Sunset aboard a cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean

Everything You Need to Know about a Transatlantic Cruise

Welcome aboard the adventure of a lifetime – the transatlantic cruise! Combining the charm of a classic ocean voyage with the modern amenities of a luxury cruise ship, transatlantic cruises offer a unique and unforgettable travel experience.

Picture yourself crossing the vast Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the beauty of endless water, feeling the gentle sway of the ship, and indulging in world-class cuisine and entertainment. Whether you are a seasoned traveller looking to explore new horizons or a cruise enthusiast seeking a different kind of voyage, a transatlantic cruise is the perfect choice.

What is a Transatlantic Cruise?

But what exactly is a transatlantic cruise? Simply put, it is a voyage that takes you from one side of the Atlantic Ocean to the other, typically connecting two continents – North America and Europe. These cruises offer a distinctive blend of relaxation and adventure, allowing you to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life while exploring exciting ports of call along the way.

Why we chose a Transatlantic Cruise?

As we travel full time, tourist VISAs party determine where we explore. We had to leave Europe due to VISAs and we weren’t keen for another UK explore in winter (the summer was wet and cold enough) so we decided to cross the Atlantic and head to the USA and do a proper winter in the snow and reset the VISAs while we were at it.

After a lot of research we found a Royal Caribbean Transatlantic cruise which was a bargain compared to flights, food and accommodation costs for the same period of time. PLUS we get a holiday as we go (by holiday I mean no cooking, fun activities and adventures and limited cleaning things that we still do even though we live this ‘holiday’ life), and a whole new experience for Aria, including kids club!!!! Added bonus – the time zone transition is easier when you do an hour at a time over a few days rather than 7 hours in one flight.

A lot of concerns we hear about are the number of days at sea. We have completed 2 Transatlantic Cruises now (one of which was 8 years ago for our honeymoon) and the 6 days at sea in the middle aren’t as bad as they seem. The days do just disappear and you will aske yourself on day 5, is it day 5 already? You will have ample time to immerse yourself in the vast array of onboard activities and entertainment options or simply wine and dine, or relax by the pool or in the spa. You can indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments, challenge yourself with a game of various options, attend captivating lectures, or even learn a new skill.

Details of our cruise:

This Royal Caribbean cruise suited our dates, price and was a recommended kids cruise ship.

So a 14 night Transatlantic cruise leaving from Barcelona, with 3 port stops and 6 days at sea all at once across the Atlantic Ocean (other sea days between ports too). I do get seasick so we booked a room as low as possible and as centre as possible with a window to help reduce the motion as much as possible. We also booked just the one room with the double bed and bunk for Aria.

We left our accommodation in Barcelona via a large taxi (we tried uber but they couldn’t fit our luggage and snow gear) and were dropped right at the terminal which was about a 10 minute drive. The check in process was easy as we had all documents uploaded to the account etc in advance as requested, and even though we had a set boarding time, when we arrived early, prepared to wait around, they didn’t mind and welcomed us aboard immediately so we could enjoy the facilities right away, including the buffet!


Be WARNED! You will GAIN weight when cruising! (Maybe even just by looking at these pics too). Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

No transatlantic cruise experience would be complete without delectable dining options, you do really eat well on a cruise. On our particular ship (and like most cruise ships) there is always somewhere to get food from, be in the buffet (the Windjammer aka Foodjammer), the dining room (My Fair Lady), the cafes/bars, the ice-cream stand, and the Pizza Bar (The Park Cafe), (plus the fancy dancy paid steak house restaurant which we didn’t do as it is rather expensive, especially when there are all the other included options).
Along with always having somewhere to get food, there is always a lot to choose from – entrees, mains, desserts, salads, sides, drinks.

Some of the regular stations in the buffet were the burger station, the stir-fry station, the salad station and the curry station. Plus every day was a different theme such as Indian night, French night, Italian night, etc, with dishes specific to these themes.

In the dining room there are menu’s that you select entree, main and dessert from and if you want two entrees for e.g. you can just ask for another. Soooo much food!!

Overall the food is generally quite good, sometimes excellent and occasionally average. We did get quite a few repeated dishes as the menu’s are more designed for 7 night cruises. The food in the Main Dining room was consistently a bit better than the buffet, but we did enjoy the freedom of picking bits of a lot of things in the buffet rather than just the one dish.

Some of our favourite dishes were Sashimi tuna, French onion soup, prime rib, Lamb Shank, Beef Wellington, Rack of Lamb, the goblet of fruit (Aria), plus a bunch of yummy desserts.

Dietary Requirements while cruising:

Gluten Free (& other allergies) eating on board – something I couldn’t find much info about before we went.

Putting it simply, you can pretty much ask for anything to be made gluten free. Most of the time there is an option at both the buffet and on the main dining menu that is gluten free in all courses, however I do not eat seafood and a few other things which made it a little trickier. They do have labels on the dishes in the buffet and you can ask the waiters in the dining room.

After feeling lost for the first 3 days about knowing what I could eat, complaining at the buffet there wasn’t any gluten free options and being told I could go get a GF pizza from the Pizza bar, I went to Guest Services to ask the process or if there was a list available etc. I was then taken to the Restaurant Manager. He assured me that I could ask for anything to be made gluten free, just talk to the head waiter each time in the dining room and head chefs in the buffet.

In the dining room they also made sure I was seated in the same area with the same head waiter each time so she knew my allergies and I could even pre-order gluten free pancakes or waffles the night before for breakfast. (Same for lunch and dinner).
If I didn’t know if we were going to the dining room or what I wanted, I could ask for whatever to be made, it just took a little longer.

In the buffet, each meal time I met with the head chef who walked me around to confirm what I could and couldn’t eat. He also cooked up fresh stir-fry veg if I wanted since I am also allergic to capsicum and they love the stuff! I also had a guided tour of the desserts and on occasions had desserts put aside behind in the fridge that were gluten free to make sure I got some!

Dan is lactose intolerant and every morning in the buffet Robert, one of the drinks waiters, would have a warm jug of lactose free milk on his cart ready for Dan to make a hot chocolate or coffee.

One thing that let the whole process down was other passengers not realising or caring about cross contamination of utensils. This made the buffet a bit trickier for those with extreme allergies.
It also would have been good to have a list of basics available and info about asking when boarding though, even just placed in our room, since my allergies were on our booking info in advance. I’m talking GF bread for sandwiches or toast, GF buns for burgers, GF cookies at any time, GF pizza (made to order), GF pasta available on request, say that find the head chef and get a walk around, pre-order you food, etc etc.

Overall once I got the hang of being able to ask, get the walk around, and that anything was possible I had wonderful GF meals and service!

Port Stops

On a Transatlantic Cruise, you still get to make some port stops, even though the purpose is to get across the ocean. As the ships docks at various ports, you’ll step ashore to explore iconic cities and hidden gems. One thing you’ll find is that all cruise lines and ships go to various countries and ports and the number of port stops also vary. This is predetermined by many factors but rest assured, all ports are wonderful adventures.

Our ports for this Transatlantic Cruise:

Port #1 – Disembarking for a captivating day in Malaga, Spain! Dan and I have actually been here before (on our honeymoon cruise back in 2015) so we were excited to show Aria our favourite view point that we remembered from last visit.

We walked along the port from the cruise ship terminal into the the vibrant main city centre, soaking in the culture and history. We stopped at the Kapok Tree which was in full bloom, the Cathedral before walking past the Alcazaba and ascending to the historic Gibralfaro Castle for panoramic views. A perfect blend of history and charm. The castle itself is quite well maintained with some information dotted around. We loved the indoor museum with a 3D model of the old city, the walls and the connections between the three main areas. Once we wandered the castle more and descended, we could still see the connections and imagine what it used to be like.

Port #2 – Ponta Delgada, on São Miguel Island, is the capital of the Azores archipelago of Portugal. We hired a car for the day for $30 to explore the island at our pace. The lakes and coastline are really what makes this island special. We didn’t have the best weather but we made the most of what we could.

We did a loop around starting at driving through the farmland towards Furnas Lake, which was stunning with an amazing church building at one end. We continued to Furnas town, before heading north to Miradouro de Santa Iria lookout, which reminded us of some of the GOR cliffs but greener.
We continued along to Lagoa Azul (better known as Crater Lakes) and the Miradouro do Cerrado das Freiras. We made it here just in time before the clouds and fog rolled in to block the view.

Port #3 Nassau, Bahamas!!

We were up for a wander through town and a beach day today, feel that Bahaman sand in our toes and warm water! & look at it, isn’t it amazingly blue!!

We found the older part of town which was very Caribbean Island feeling, wandered up Queen’s Staircase, found Fort Fincastle, the Public Library Building and Parliament Square before making our way along the main tourist area and through the Nassau Straw Market. We had walked up a sweat so walked our way to Junkanoo Beach for a swim and relax.

The local people were so friendly here, we had many offer souvenirs for purchase, drinks, beach chairs etc, but when we politely said no thanks, they were super chill, asked if we needed help finding anywhere in particular and if we were having a nice day on their island. Ahh island life, definitely has a vibe!!

Notes about Ports and Shore Tours:

  • Leave yourself plenty of time to return to the cruise ship before departure time. The ship DOES NOT wait for you. If you are on a cruise organised tour that is delayed, then yes, it will wait for your group to return, but if you are doing your own thing, then you are on your own.
  • Some ports take a long time to disembark from, walk to the main area from or get to the transport hub. If you have organised your own tour or plans, allow extra time, same for the return to the ship.
  • Most ports have tour guides at the ports waiting for you to offer their services. Do your research in advance if you’d like to do an off the cuff tour you know what you’re getting, ability levels required and a reasonable price.
  • Stay with your group, do not separate when exploring or on self-organised tour. This is for both security, not getting lost and staying on time for your return to the ship.


What does relax mean? There are so many activities on board, it is hard not to want to do them all and ‘relax’. Some of the fun activities we participated in were:

~ Rock Climbing – where Aria won a ‘gold’ medal

~ Balloon Drop

~ Duck Scavenger Hunt – where Aria and her friend came 3rd

~ Fun Fair – Aria absolutely loved this – think ring toss and other fun games

~ Balloon twisting class – we learnt to make a sword and heart

~ Magic Tricks class

~ Family science, art and trivia events

~ Swimming in the pool and chilling in the hot tubs

~ Watching the evening shows – wow they really have some amazing talents come on board including incredible singers, a hypnotist and magician.

There were so many others too: zumba class, gym classes, dance class, bingo, information talks, games, art auctions, so so much!

Between these and eating 3 full meals a day (& snacks) and a little relaxing, the days just disappear.

Every ship’s facilities vary but you can rest assured knowing there will always be something to do, even on your sailing days on a transatlantic cruise crossing.


It wasn’t all smooth sailing – A storm was unavoidable and it was rough!
Something I and many others were worried about, was the rough seas while on the Transatlantic Crossing days.

The Captain did his best, avoided what he could but in the end he couldn’t avoid it all (as all Captains would do I’m sure). It was so rough we had a a wave hit our window mid shop on deck 3, the buffet was closed for a few meal times (after all of the food ended up on the floor and it was no longer deemed safe for passengers or staff) and all outside deck areas were closed too. Even some of the staff we spoke to said it was the most seasickness incidences they had ever in their 6 or so years of cruise work, heaps of staff were down with seasickness and the medical centre was run off their feet. The lower decks 2 cabins, front decks 3 and 4 had their windows boarded up in prep for the storm too, which was a little unnerving.

The winds were wild, the waves were wild and I wasn’t feeling the best for a couple of days. I tried so many different seasickness remedies I know they all helped in someway at some point but I don’t know which worked the best. I won’t lie, I was counting the hours and days down until we touched land again, but we made it through (Dan & Aria no issues) and it hasn’t turned me off cruising as I know I can get through it!

It is honestly part of cruising, but all the staff on board and other passengers are all in it together, helping everyone as much as possible.

Some of the seasickness remedies I tried and have been recommended (recommended in italics):

~ seasick tablets (both sleepy for night time knock out and not for day time) such as Travacalms / Kwells

~ fresh air regularly (as best I could when outdoor spaces were open)

~ cotton wool in one ear

~ didn’t use the lifts or go into enclosed spaces (e.g bathroom with door closed)

~ stayed away from the bow and stern of the ship

~ eating green apple

~ looking at the horizon

~ facing the stern of the boat

~ Sipping on: ginger ale / sprite / bitters & ginger ale / soda water / Sip a spirit drink not that you get drunk it does help

~ emeterm band / Sea-bands pressing on an acupuncture point

~ Acupuncture

~ elosplasta band aid covering you belly button

~ Medications such as Ondansetron/Zofran, Stemetil, Avomine / Phenergan

There’s just something special about sunsets on the water!

Extra Info:

  • Internet: We paid for one device at a time (so we could stay connected with all of you!) on the Starlink internet (yes brings back the Aus Caravanning memories) and it was brilliant! Even in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the middle of the rough seas and storm it only had a few blimps of slower connection. I didn’t risk attempting a YouTube vid upload on board though, I had those done in advance just to be safe.
  • Our e-sims for Europe ran out on the day after Ponta Delgada so that worked really well, we had a week without phone sim costs.
  • We changed time zone, 1 hour per night for 2 nights, then a night off, then 2 nights, then night off and then a final 2 nights. It was still an adjustment but it worked quite well as we pushed dinner back a little each night and went to the entertainment shows keeping us up a little later each night.
  • There really isn’t any luggage limit on a cruise so for us we could take all of our normal gear, plus some gluten free food and drinks, and all of our snow gear for our USA Snow adventures, without having to pay for additional luggage etc as you would on a flight. Bonus!!
  • Would we do it again – Yes. As long as the cost is right! I wouldn’t willingly go back across the Atlantic unless it was going to work out cheaper or the same as flights, accommodation etc for the same period of time.
  • Would we do another cruise (not Atlantic crossing) – yes for sure, they are great fun and a nice balance between relax and explore. & well kids club!
  • Do we recommend Royal Caribbean International – yes, we found the service, food, facilities, entertainment, etc all to be fantastic. Just be aware of their marketing, some of it is a little misleading in terms of discounts, so do your calculations yourself! In comparison to the MSC Transatlantic Dan & I did 10 years ago, the food was better on the RC, but entertainment better on MSC, facilities, service, ports of call enjoyment on par with each other.
  • One not bonus – sickness! Sickness is so easy to pick up on cruise ships, no matter how much you sanitise etc. We are pretty onto it and aware of it but Dan picked up a head cold on the final 3 days and spent most of that time in bed (other than the wander around Nassau for a couple of hours).


Royal Caribbean Transatlantic Cruise

No. of Nights: 14

Stops: Barcelona (Spain), Malaga (Spain), Ponta Delgada (Portugal), Nassau (Bahamas), Tampa (USA)

Cost: $4319 = $308.50/day (no drinks package – just one or two cocktails, no compulsory tips- we did this by cash ourselves, no shore excursions – again sorted ourselves – just the hire car, everything else was leg power)

We have a link to book any Princess Cruises Voyage, so if you’re thinking about possibly a Transatlantic Cruise, or any other normal voyage, please check them out here. We have heard great things about Princess Cruises too, they just didn’t have one the right timing for us this time. (FYI- We have also experienced P&O and MSC Cruises). I do make a small commission from the booking, so thank you, this small amount goes towards paying for our website hosting fees to bring you this information.


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