cunard Line is most famous for its weekly crossings between Southampton, England, and New York City — which sail from April to December on its ocean liner Queen Mary 2 — pretty much every major cruise line offers transatlantic crossings.

These generally occur in the spring (late March to early May) and fall (September to November). In the spring, ships are repositioned from the Caribbean to Europe, and in the fall, vessels sail from Europe to the U.S. to begin Canada-New England and Caribbean itineraries.

Also known as repositioning cruises, these sailings are usually longer than a traditional crossing and often include several port calls beyond the city of embarkation and disembarkation.

Even better, cruise fares for these itineraries are typically one-third to one-half the price of a cruise of the same length that visits a new port daily. This makes them a great deal for travelers looking to settle into shipboard life rather than just sightsee.

These types of transatlantic/repositioning itineraries are offered by Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, Oceania, Regent, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Seabourn, Sea Dream Yacht Club, Silversea, Star Clippers, Windstar, Viking and Virgin.

When is the best time of year for transatlantic cruises?

The best time to take a transatlantic cruise depends on what you’re looking for: great weather, smooth seas, the best price or specific ports of call.

Generally speaking, May, June and July are recommended for warmer weather and gentler seas — before the Atlantic hurricane season peaks in August, September and October — although storms can arise any time of the year.

March, April and November — while not ideal due to cooler temperatures that can limit on-deck and poolside enjoyment — are a good option and a terrific value. This is especially true if the ship’s route is a southerly one between Florida and the Mediterranean rather than between northern Europe and New York.

As noted above, the best prices are generally in spring and fall for repositioning cruises. These itineraries may also visit several appealing ports in the Mediterranean or Caribbean as well as call on the Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Iceland or Bermuda in the Atlantic.

Related: Why I was wrong about transatlantic cruises

How long does the crossing take?


It varies. The classic nonstop transatlantic itinerary aboard Queen Mary 2 is a seven-night voyage between New York and Southampton (and vice versa). On the other hand, transatlantic repositioning cruises generally range in length from 11 to 21 nights, with an average of 14 nights (seven or eight of them typically sea days).

Will the seas be rough?

It’s up to Mother Nature. At times, the Atlantic can be smooth sailing, even in spring and fall. Yet unpredictable wind and water current patterns can create rough seas seemingly out of nowhere any time of year.

Captains can generally maneuver around storms — and try to do so whenever possible for the comfort of all onboard. Additionally, modern cruise ships are equipped with stabilizers that reduce a ship’s rolling motion due to wind or waves.

However, if you’re even slightly prone to seasickness, don’t throw caution to the wind. You’ll be better off on a larger ship (pick a midship cabin on a lower deck); also, be sure to pack medication, patches, bands or whatever works best for you. While it might seem counterintuitive, having a window or balcony actually helps offset seasickness since it offers fresh air and a horizon view. If you’re concerned, opt for an ocean-view or balcony cabin over an inside one.

Which side of the ship is best for a transatlantic crossing?

It honestly doesn’t make much difference whether you book a cabin on the port (left) or starboard (right) side of the ship since most daytime views will be of the ocean. However, if you’re departing from a Mediterranean port, say Rome or Barcelona, for a southerly crossing, book a starboard cabin; this might offer a view of the Rock of Gibraltar if your ship transits between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic during daylight hours. For a U.S.-to-Europe eastward crossing, you’d want the opposite — a port-side cabin.

Similarly, if your crossing takes you from northern Europe on a northerly route to the U.S., and you want to be among the first to spot land (perhaps Greenland or Newfoundland), book a starboard cabin. If you are cruising into New York Harbor just before dawn and want to see the Statue of Liberty from your cabin, book on the port side.

More important for an Atlantic crossing location-wise is your cabin’s deck number and whether the cabin is situated forward, midship or aft. Generally, the ship’s movement through rough seas will feel less severe if your cabin is midship and on one of the lower or middle decks versus the top-most decks.

Related: The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship

Which ports do transatlantic cruises visit?


Where you embark and disembark will determine your route and the ports you potentially call on. Ships repositioning to or from the Baltic Sea and the British Isles generally take a northerly route. Vessels sailing from the Mediterranean cross on a more southerly route, especially if they are repositioning to or from a winter home port in Florida.

On a northerly crossing, you can expect to embark in a port such as Copenhagen; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Southampton or New York. Depending on the length of the cruise, expect to call on ports in Ireland (Dublin or Cork), Iceland (Reykjavik), Greenland (Qaqortoq or Nuuk), Atlantic Canada (St. John’s in Newfoundland, or Sydney or Halifax in Nova Scotia) and Bermuda (King’s Wharf).

On a southerly crossing between Barcelona or Rome in the Mediterranean and Miami or Fort Lauderdale, typical ports of call include Madeira; Grand Canary or Tenerife in the Canary Islands; Ponta Delgada in the Azores; and one or two islands in the Caribbean, such as St. Maarten or Puerto Rico.

Is it better to book an eastbound or westbound cruise?

Which direction you book really depends on whether you’re aboard for the experience or you’re using the crossing as a substitute for a flight to reach the other side of the ocean. Below are a few factors to keep in mind.

Aside from Queen Mary 2 crossings, westbound transatlantic repositioning cruises (from Europe to the U.S.) take place in the fall during the Atlantic hurricane season; some are also scheduled for mid-to-late November when storm formation has generally diminished. Eastbound cruises (from the U.S. to Europe) happen in spring, a season also often known for periods of gray skies and rain.

When considering westbound versus eastbound crossings, factor in the time change. While a transatlantic cruise is a terrific way to avoid the jet lag caused by flying across multiple time zones in a single day, you will be subject to almost daily reminders to reset your clock.

On westbound cruises, you’ll have to set your clock back at night, thus gaining an extra hour of sleep on most days. On eastbound cruises, you’ll set it ahead an hour and lose an hour of leisure time or sleep.

Another factor to keep in mind is that unless you plan to return home on another transatlantic cruise, you’ll also need to book a one-way flight. Before committing to a specific eastbound or westbound itinerary, always check your flight options. One-way tickets are sometimes more expensive than round-trip fares.

Best transatlantic cruises for 2024 and 2025

There are dozens of opportunities to cross the Atlantic by cruise ship, but here are some of the best itineraries available in the next two years.

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2

Steakhouse at The Verandah restaurant on Queen Mary 2. CUNARD CRUISESTransatlantic crossings: May to December 2024 and 2025

There’s nothing quite like it. Cunard‘s weekly transatlantic crossing between New York and Southampton aboard the 2,691-guest Queen Mary 2 celebrates the grand age of ocean liners with a level of pomp and ceremony that appeals to Cunard loyalists, bucket-listers and memory-making couples or families celebrating a milestone anniversary or birthday.

These eight-night eastbound and six-night westbound voyages are all about the sea. There are interludes of culinary enjoyment and evening entertainment designed for travelers who appreciate formality and glamour.

A typical day might include time in the library perusing the largest book collection at sea, getting an illuminating astronomy lesson in the onboard planetarium and enjoying traditional afternoon tea.

The evening lineup generally starts with a multicourse dinner (same table and same waiter nightly) followed by a Broadway-inspired show, an abridged Shakespeare play or even a magic act. The ship is also famous for its Gala Evenings, capped off with Champagne sipping and dancing to a live orchestra. Yes, pack those ballgowns and tuxes.

Cruise fares start at $1,129 per person for an inside cabin and $1,619 per person for a balcony room.

Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady

Valiant Lady. VIRGIN VOYAGES16-night Rome to Miami: Nov. 28-Dec. 14, 202415-night Miami to Casablanca and Barcelona cruises: May 3-18, 2025

Virgin Voyages‘ 2,770-guest Scarlet Lady has an onboard ambience that rivals a youthful beach club. Passengers and crew will keep the party going day and night this fall on a 16-night Rome to Miami transatlantic sailing. The sailing has calls on Barcelona and Malaga in Spain; Funchal on the island of Madeira; and Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

Or, party in reverse on the ship’s 15-night Miami to Casablanca and Barcelona crossing in May 2025. It stops in Grand Canary and Santa Cruz de Tenerife; Casablanca, Morocco; and Barcelona.

The ship’s 20 excellent dining venues, cutting-edge entertainment (campy and a bit naughty — think Drag Queen Bingo), impressive lineup of wellness classes (from yoga at sunrise to On-the-Upswing Bungee aerobics) and fun activities (’90s Boy Band Dance Class, anyone?) provide plenty of ways to pass the time.

Cruise fares start at $4,384 per cabin (or less than $2,200 per person) for the Rome-to-Miami sailing and $3,706 per cabin (or less than $1,900 per person) for the Miami-to-Barcelona sailing.

Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream

The Roy O. Disney Suite, one of two signature royal suites on Disney Dream. MATT STROSHANE/DISNEY CRUISES13-night eastbound transatlantic cruise: May 5-18, 202413-night westbound transatlantic cruise: Oct. 20-Nov. 2, 2024

Certain Disney fans — namely childless adult couples and empty nesters — love the brand’s storytelling and Imagineering but prefer not to share a two-week cruise with hundreds of kids and teens. These 13-night eastbound and westbound crossings from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona and from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale aboard 2,500-passenger Disney Dream offer a solution to that dilemma.

Each of these transatlantic cruises occurs when almost everyone ages 5 to 18 is still in school. Yes, some kids will likely be on board, but certainly not in overwhelming numbers.

These crossings feature nine to 11 sea days during which Disney Cruise Line offers all kinds of immersive entertainment, excellent onboard dining and a southerly route in spring that means plenty of pool time. On top of that, each sailing includes a mix of culturally rich ports.

On the eastbound crossing, they are Ponta Delgada; Lisbon; and Cadiz, Cartagena and Barcelona, Spain. On the westbound crossing, the ports are Ponta Delgada and the new Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point.

Eastbound fares for balcony cabins start at $4,516 for two adults (or about $2,258 per person). Westbound fares are a bit pricier, starting at $5,517 for an inside cabin ($2,708 per person).

Related: 5 reasons why Disney cruises aren’t just for kids

Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam

Holland America’s Zuiderdam. HOLLAND AMERICA LINE/FACEBOOK28-night Adriatic Dream and Passage to America: Nov. 2-30, 2024

For a shoulder-season meander through the Adriatic and Mediterranean followed by a transatlantic crossing, Holland America‘s 28-night Adriatic Dream and Passage to America visits 14 ports in seven countries. This makes it a true hybrid of an ocean crossing and a traditional cruise.

The sailing, aboard the 3,665-passenger Nieuw Statendam, departs from Athens and visits ports in Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, Italy, Albania, Spain and Portugal before arriving in Fort Lauderdale. Of the 12 sea days, two include scenic cruising.

The voyage takes place in November, so expect temperatures to be on the cooler side in most ports and during the crossing. It’s a good thing, then, that Nieuw Statendam has an indoor pool with a retractable roof. Holland America passengers, mostly older retirees, can also pass the time dining at each of the 10 onboard restaurants and enjoy entertainment that includes live bands at the B.B. King’s Blues Club and Rolling Stone Rock Room.

At $2,499 per person for an inside cabin and $3,749 per person for a balcony cabin, fares are a great deal for a four-week sailing.

Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Ascent and Celebrity Apex

Sunset Bar on Celebrity Beyond. MICHEL VERDURE/CELEBRITY CRUISES13-night Spain, Portugal and Bermuda transatlantic: Oct. 26-Nov. 8, 202413-night Bermuda and Portugal transatlantic: March 8-21, 2025

Celebrity Cruises‘ Spain, Portugal and Bermuda transatlantic sailing from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale offers 13 nights aboard its newest ship, Celebrity Ascent. The sailing features port calls in Alicante, Spain; Gibraltar; Ponta Delgada; and King’s Wharf, along with eight sea days.

Accommodating 3,260 passengers, Celebrity Ascent is a megaship designed with adults in mind. On board, you’ll find multiple hot tubs but no waterslides, contemporary decor, 32 sophisticated food and beverage venues (including Voyages, Daniel Boulud’s restaurant at sea, bookable at extra cost), an indoor solarium pool, a glittering Grand Plaza housing the line’s signature Martini Bar, and nightly entertainment ranging from high-tech theater productions to multisensory events in Eden.

Inside cabin fares start at $1,353 per person and balcony cabin fares at $2,399 per person.

If you prefer to cross the Atlantic in spring 2025, take sister Edge Class ship Celebrity Apex, which carries 2,910 passengers. It will sail a 13-night Bermuda and Portugal transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona with port calls at Bermuda’s Royal Naval Dockyard; Ponta Delgada; and Valencia.

Inside cabins for that cruise start from $799 per person and balcony rooms from $1,272 per person.

Viking’s Viking Mars

The 930-passenger Viking Sea is an adults-only ship featuring sleek Scandinavian design. ALASTAIR MILLER/VIKING CRUISES20-night Atlantic and Mediterranean Horizons: March 27-April 16, 2025

Passengers aboard Viking Mars for its 20-night Atlantic and Mediterranean Horizons sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Rome will meander through the Caribbean to the French-Dutch island of St. Martin/St. Maarten. They will spend six days crossing the Atlantic and call on Madeira and then overnight in Barcelona. Then, they will visit the French ports of Sete and Marseille, followed by Monte Carlo, Monaco, and another overnight in Livorno, Italy (gateway to Florence).

The 930-passenger Viking Mars is an adults-only ship featuring a sleek Scandinavian design. Guests can enjoy elevated (and complimentary) dining in eight venues, as well as daily activities that include lectures by guest speakers and resident historians. (Viking bills itself as “the thinking person’s cruise.”)

They will also get unlimited access to the thermal suite at the Liv Nordic Spa, a main pool with a retractable roof (there’s also an aft infinity pool and hot tub), and complimentary beer and wine with lunch and dinner.

Better still, the transatlantic cruise fare is about one-third less than a typical three-week Viking itinerary, with balcony cabins starting at $7,198 per person.

Princess Cruises’ Sky Princess

Alfresco specialty dining on Sky Princess. PRINCESS CRUISES27-night Moroccan and Iberian Grand Adventure: March 9-April 5, 2025

To snag an excellent deal on an almost month-long journey, check out the 27-night Morocco and Iberian Grand Adventure. It sails from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton aboard the 3,660-passenger Sky Princess. Princess Cruises guests will enjoy a southerly spring crossing that culminates with visits to 10 ports in four countries (Portugal, Morocco, Spain and England) — including Madeira, three Canary Islands and Casablanca.

Sky Princess, which debuted in 2019, is a Royal Class ship featuring three pools, a glittering Italian-style Piazza (home to Alfredo’s Pizzeria — some of the best pizza at sea), four specialty dining venues (at an extra cost), poolside Movies Under the Stars and original production shows in the Princess Theater.

Inside cabins start at $2,847 per person and balcony cabins at $4,747 per person.

Related: The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Princess Cruises ship

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Splendor

Seven Seas Splendor. REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES14-night Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro: Jan. 5-19, 2025

If crossing the southern Atlantic Ocean from Africa to South America on a small luxury cruise ship is on your bucket list, consider Regent Seven Seas Cruises‘ early 2025 Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro sailing.

While not a bargain by any means, this 14-night itinerary aboard the 750-passenger, all-suite Seven Seas Splendor is all-inclusive. Business-class airfare, transfers, top-notch cuisine, unlimited beverages, gratuities, Wi-Fi and most shore excursions are all included in the fare.

Start by taking in the scenic beauty of Namibia, with a port call in Luderitz, known for its colorful colonial architecture. Another call is Walvis Bay, where the ship will overnight. Here, you’ll get a chance to experience the country’s dramatic sand dunes and resident flamingos. Then, as you cross the Atlantic, you’ll visit the remote island of St. Helena, where Napoleon died in exile, before continuing on to an overnight stay in Rio de Janeiro ahead of disembarkation.

All-inclusive fares start at $12,949 per person for a suite with a balcony.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Prima

Norwegian Prima. GENE SLOAN/THE POINTS GUY16-night Transatlantic (Italy, France and Spain): Nov. 7-23, 2024

Board in Rome and tour the Mediterranean in the shoulder season before crossing the Atlantic to New York on a November 2024 Norwegian Cruise Line cruise. The Transatlantic (Italy, France and Spain) sailing aboard Norwegian Prima visits Livorno (for Pisa and Florence); Cannes, France; Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Alicante, Malaga and Cadiz, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Ponta Delgada. You’ll spend six days at sea.

The 3,099-passenger Norwegian Prima, which debuted in 2022, features 14 restaurants (six included and eight specialty options for an added fee) and 19 bars and lounges. It also sports a three-level go-kart racetrack and virtual-reality gaming. Entertainment options include “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” stand-up comedy at The Improv at Sea and a rock cover band in Syd Norman’s Pour House.

Inside cabins start at $1,499 per person and balcony cabins at $2,199 per person.

Silversea Cruises’ Silver Ray

Artist’s rendering of Silver Ray. SILVERSEA CRUISES25-night Rome to Fort Lauderdale: Nov. 7-Dec. 2, 2025

Plan ahead to score a suite on the 25-night Rome to Fort Lauderdale transatlantic crossing in late 2025 aboard Silversea Cruises‘ newest all-suite luxury ship, Silver Ray, debuting in summer 2024.

Not only is the price all-inclusive, but the 728-passenger ship will visit 11 ports in five countries. You’ll experience Livorno; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Marseille; Valencia, Barcelona (overnight), Palma de Mallorca, Malaga and Cadiz, Spain; and Lisbon and Madeira. Then, you’ll cross the Atlantic and spend an overnight in Hamilton, Bermuda before disembarking in Fort Lauderdale.

Silver Ray is Silversea’s second Nova Class ship. It features spacious suites and inviting exterior and interior spaces perfect for late-season Mediterranean cruising and a cool-weather transatlantic crossing. Its culinary-focused S.A.L.T. (Sea and Land Taste) program tempts tastebuds with region- and port-inspired menus, cooking classes and cocktails.

All-inclusive, door-to-door fares — which include economy-class flights, transfers, complimentary beverages and gourmet dining, butler service, gratuities and select shore excursions — start at $13,100 per person for Classic Veranda Suite.

Bottom line

No matter your reason for considering a transatlantic cruise, you’re guaranteed to experience the secret magic of sea days, with ample time to relax and unwind. With no land in sight for roughly a week, you can enjoy the ship’s amenities without feeling rushed.

Make new friends over coffee or a game of bridge, watch movies in your cabin, learn more about the world during lectures by onboard experts, or treat yourself to rejuvenating massages and facials in the spa.

Even better, per-night rates are typically lower on crossings than on round-trip, port-intensive cruises. So, you can enjoy a longer sailing at a fraction of the usual cost. No matter which transatlantic cruise you deem best for your travel style and interests, it will surely be a memorable bucket-list trip.

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