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Crossing Atlantic

first : Hi my name is Arthur. I want to go to Europe to see my relatives for 11 years but I cannot fly. So I decided to take a ship to Europe. Some people say Queen Mary 2 is the best but North Atlantic is bad. Some say take repositioning ships from Florida to Europe. They say south Atlantic is calmer. I cannot take any storms. Is that true ?

second : How safe are this cruise ships ?

Please give me an advice. I need help.

Thank you.

Posted by
8889 posts

Arthur, For info on crossing the Atlantic on the QM", see here: https://www.seat61.com/queen-mary-2-transatlantic.htm

That site is the resource for travelling by train around Europe, so you should read through it. You don't say where in Europe your relatives are, but I guess some train travel will be involved.

The North Atlantic has a bad reputation for storms in Winter, but Summer should be OK, and ships like the QM2 are big and stable.
I don't think the south Atlantic is any better, and I doubt there are any passenger boats there (South America to Africa?), and you need to get to and from those places.

I would say cruise ships are totally safe. The last big on to crash was called SS Titanic.

Quote: The Man in Seat Sixty-One says: "From personal experience, I now realise that staggering round a transatlantic liner in a dinner jacket with a martini is the normal, rational, reasonable way to cross the Atlantic. Heading for an airport and strapping yourself to a flimsy aluminium tube is an unfortunate and eccentric aberration."

Posted by
8889 posts

I am traveling from Florida to Spain. Do you think it is safe ?

Do you mean Florida, or Spain, or travelling between the two by ship?
Frankly, questions about a place being "safe" appear on this forum regularly. And they are difficult to answer. Of course its safe, me and thousands of other travel every day. Is where you live now safe?
And what do you mean by safe? If you step out into a major road without looking, you stand a higher risk of getting hit by a car than you do sitting in a café. Boats sink, aircraft crash (or just disappear), people get robbed and people die hiking in the Alps with inadequate clothing, but all are very rare. When they do happen, the people affected are more likely to post their stories on the Internet than the 1000's who nothing happened to.

If you are going from Florida to Spain by boat on the QM2, you would need to get first to New York (Train?) and from Southampton to Spain. For how to do the latter by train see here: https://www.seat61.com/Spain.htm

Posted by
10 posts

I live in California. The cruise ship travels from Florida to Spain. Its Celebrity cruising. Queen Mary crosses North Atlantic. I get scared from storms thats why I don't want North Atlantic. My question is how safe is Traveling with cruise ship (not ocean liner ) ? I have been through a lot last ten years and I want to get there safe. Some people told me south Atlantic has less storms than north especially in Fall and Spring months. Thank you.

Posted by
5019 posts

Nothing is safe. Everything is safe. Which do you want to hear?

Your question is not rational.

Of course it's "safe." Does that mean there's a 100% guarantee that you'll make it OK? Nope, there are no guarantees in life (except you know, death and taxes). You get on a plane or a ship, anything could happen - terrorists could attack, an asteroid could destroy the earth, there could be a nuclear war, or an outbreak of Ebola. Godzilla could rise from the ocean and crush the ship. Aliens could land on Earth and eat everyone. We could all be sucked into a black hole. The Easter Bunny could go on a rampage and kill everyone. But all of those things are just as likely to happen right where you are at this moment, too, so is it any more "safe" to stay at home? Don't think so.

If you want to go to Europe, taking a ship to get there (or flying, for that matter), is just as "safe" as whatever you are doing right now.

Posted by
8889 posts

Arthur, a note on nomenclature. The North Atlantic is the part north of the Equator, the South Atlantic is south of the Equator, between South America and Africa. Click here for a map
This is why your post misled me. Both New York to Southampton and Florida to Spain are North Atlantic.

That said, the further north you get in the Atlantic, the more likely to have storms in spring and autumn. But this should still not be an issue.
If you have already decided on the Florida-Spain route I see no reason to change your mind. Modern ships are "safe" (whatever that means).

BTW, where are you going after you land in Spain? And where exactly in Spain are you landing?

Posted by
23550 posts

Perhaps it would help is you explain a little your phobias and worries. We are all anonymous here and we all have various worries and concerns. Sharing them allows us to deal with them and overcome or get around them. We can help.

How will you get from California to the East Coast? If you don't want to fly that probably means bus, car or train. Which do you prefer?

Have you ever been on a large ship before?

I have been on many. As a child my family crossed and recrossed the Atlantic by ship nearly every year between New York and Southampton. I'm still here to tell the tale.

Please tell us exactly what you worry about crossing the Atlantic. If it is storms, what is it about storms that worries you?

Posted by
8293 posts

If sea sickness worries you, there are remedies for that. The QM2 is an ocean liner especially designed and built for heavy seas. Cross on it and you will be comfortable and "safe". Your use of the word "safe" puzzles me. What do you think can possibly be unsafe about a cruise ship? You could fall off a deck into the sea, I suppose ........ do you think that is likely? Or a jealous husband could attack you if he thinks you are flirting with his wife. Is that likely to happen?

But if, as you say, you cannot fly and you are too afraid to go by sea, then you will never see your relatives.

Posted by
3947 posts

I'm guessing you have a fear of flying, it would also appear that you have a fear of sailing also but probably on a lesser scale than flying. I'm not sure that there's anything anyone can say that will reassure you completely so my recommendation would be to bite the bullet and fly to Spain. Better to be worried for 12 hours than be worried for 7 days.

Posted by
6798 posts

When I crossed Barcelona to Florida, we hit the tail end of two different storms. A ship sailing south of us from Spain to Puerto Rico hit nothing. There are no guarantees.

Posted by
8293 posts

I am reminded by Bets’ post (above) that we did a transatlantic crossing one year from Florida to Rome. Very rough seas as we approached Spain, ship had to forego port stop in the Azores.

Posted by
6543 posts

Almost sounds like a scam posting. His first.

Posted by
1403 posts

I took the Norwegian Star last April from Miami to Barcelona. Great cruise. Only one day with any significant swells. Captain said it was his smoothest crossing.

Posted by
2464 posts

The QM2 has been sailing the NY to Southampton route since 2004 without sinking once, so from that standpoint she's very safe. She's also the only ship currently sailing that is a cruise liner, built specifically to handle the rougher waters of the northern N. Atlantic route. The worst that will happen is a case of seasickness and the closure of the pool and Promenade deck, should you encounter a bad storm. You could just as likely (or more likely) encounter flat seas for the whole week. Ship's captains have the authority to divert their ships around the worst of a storm at their discretion. They want their ship, crew, and passengers to be safe just as much as you do.

The Celebrity TA will be a single repositioning cruise in the spring, so your window of opportunity is much narrower. It will also take a lot longer to get to your destination. Taking the southern N. Atlantic route is no safer, statistically. Modern cruise ships are certainly safe to sail the oceans. Otherwise do you think the companies would risk a ship worth hundreds of millions of dollars sailing a route that would put their investment at risk?

I'd also like to point out that at least one of your cruises, either to or from Europe, will have to be on the northern route. The cruise ships make one sailing to Europe in EARLY spring, and don't return to North America until LATE in the fall. Due to Schengen rules, you can only stay in Europe for 90 day max in any 180 day period, so you couldn't stay long enough to do the southern route in both directions.

You might want to get some professional help dealing with your phobias so you can enjoy the world outside your own borders.

Posted by
10 posts

First of all thank you guys for your advice. I read all the replies and appreciate that. Some of you said driving car or crossing the street could be dangerous. I understand all that. Some of you asked what kind of danger . My main worry id if we get into storm what are the chances that the ship will sink ? and should I change it to Queen Mary 2 to be safer ?

Posted by
7633 posts

As was noted above, no ship has sunk since the Titanic. I like your odds.

Posted by
10 posts

Chris you asked me Where am I going in Europe ? Holland . Some people say Queen Mary 2 can handle storms better than cruise ships. But like you said Norther you go more chances for storms, Do you think if I go in June with Queen Mary is better ? What I am worried about is what if something happens in the middle of the ocean and ship sinks ? What will we do ?

Posted by
8293 posts

It is over 100 years since an ocean liner sank. But if this whole idea is so frightening and worrisome, then you need to stay in .the USA and have your relatives visit you.

Posted by
10 posts

CJean . Thanks for the advice. I used to fly. I used to cruise . then something out of nowhere happened to me that I can't travel. I love traveling but I an not able because I can't cross the ocean. This phobias that I have now made my life a hell. Its been 11 years I can't go to Europe to see my relatives in Holland. There was a time I was not like this . Want to ask if I take Queen Mary 2 in June will it be better ? What worries me is what if something happens and we have to evacuate ? will someone come help us ? If its smooth I understand but what if it's stormy. How we going to survive ?

Posted by
10 posts

Norma I am not worried about seasickness . What I mean by safe is what if something happens and we have to evacuate and its stormy in the ocean ? Whats going to happen ? I don't have much info about this conditions . My question may surprise some but I desperate to get some answers . I have this Phobias I don't know where they came from . I used to fly and cruise. . 11 years I can't because of this crossing issue. My life is like hell. Hope you will understand my concerns . Thank you.

Posted by
8293 posts

I do understand your concerns but you need to realise that none of us can help you overcome your phobias, nor can we guarantee that your ship will not run into bad weather, will not sink or have any other disaster. In your original post you wrote "I need help". Yes, you do but no one here, sadly, can give you what you need.

Posted by
1164 posts

Just look at it scientifically using facts and empirical evidence.

*Americans have a 1 in 114 chance of dying in a car crash, according to the National Safety Council. The odds of dying in air and space transport incidents, which include private flights and air taxis, are 1 in 9,821."

The odds are even less for a cruise ship sinking.

Posted by
23550 posts

If you think back to what you have read or seen about the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, there have been many many improvements to the safety since then - so many that it has been a very long time since a liner or cruise ship sank on the transatlantic crossing, and lifesaving is vastly improved.

Now there is radar so that the ship can see far into the distance, they have GPS so they know exactly where they are, and they have a radio beacon which broadcasts exactly where they at all times, so other ships and aircraft know where they are too.

Radio is now voice instead of Morse Code, and takes place on many frequencies - and the ships have satellite phones too so that they just have to make a phone call if they need help.

The ships these days travel with motorized lifeboats designed to take all the people on the ship plus some, they are self-righting, and have rations for a lot of people for a long time. They also carry lots of rafts, and there are always enough lifejackets. As you will remember from your cruising days the ship will have a drill soon after sailing when all this is explained to you.

The advantage that modern ships have is that they can be told the weather and the weather forecast several days ahead and can alter course to avoid the worst storms. The Captains are used to navigating around the worst weather and are competent at it.

I hope that you can get sufficient help to rise past your hurdles and visit the Netherlands. It is a beautiful place and I like it very much - the people are so nice.

Good luck on your journey...

Posted by
2378 posts

Honestly, I think the safety of big US airlines is better regulated than that of cruise ships. Personally, I am way more concerned about the possibility of a flu pandemic than I am about flying or cruise ships.

Posted by
5019 posts

OP does need help (or is just trolling), but this is not the place he/she can get the help needed. They need to spend some time with a therapist or other psych professional. Anything said here is a complete waste of their and your time.

OP, if you really are sincere (about which I have some doubts), go seek professional help (not from a travel agent).

Posted by
3947 posts

As was noted above, no ship has sunk since the Titanic. I like your odds.

Unfortunately this link confirms otherwise: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_maritime_disasters_in_the_20th_century

As for the OP, nothing any of us can say will alleviate your concerns. If the ship you're on starts to sink in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean then there's really not much help available. Any ships in the immediate vicinity would come to your aid but they may be many hours or days away. If you're fortunate enough to make it onto the lifeboats then your chances of rescue and survival increase but if you're in the water then it's not looking good.

There's no way to sugar coat it, that's the reality and if you cannot overcome the idea of such a remote possibility then there's nothing that any of us can write that will assist you.

Posted by
20625 posts

Folks, keep in mind, that when dealing with irrational fears -- that is what phobias are -- no amount of scientific fact, evidence, logic, etc., etc., will make any difference because there will always be a counter. Seriously, does anyone with a rational mind worry about a cruise ship sinking? Of course not, because the probability is about .0001% of zero. There is always the possibility of a meteor hitting a ship.

To the OP, if you truly have issues with phobias, then you need professional help and perhaps some medication but get the help first because there is no way for anyone here to be of assistance to you since you will reject nearly everything we say. If on the other hand, you are just playing with well intention travel folks who have a sincere interest in helping you -- move on.

Posted by
8609 posts

Forget about all the advice here. Your first step should be to talk to a therapist of some type to get over your fears. As Frank stated, no amount of travel advice is going to help you as long as you have these fears.

The "what if's" can be paralyzing.

Posted by
1949 posts

Mike --

I'm telling you. Table tray. Lick it.

Posted by
5308 posts

@arthur, as a fellow Californian (third generation) I would wonder whether you also worry about earthquakes and wildfires which have been actual and potential occurrences in my life since my childhood.
Just don't watch The Poseidon Adventure -- creepy!!

Posted by
10 posts

Hello everyone. Thanks again for your advices. Believe me or not you have already helped me . Some of you believe I am messing around. NO. I live in California and I am not afraid of Earthquakes and wildfires. I see them a lot unfortunately. But I do have some phobia crossing the Atlantic. I spoke with some friends and explained them the situation and talking to them already made me feel good. Some of them even agreed to cross the Atlantic with me in 2020 crossing that will cross near the land from North. Halifax Canada, Newfoundland Canada , 3 days on see , pass near Greenland to Iceland, One day at see and UK. I will probably take that crossing with friends. Thank you guys very much. Wish me good luck.

Posted by
8293 posts

If, as you said previously, you cannot fly, how do you plan to get from California to the east coast of Canada?

Posted by
2464 posts

Norma, it sounds very much like he is looking at the QM2 sailing out of NY. The northern TA route follows the path he described. As for how he'll get there, I imagine he'll do it the hard way - either driving or the train.

Posted by
8293 posts

I see. Some QM2 crossings are 5 days but most are a couple of days longer, all the better to enjoy the crossing, I suppose. Well, I wish the OP luck and happiness at having conquered his fears. I still want to hear his plans for getting to the east coast from California and for crossing back from Europe by sea.

Posted by
10 posts

Norma like I said I don't fly. I used to a lot but unfortunately not any more. And for traveling from California to New York I will either drive or take the Amtrak. 3 days to get there. I have done it before . Thanks again for your time.

Posted by
5308 posts

And have a great time on Amtrak -- I have gone cross-country twice in a sleeper (Emeryville-Hartford) and loved it. You might want to build in an extra day for random delays, though.

Posted by
12099 posts

If I chose not to fly getting from Calif to somewhere on the east coast, I would take Amtrak too, or even going to Texas or to New Orleans, it would be the train option, likewise DC to New York.

Would you take the ferry say from Germany to Helsinki or fly? The ferry is no problem if you don't mind a voyage of ca. 26 hours, I don't mind. I took the ferry once crossing the North Sea, yes, the water was churning, no storm but not calm either. Watching this I didn't think anything of it. That was crossing from Germany to England.

Posted by
10 posts

From UK there are ferries from Dover , UK to Calais, France. It takes 90 minutes to cross the English Channel.

Posted by
12099 posts

From England are several ferry connections to the continent, all depends on the point of departure and your destination, Calais, Boulogne-sur-Mer, St. Malo, Holland, etc I did the ferry route once, it was from Folkestone to Boulogne. Now, I am too lazy and opt for the EuroStar but the ferry connection from Portsmouth to St Malo is one option I have in mind to do.

Posted by
8889 posts

Arthur, a word about the cross-channel ferries between Dover and Calais.
These are the cut-price end of the market. They survive by undercutting vehicle transport through the Channel Tunnel. Minimum facilities, basic service and of course slower than using the Channel Tunnel.
They do not cater much for foot passengers, no profit in foot fares. You would need to get a taxi from Dover station to the ferry terminal, and again from Calais ferry terminal to Calais station. This would all take many hours.

If you do want to get from London to Paris "on foot" (not driving a car), the best way is the Eurostar High Speed trains through the Channel Tunnel. One departure per hour, 2h15 central London to central Paris, faster than flying. Details here: https://www.eurostar.com