So you want to take an ocean voyage like the old days. What kind of boat or ship can a traveler use to get from the US to Europe?26 April 2010
There are a few great ways to sail the ocean from the United States to Europe. The boat you take will depend upon your departure location, your destination and the season in which you wish to travel in. Many people take boats because they don’t like to fly, have bad a back, bad knees, can’t sit for long periods of time or simply just love to sail and smell the fresh salt air. Whatever your reason for sailing, instead of flying to Europe, you’ve definitely got your choice in vessels.
Make getting there part of your trip experience by taking a cruise ship to Europe. Several hundred large cruise ships make voyages on routes worldwide. Taking a cruise ship to Europe means you have to travel within certain months of the year, May- August for some ship lines and spring and fall for others. The advantages of taking a cruise ship are the food, entertainment, sea life sightings and the comfortable atmosphere. Many of the accommodations are downright luxurious. The length of your voyage will depend upon weather and the number of port of calls the ship stops at.
If you have the money, chartering a private yacht is a trip made in heaven for a long distance ocean passage such as from United States to Europe—that is if you can handle the rolling waves. They come with a full crew or you can learn and help with the sailing yourself. Stops are made along the way for watching sea life and partaking in water activities like scuba diving. The length of voyage depends upon the stops that are made and, of course, the time for ocean passage.
It is still possible in this day and age to hop a freighter to sail to Europe. Many freighters limit the number of passengers, but you won’t be bunking with anyone else. The accommodations are not by any means as luxurious as a cruise ship or yacht, but they do have their own charms, are quite adequate and your meals are provided. There are age restrictions of those age 5 years and below to 79 years and above, though these ages may vary a bit between lines. The trips themselves are slow going. For example, a trip from Los Angeles to Germany takes around 41 days.
Sailing is a great way to travel for those who wish to take it slow and easy on their voyage to Europe. Each type of vessel has its perks, but all can be costly. Most ship lines and charter services ask for at least half of the total price of voyage up front, and that can amount to a couple of thousand dollars per person, depending on your choice.
One of the most important ways to protect yourself from losing that money, in the event you have to cancel your trip, is to purchase travel insurance. Travel cancellation insurance is inexpensive and valuable with many reasons for cancellation being covered. Don’t put yourself or travel mate at risk of losing a great deal of money, get financial protection up front.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.