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Hi Everyone - I have cruised Caribbean, Baltics and Mediterranean on RCL, NCL, Disney and Princess.  For some reason I feel the pull to try a TransAtlantic and as I near my retirement in my late 50s, I'm thinking now is the time to get some serious researching on the go!  I've read through many threads in this forum and gained some valuable info, but I still have some random questions I hope you can help with...my initial thoughts are a Westbound cruise Oct/Nov 2022 or 2023

1) Is there one site or a list somewhere that puts all the TransAtlantic cruises (cruiselines/ships/ports/dates) together so I can compare itineraries and choose a route and date?

2) Is it possible to join a transatlantic at a port that is not the starting port?  I see some cruises have a stop in Halifax - could I fly from Toronto to Halifax and join the cruise there instead of the Florida start port?  (Also was looking at Transpacifics for future and wondered if I could fly to Tahiti and spend a few days on my own there and then join the cruise in Papeete and carry on to their islands and Hawaii?)

3) We prefer balconies, but feel like from what I've read that a balcony is probably not used all that much due to wind/cold.  I don't think I'd want an interior for the entire trip, but maybe could save a bit with an ocean view.  However, with the recent events of virus outbreaks, I'm wondering if I'd be wise to book a balcony so we could get fresh air if ever confined to cabin!?  Would love to hear peoples thoughts on this!

4) are there ever opportunities to upgrade at checkin from oceanview to balcony or suite?   I've often booked cruises with the big box chain - is there an advantage to booking direct with the cruiseline instead - ie) easier to upgrade?

5) is the pool deck used much or is it just too cold and most of the days are spent inside the ship? 

6) How is the wifi during the sea days in middle of ocean (husband may not still be retired so he may have to "check-in")? 

Thanks for any help!  Jo

 

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51 minutes ago, skatie said:

Hi Everyone - I have cruised Caribbean, Baltics and Mediterranean on RCL, NCL, Disney and Princess.  For some reason I feel the pull to try a TransAtlantic and as I near my retirement in my late 50s, I'm thinking now is the time to get some serious researching on the go!  I've read through many threads in this forum and gained some valuable info, but I still have some random questions I hope you can help with...my initial thoughts are a Westbound cruise Oct/Nov 2022 or 2023

1) Is there one site or a list somewhere that puts all the TransAtlantic cruises (cruiselines/ships/ports/dates) together so I can compare itineraries and choose a route and date?

I've seen references to 'cruisetimetables.com' as a useful reference site.

We are local to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, and Cunard has most of the transatlantic crossings, so we have not really looked at other options [look to see what is available between the eastbound and westbound crossings].

51 minutes ago, skatie said:

2) Is it possible to join a transatlantic at a port that is not the starting port?  I see some cruises have a stop in Halifax - could I fly from Toronto to Halifax and join the cruise there instead of the Florida start port?  (Also was looking at Transpacifics for future and wondered if I could fly to Tahiti and spend a few days on my own there and then join the cruise in Papeete and carry on to their islands and Hawaii?)

This will vary with the cruise line, and the current CDC and other government regulations.

Back in 2010, there were passengers boarding QM2 in Halifax with transatlantic crossings booked to Southampton.

In recent years, Cunard has scheduled Quebec to NYC, followed by a transatlantic as one number cruise.

51 minutes ago, skatie said:

3) We prefer balconies, but feel like from what I've read that a balcony is probably not used all that much due to wind/cold.  I don't think I'd want an interior for the entire trip, but maybe could save a bit with an ocean view.  However, with the recent events of virus outbreaks, I'm wondering if I'd be wise to book a balcony so we could get fresh air if ever confined to cabin!?  Would love to hear peoples thoughts on this!

Our preferred category is what is labeled a 'sheltered' balcony on QM2.

There is discussion [and pictures] about this category over on the Cunard forum.

51 minutes ago, skatie said:

4) are there ever opportunities to upgrade at checkin from oceanview to balcony or suite?   I've often booked cruises with the big box chain - is there an advantage to booking direct with the cruiseline instead - ie) easier to upgrade?

There is no predicting the actions of the 'upgrade fairy'.

You should pick the room, or at least the category you would be comfortable with. Some lines apparently will have an upsell strategy - get a 'higher' category cabin at a discounted price. The upgrade fairy does not charge extra for its gifts - but somewhere the cruise line is maximizing revenue.

51 minutes ago, skatie said:

5) is the pool deck used much or is it just too cold and most of the days are spent inside the ship? 

It varies.

I have seen folks using the 'Terrace' pool [Deck 8] on QM2 on all of our crossings so far [September and October] with few folks lounging by the pool [loungers were mostly by the indoor 'Pavilion' pool]. 

51 minutes ago, skatie said:

6) How is the wifi during the sea days in middle of ocean (husband may not still be retired so he may have to "check-in")? 

Wifi is by satellite - its pretty much the same everywhere. I would not expect that to change until something disruptive [SpaceX Starlink] is adopted.

51 minutes ago, skatie said:

Thanks for any help!  Jo

 

 

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1 hour ago, skatie said:

Hi Everyone - I have cruised Caribbean, Baltics and Mediterranean on RCL, NCL, Disney and Princess.  For some reason I feel the pull to try a TransAtlantic and as I near my retirement in my late 50s, I'm thinking now is the time to get some serious researching on the go!  I've read through many threads in this forum and gained some valuable info, but I still have some random questions I hope you can help with...my initial thoughts are a Westbound cruise Oct/Nov 2022 or 2023 - with the exception of possibly QM2 and other TA Cunarders, most Westbound cruises take a southern routing to avoid weather and the adverse currents of the Gulf Stream/North Atlantic Drift.

1) Is there one site or a list somewhere that puts all the TransAtlantic cruises (cruiselines/ships/ports/dates) together so I can compare itineraries and choose a route and date? Some of the 3rd party websites will give you list of cruises across a number of Lines, but not aware of any website with a search function that lists only TA's. You can use the respective cruise line websites or a good Travel Agent.

2) Is it possible to join a transatlantic at a port that is not the starting port?  I see some cruises have a stop in Halifax - could I fly from Toronto to Halifax and join the cruise there instead of the Florida start port?  (Also was looking at Transpacifics for future and wondered if I could fly to Tahiti and spend a few days on my own there and then join the cruise in Papeete and carry on to their islands and Hawaii?) This is a question to ask the cruise lines directly, some may permit.

3) We prefer balconies, but feel like from what I've read that a balcony is probably not used all that much due to wind/cold.  I don't think I'd want an interior for the entire trip, but maybe could save a bit with an ocean view.  However, with the recent events of virus outbreaks, I'm wondering if I'd be wise to book a balcony so we could get fresh air if ever confined to cabin!?  Would love to hear peoples thoughts on this! With COVID issues, suggest checking with the cruise lines to determine what, if any, changes were made to upgrade the HVAC systems. Our preferred cruise line has published this information. We have used our balcony many times when cooler, just bundle up. On our preferred Line they only have balconies, no inside or OV, so we are happy with a balcony regardless of itinerary. You can also search for the many excellent posts from our resident Chief Engineer, who has explained cruise ship HVAC systems.

4) are there ever opportunities to upgrade at checkin from oceanview to balcony or suite?   I've often booked cruises with the big box chain - is there an advantage to booking direct with the cruiseline instead - ie) easier to upgrade? We always do the research ourselves and then use a TA for the OBC. Not interested in upgrades, as we book a cabin based on specific locations on the ship. We have declined numerous "upgrades" as they are generally always in less desireable locations.

5) is the pool deck used much or is it just too cold and most of the days are spent inside the ship? We find pool deck usage depends on the pax interests and age. On our last World Cruise the pool usage was fairly consistent, little busier on hot days, but never a problem getting space.

6) How is the wifi during the sea days in middle of ocean (husband may not still be retired so he may have to "check-in")? Most satellites are in geo-stationary orbit at the equator, so on a Westbound TA, you should receive consistent signal. Signals start to deteriorate in high Latitudes, as the satellite altitude is lower and when cruising northern Fjiords the low altitude satellites can be blocked by mountains.

Thanks for any help!  Jo

 

 

Please see answers in red

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/2/2021 at 8:54 AM, skatie said:

 

3) We prefer balconies, but feel like from what I've read that a balcony is probably not used all that much due to wind/cold.  I don't think I'd want an interior for the entire trip, but maybe could save a bit with an ocean view.  However, with the recent events of virus outbreaks, I'm wondering if I'd be wise to book a balcony so we could get fresh air if ever confined to cabin!?  Would love to hear peoples thoughts on this!

4) are there ever opportunities to upgrade at checkin from oceanview to balcony or suite?   I've often booked cruises with the big box chain - is there an advantage to booking direct with the cruiseline instead - ie) easier to upgrade?

5) is the pool deck used much or is it just too cold and most of the days are spent inside the ship? 

6) How is the wifi during the sea days in middle of ocean (husband may not still be retired so he may have to "check-in")? 

Thanks for any help!  Jo

 

We have done 1 Eastbound TA and 5 westbound mostly on Oasis class ships, usually Europe to Florida. We have had a balcony every time and always on the sunny side of the ship. Depending on which direction you go the sun never makes to the other side. Absolutely love them.  Pools are always crowded and it has always been warm to very hot on sea days after the first or second day. Almost impossible to upgrade at the pier.  We always use a TA to pick up the perks, A few times Royal Caribbean runs a special and we book with them, but turn the booking over to a TA in the next few days, again to pick up the perks. It seems like we always lose a day of wifi when well out to sea.  If you like the mega ships a TA on Oasis Class is awesome as they sail with 1200 fewer kids. 

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On 2/2/2021 at 10:54 AM, skatie said:

1) Is there one site or a list somewhere that puts all the TransAtlantic cruises (cruiselines/ships/ports/dates) together so I can compare itineraries and choose a route and date?

 

3) We prefer balconies, but feel like from what I've read that a balcony is probably not used all that much due to wind/cold.  I don't think I'd want an interior for the entire trip, but maybe could save a bit with an ocean view.  However, with the recent events of virus outbreaks, I'm wondering if I'd be wise to book a balcony so we could get fresh air if ever confined to cabin!? 

 

5) is the pool deck used much or is it just too cold and most of the days are spent inside the ship? 

 

6) How is the wifi during the sea days in middle of ocean (husband may not still be retired so he may have to "check-in")? 

1) The site I use is ***** - they have a selection for TransAtlantic and TransPacific

Edit: Just saw they (CC) blank out the name of the site - PM me and I will let you know

 

3) I really like the Balcony - even in the cooler weather - just put on a blanket or two (ask your steward). In these days of possible quarantines - even for being near somebody infected - or a temperature - wouldn't you really rather be on a balcony (think of the images of the original ships the had outbreaks).

Note: we get a starboard (right) side for east bound cruise and a port (left) side for West bound cruises - More sunshine

 

5) Pool decks are used - the ships i have been on have typically had a section that was covered and somewhat heated. they were normally adult only sections- but during cold periods they let the kiddos in (Not many kids on these cruises as they are typically when kids are in school.)

 

6) WiFi can be degraded as the satellite antennas are tuned to cover land masses mostly. Effect is that data rates are reduced to keep the Bit Error Rate constant - in short - less bandwidth in the middle of the ocean. Only known remedy is to retire. Besides - on a TA/TP you are supposed to be looking at the waves - and not at your screen/cell phone.

 

We really really love the long days at sea without the distraction of port visits. It is kind of like when I was still riding my motorcycle - It was the going there that was fun, not so much the getting there.

Edited by RGEDad
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2 hours ago, RGEDad said:

1) The site I use is ***** - they have a selection for TransAtlantic and TransPacific

Edit: Just saw they (CC) blank out the name of the site - PM me and I will let you know

 

 

CC rules do not permit the naming of Travel Agents, nor are we permitted to establish contact by other means. Please note the PM function does not work.

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2 hours ago, RGEDad said:

6) WiFi can be degraded as the satellite antennas are tuned to cover land masses mostly. Effect is that data rates are reduced to keep the Bit Error Rate constant - in short - less bandwidth in the middle of the ocean. Only known remedy is to retire. Besides - on a TA/TP you are supposed to be looking at the waves - and not at your screen/cell phone.

 

 

Although some coastal ships use shore based signals, most cruise ship communications Tx/Rx using satellites in Geo-Stationary orbit, at the Equator. Therefore, when sailing in lower Latitudes, the satellites have a high altitude, so are rarely obscured by land masses. When sailing in high latitudes - Alaska, Norway, Antartica, etc the satellites have a low altitude, therefore are more susceptible to blockage by land masses.

 

This is common when navigating fjords and another example is the Princess Berth in Skagway. When the sats are blocked by land, in my experience it isn't reduced data rates, it is a complete loss of signal. 

 

When experiencing bandwidth issue mid-ocean, we find it caused mostly by Latitude and volume of traffic. Also, certain parts of the World have poor signal, with parts of Indian Ocean being poor.

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