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How Long Does It Take To Cruise To Europe


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Dinny Darr



Embarking on a memorable cruise vacation to Europe is a dream for many travelers. From historic landmarks and stunning landscapes to rich cultural experiences and delectable cuisine, Europe offers a treasure trove of attractions. However, one important consideration when planning a cruise to Europe is the travel time involved. Understanding how long it takes to cruise to Europe is essential for effective trip planning and managing expectations.


Several factors come into play when determining the travel time for a cruise to Europe. These factors include the departure port, destination port, cruise route, and the type of cruise you choose. Whether you’re embarking on a transatlantic voyage or exploring the Mediterranean or Northern European coasts, each cruise experience offers a unique travel time and cruising experience.


Choosing the right cruise and understanding the average travel time can help you plan your itinerary, allocate adequate vacation time, and make the most of your European adventure. This article explores the various factors affecting travel time, popular cruise routes, and provides tips to reduce travel time so you can make informed decisions when planning your dream cruise to Europe.


Factors Affecting Travel Time

When it comes to determining the travel time for a cruise to Europe, there are several factors that play a role. These factors can vary depending on the specific cruise route and departure port. Here are some key factors that can affect the overall travel time:

  1. Cruise Route: The chosen cruise route is one of the primary factors affecting travel time. Different routes have different distances and can vary in terms of stops and ports of call along the way. For example, a transatlantic cruise from New York to Southampton will take longer than a Mediterranean cruise that stops in multiple ports.
  2. Distance: The distance between the departure port and destination port is another significant factor. A longer distance will naturally result in a longer travel time. For instance, a cruise from Miami to Barcelona will take longer than a cruise from Rome to Athens.
  3. Speed: The cruising speed of the ship can also impact the travel time. Some ships are built for speed, allowing for faster journeys, while others may prioritize luxury and leisure, which can lead to a slower overall travel pace.
  4. Weather Conditions: Weather conditions can affect travel time, especially for transatlantic cruises. Strong winds, storms, or adverse weather can slow down the ship’s speed and potentially extend the duration of the journey.
  5. Port Regulations: Port regulations and customs procedures can also impact travel time. Some ports may have specific entry requirements or stricter security measures, which can lead to delays in boarding or disembarking.
  6. Itinerary: The number of stops and duration of each port visit can influence the total travel time. Cruises that have fewer ports of call or shorter durations in each port will generally have a shorter overall travel time.

It’s important to keep in mind that these factors are not entirely within your control. However, having an understanding of these factors can help you prepare for your cruise and manage expectations regarding travel time.


Types of Cruises to Europe

When it comes to cruising to Europe, there are several types of cruises available, each offering a unique experience. Here are some popular types of cruises to consider:

  1. Transatlantic Cruises: Transatlantic cruises are a popular choice for those seeking a long, leisurely journey from North America to Europe or vice versa. These cruises often provide an opportunity to enjoy several consecutive days at sea, offering a chance to relax and indulge in the ship’s amenities while crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
  2. Mediterranean Cruises: Cruising the Mediterranean is a fantastic way to explore the diverse cultures and stunning destinations of southern Europe. These cruises typically visit ports in countries such as Italy, Greece, Spain, France, and Croatia. From the historical sites of Rome and Athens to the beautiful beaches of the French Riviera and the picturesque Greek islands, a Mediterranean cruise offers a rich and diverse experience.
  3. Northern European Cruises: Northern European cruises take you to the scenic coastal regions of countries like Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Russia. These cruises offer a chance to witness the stunning Norwegian fjords, visit the charming Baltic capitals like Copenhagen and Stockholm, and even witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights in certain seasons.
  4. Baltic Sea Cruises: Baltic Sea cruises focus on exploring the cities and cultures of the Baltic region. These itineraries often include stops in cities like St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, and Oslo, offering a mix of cultural, historical, and natural attractions.
  5. British Isles Cruises: British Isles cruises allow travelers to visit ports in the United Kingdom and Ireland. These cruises often include stops in cities such as London, Dublin, Edinburgh, and Belfast, providing an opportunity to explore iconic landmarks, historic castles, and picturesque countryside.

Each type of cruise offers its own unique charm and attractions. Consider your interests, preferred destinations, and the amount of time available when choosing the type of cruise that best suits your preferences.


Popular Cruise Routes to Europe

Europe offers a myriad of stunning destinations to explore by cruise ship. Here are some popular cruise routes that travelers often embark on to experience the best of what Europe has to offer:

  1. Western Mediterranean: The Western Mediterranean cruise route typically includes ports in Spain, France, Italy, and sometimes Portugal. Travelers can indulge in the vibrant cities of Barcelona and Rome, soak in the sun on the stunning beaches of the French Riviera, and explore historical sites such as the Colosseum and the Vatican City.
  2. Eastern Mediterranean: The Eastern Mediterranean cruise route often covers ports in Greece, Turkey, Croatia, and sometimes Egypt or Israel. Travelers can immerse themselves in the ancient ruins of Athens, discover the breathtaking landscapes of Santorini and Mykonos, and visit historic sites like Ephesus in Turkey.
  3. Baltic Sea: Baltic Sea cruises take travelers to the captivating cities of Northern Europe. These routes include ports in cities such as Copenhagen, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, and Helsinki. Travelers can experience the grandeur of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, stroll through the colorful streets of Copenhagen, and visit the charming Old Town of Tallinn.
  4. Norwegian Fjords: Cruising through the Norwegian fjords offers a breathtaking natural landscape experience. This route takes travelers through the stunning fjords of Norway, with stops in cities such as Bergen, Geiranger, and Alesund. From snow-capped mountains and cascading waterfalls to picturesque fjord villages, this cruise route showcases the unparalleled beauty of Norway.
  5. Transatlantic: Transatlantic cruises are a legendary way to cross the Atlantic Ocean. These voyages often start in North America, such as New York or Miami, and sail to European ports like Southampton or Barcelona. With days at sea, transatlantic cruises provide ample time to relax and enjoy the amenities and entertainment onboard the ship.

These popular cruise routes offer diverse experiences, from rich historical sites to stunning natural wonders. Depending on your preferences and interests, you can choose a route that best suits your desired destinations and the duration of your cruise.


Average Travel Time for Transatlantic Cruises

Transatlantic cruises, known for their iconic crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, offer a unique and leisurely way to travel between North America and Europe. The travel time for a transatlantic cruise can vary depending on several factors, including the departure and arrival ports, cruise line, and the specific itinerary.


On average, a transatlantic cruise can last anywhere from 7 to 14 days. The exact duration depends on the distance between the departure and arrival ports, as well as the chosen cruise route. For example, a popular transatlantic route is from New York to Southampton, or vice versa. This route typically takes around 7-8 days to complete, providing passengers with ample time to relax and enjoy the onboard amenities during the sea days.


Keep in mind that transatlantic cruises often prioritize relaxation and leisure, with fewer ports of call compared to other cruise itineraries. This means that a significant portion of the cruise will be spent at sea, allowing passengers to enjoy the luxurious amenities and entertainment options onboard the ship.


It’s worth noting that the weather conditions can also affect the travel time of a transatlantic cruise. Adverse weather, such as storms or strong winds, may lead to adjustments in the cruise itinerary or a slower ship speed, which can extend the overall travel time.


When planning a transatlantic cruise, it’s essential to consider the duration of the journey and how it fits into your overall travel plans. Many travelers view transatlantic cruises as a unique and relaxing experience, embracing the opportunity to unwind while crossing the vast Atlantic Ocean.


Average Travel Time for Mediterranean Cruises

Mediterranean cruises are a popular choice for those seeking to explore the diverse and captivating region of Southern Europe. The travel time for a Mediterranean cruise can vary depending on several factors, such as the chosen itinerary, number of ports of call, and the cruise line.


On average, a Mediterranean cruise can last anywhere from 7 to 14 days. The duration of the cruise depends on the specific itinerary and the number of ports visited along the way. For example, a typical Mediterranean cruise might include stops in popular destinations such as Rome, Barcelona, Athens, and Venice, allowing passengers to immerse themselves in the rich history, culture, and landscapes of these stunning locations.


When planning a Mediterranean cruise, it’s important to keep in mind that the travel time can also depend on the distance between the departure port and the first port of call. For instance, a departure from Barcelona may have shorter travel time compared to a departure from a port further away, such as Southampton or Istanbul.


Although Mediterranean cruises feature multiple ports of call, they also include days at sea, providing passengers with the opportunity to relax and enjoy the amenities onboard the ship. These sea days often feature various activities, entertainment, and dining options, ensuring that passengers have an enjoyable and well-rounded cruise experience.


It’s worth noting that some cruise lines offer shorter “mini cruises” within the Mediterranean, which can last around 3 to 5 days. These shorter cruises provide a taste of the Mediterranean experience, focusing on specific regions such as the French Riviera or the Greek Islands.


Ultimately, the travel time for a Mediterranean cruise depends on the specific itinerary, cruise line, and preferences of the traveler. Whether you choose a longer cruise with more ports of call or a shorter itinerary focusing on specific regions, a Mediterranean cruise offers an incredible opportunity to explore the iconic landmarks, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant cultures of Southern Europe.


Average Travel Time for Northern European Cruises

Northern European cruises offer a unique opportunity to explore the captivating coastal regions of countries like Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Russia. The travel time for a Northern European cruise can vary depending on the specific itinerary, number of ports visited, and the cruise line.


On average, a Northern European cruise can last anywhere from 7 to 14 days. The duration of the cruise largely depends on the chosen itinerary and the number of ports of call included in the journey. For example, a typical Northern European cruise might include stops in cities such as Copenhagen, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, and Helsinki, allowing passengers to witness the stunning landscapes, historic landmarks, and vibrant cultures of these captivating destinations.


Since Northern European cruises cover a vast and diverse region, the travel time can also be influenced by the distance between ports. Some cruises may require shorter trips between adjacent ports, while others may cover longer distances to reach more remote and scenic locations.


It’s important to note that Northern European cruises often offer a mix of ports of call and scenic cruising through picturesque fjords, such as those found in Norway. These scenic passages allow passengers to marvel at the breathtaking natural beauty of the region and can be a highlight of the overall cruise experience.


Similar to other cruise itineraries, Northern European cruises also include days at sea, providing passengers with a chance to relax and enjoy the various amenities and entertainment options available onboard the ship. These sea days can be an excellent opportunity to unwind, participate in onboard activities, and take advantage of the ship’s dining and leisure facilities.


When planning a Northern European cruise, it’s important to consider the travel time and how it aligns with your overall vacation plans. Whether you choose a shorter or longer itinerary, a Northern European cruise promises an unforgettable journey through enchanting landscapes, fascinating history, and vibrant cultures.


Tips to Reduce Travel Time

While the duration of a cruise is part of the adventure, there are a few tips to help you make the most of your time and minimize travel time on your European cruise:

  1. Choose Direct Routes: Opt for cruises that follow direct routes and have fewer ports of call. This reduces the time spent sailing between ports and allows you to enjoy more time exploring the destinations.
  2. Consider Fly-Cruise Packages: Fly-cruise packages are a great option to save time on travel. By flying directly to the cruise port, you can skip the lengthy journey by sea between continents and start your cruise sooner.
  3. Opt for Cruises with Overnight Stays: Certain itineraries offer overnight stays in popular ports. This allows you to have more time to explore the destination without having to rush back to the ship, maximizing your experience in each location.
  4. Book Excursions through the Cruise Line: Booking excursions through the cruise line ensures that you have a well-organized itinerary and don’t waste time trying to figure out logistics in each port. These excursions are designed to optimize your time and provide a seamless experience.
  5. Arrive at the Port in Advance: Avoid last-minute rushes and potential delays by arriving at the port a few hours before the scheduled boarding time. This gives you ample time to go through security checks, complete check-in procedures, and settle into your cabin without feeling rushed.
  6. Plan Your Time Onboard: Use sea days to your advantage by planning activities and enjoying the onboard amenities. Take part in workshops, attend shows, relax by the pool, or pamper yourself at the spa. This way, you can make the most of your time while the ship is sailing towards the next destination.
  7. Stay Organized: Keep your travel documents, passports, and essentials easily accessible. Being organized saves time and reduces stress during embarkation, disembarkation, and when going through security checks at ports.
  8. Stay Flexible: Embrace the unexpected and be open to changes in the itinerary if necessary. Weather conditions, port restrictions, or unforeseen circumstances may lead to alterations in the schedule. By staying flexible, you can adapt to the changes and make the most of the revised itinerary.

By following these tips, you can streamline your travel time and make the most of your European cruise experience. Remember, the journey itself is a part of the adventure, so take the time to relax, enjoy the onboard amenities, and savor the beautiful moments both on board and at each captivating port of call.



Embarking on a cruise to Europe is an exciting and immersive way to explore the stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant cultures of the continent. Understanding the factors that affect travel time, the different types of cruises available, and the popular cruise routes can help you plan your itinerary and make the most of your European cruise experience.


Transatlantic cruises offer a leisurely way to cross the Atlantic Ocean, with an average travel time of 7 to 14 days. Mediterranean cruises, on the other hand, allow you to experience the diverse countries of Southern Europe and typically last from 7 to 14 days as well. Northern European cruises provide a chance to explore the captivating coastal regions of the north, with a similar travel time range of 7 to 14 days.


To reduce travel time and maximize your experience, consider choosing direct routes, opting for fly-cruise packages, and booking excursions through the cruise line. Arriving at the port in advance, planning your time onboard, staying organized, and staying flexible can also help optimize your European cruise journey.


Remember, the duration of the cruise is part of the adventure, allowing you to unwind, explore, and create memories. Whether you choose a transatlantic adventure, a Mediterranean odyssey, or a Northern European exploration, a cruise to Europe promises an unforgettable experience filled with breathtaking sights, cultural encounters, and unforgettable moments.


So, start planning your European cruise today and get ready to embark on a voyage that will take you to some of the most enchanting destinations this continent has to offer.