Malcolm and I have set sail on a thirteen night Transatlantic cruise to South Hampton, England, aboard the Celebrity Eclipse. This cruise is commonly referred to as a “re-positioning” cruise, which means that there will be lots of sea days and very few ports of call. Most cruise lines re-position some of their ships to Europe in April and bring them back to the US in October each year. Fares on re-positioning cruises are significantly reduced and comparable to the price of a flight, so we took advantage of the opportunity to travel leisurely and economically to England.
Passing the Time:
Some folks feel a bit unsettled at the thought of having so many days at sea, but Malcolm and I establish a routine and settle in quickly to make it memorable, not mundane. If you are wondering how we do that, read the following list of our favorite things to do.
- Enjoy three meals a day prepared especially for us and served in a beautiful dinning room or a specialty restaurant. Buffet style, in our cabin, or poolside are also options.
- Order room service whenever we want (coffee at 8 a.m. please).
- Read a book, take a class, play trivia, or learn a new game.
- Attend a guest lecture.
- Try a new cocktail every day.
- Order two desserts whenever we want 🙂
- Make new friends – we always check out Cruise Critic Roll Calls before we sail.
- Spend the day lounging at the pool.
- Take a Yoga or Spin class.
- Play solitaire or watch a movie on the Ipad
- Walk the deck
- Have a Spa treatment
- Attend a show or dance the night away
- Drop a few coins at the Casino
- Unplug or stay connected – our choice
- Shoot some hoops or putt on the green
- Choose the balcony instead of the dinning room for dinner (think bath robe vs. getting dressed)
- Wander the ship in the wee hours snapping photos without the crowds.
- Enjoy sunrise and sunset on opposite sides of the ship
- Relax and enjoy the experience.
Why This Ship
We chose the ship, for it’s final destination, which opened up a variety of choices. There were other options, but we like cruising with Celebrity and also wanted to experience the Eclipse. Additional travel choices (as narrowed by us) included; take a train to London and fly home, rent a car and drive the countryside, or board another ship. The “board another ship” option got my vote. We found a cruise (which is port intensive) that leaves South Hampton for a tour of the British Isles just two days after we arrive. We have never spent time in Scotland or Ireland, so this will be a new adventure. This cruise will present a “taste” of the British Isles, which will whet our appetite for more, or it will be just enough. We’ll see.
As usual, Malcolm has the trip itinerary well organized into two small binders that contain boarding documents, tour tickets, hotel confirmations, train reservations, dinner reservations, and return flight information. Our “to do” list for the past two weeks included the following:
- Get currency in pounds and Euros
- Notify credit card company of our travel plans
- Place mail delivery on hold
- Install Skype on the IPad
- Locate converters for outlets (UK and France)
- Pay bills
- Double check luggage weight limit for return flight
- Final packing check – ample clothing for 34 days of 47+ degree weather, rain gear, good walking shoes, camera, extra batteries, SD cards, laundry bag, chargers for electronic devices, and first aide supplies – delete, delete, delete unnecessary items!
Don’t Miss Discounts
While we were busy making decisions about our trip, Malcolm diligently watched the price of both cruises. As expected, the fares dropped several times on each cruise and we received an up-grade or a credit for the price reduction. We are now in a balcony cabin on both cruises with enough on board credit to offset some expenses. I think this is pretty amazing considering we started with an inside cabin on one cruise and a sea view (porthole) on the other. Your travel agent should alert you to discounts, but if you want to take full advantage of each price reduction or special offers, it is advisable to call the cruise line directly and discuss your options with a representative.
Next Stop: Bermuda