Repositioning: Crossing the ocean with a good book and a blanket
By David G. Molyneaux, editor, TheTravelMavens.com
On a sleepy Sunday morning, I awoke in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
With each swell of the rolling sea, a hinge creaked as my bathroom door swung back and forth, back and forth, until irritation from the sound overcame the comforting lethargy of lying safely in a warm downy bed on a cruise ship 1,000 miles from the nearest speck of land.
Bathroom door latched, I headed outside for a chair on my little private balcony where the grays of the sky, without a hint of sun, matched those of the churning ocean. The balcony above shielded me from a light rain.
|The Emerald Princess, on a trans-Atlantic voyage from the Mediterranean, awaits a tender at anchor in Cannes, France. Photos by David G. Molyneaux|
The gloom of such inclement weather, with capricious seas, might dissuade even the most ardent cruisers from considering a trans-Atlantic voyage -- usually offered in spring and fall when cruise lines reposition their ships between winters in the Caribbean and summers in Europe.
But the crossings, more than a dozen each season, often run at nearly full capacity because thousands of sea lovers are willing to chance the weather for the rewards of the laid-back journey, with long days afloat and few, if any, port stops.
Besides, the price is good, usually less than $100 a day per person (for two) in an inside cabin -- I have seen prices as low as $70 a day -- and often less than $150 a day for an outside cabin with balcony.
My repositioning cruise in October 2007 was on the 3,100-passenger Emerald Princess, a new ship that spent the summer of 2007 in the Mediterranean and was headed across the Atlantic for a Caribbean winter.
The 17-day cruise began in Venice and ended in Ft. Lauderdale. The first 10 days were in the Mediterranean and around Spain to Lisbon. Of the last seven days, six were at sea, a journey of about 3,600 miles from Lisbon, with a stop in the Azores.
On that lazy Sunday morning in the middle of the Atlantic, I sat on my balcony with a book and a blanket, well satisfied with the grayness and moisture in the tangy sea air.
Soon, the cabin steward would bring my regular morning melons, muffins, milk and a pot of coffee. The day ahead offered several hundred pages of reading, several hours of writing in my journal, some exercise on the deck, perhaps a movie, a nap, a fine dinner, evening entertainment and another 500 miles closer to Florida.
What was not to like?
First of five pages of an ocean journey. Next: Passengers are older, quieter
David Molyneaux is a blogger at TravelMaven.typepad.com.
This article appeared in The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Jan. 27, 2008; Dallas Morning News, Feb. 3, 2008; Chicago Tribune, Feb. 10, 2008, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Feb. 10, 2008.