“I long to be at sea,” she whispered through an ear-to-ear grin. That “she” was me.
A tall, colorful sail-away drink in one hand, camera in the other, I set out on another transatlantic crossing.
Cruise ships, river ships and trains
Another year, another lengthy haul to Europe and back. It’s how I travel without flying.
I’ve traveled back and forth to Europe from Florida for over 12 consecutive years and never set foot on an airplane. It’s not easy. To plan all the cruise ships, river ships and even the Eurostar takes almost twice as long as the time spent away.
Yesterday I returned home from nearly two months spent traveling solo on cruise ships, river ships, trains and an occasional hotel stay. To be precise, I visited nine countries, traveled on seven trains, stayed at four hotels, cruised on three river ships and two transatlantic crossings.
Countries visited (in order of appearance): Portugal (Azores), Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium and United Kingdom.
Ocean ships: Koningsdam to Europe – from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome; Queen Mary 2 Southampton to New York.
River ships: CroisiEurope Douce France, Viking Rolf, Avalon Vista
Trains: Frecciarossa, SBB, TGV, Eurostar, Amtrak
Europe 2018 in a nutshell
- Ft. Lauderdale to Rome via Holland America Koningsdam: Transatlantic crossing 14 nights
- Rome: two nights / three days Westin Excelsior
- Rome to Milano to Basel: Two trains with a 25-minute train change in Milano – one day
- Basel to Amsterdam: Rhine River cruise aboard CroisiEurope Douce France – eight nights / nine days
- Amsterdam to Paris: Train – one day
- Paris: One night at Westin Place Vendome hotel stay
- Paris round-trip to Normandie: Seine River cruise aboard Viking Rolf
- Paris: Three nights Le Metropolitan Hotel
- Paris to Amsterdam: Train – one day
- Amsterdam round-trip through Holland and Belgium: Various small rivers aboard Avalon Vista seven nights / eight days
- Amsterdam to Brussels to London: Train to Brussels and change to Eurostar to London, St. Pancras Station
- London: three nights Premiere Inn St. Pancras hotel (close to the station)
- London to Southampton: Via Cunard motor coach to meet Queen Mary 2 in Southampton – Transatlantic crossing 7 nights
- Southampton to New York – Brooklyn Red Hook Terminal: Aboard Queen Mary 2, seven nights / eight days
- New York City: One night in Manhattan staying with friends
- New York to Orlando: Aboard Amtrak – one overnight
Traveling solo has its advantages. If I had to drag along a traveling companion, unless they know their way around Europe, there’s no way.
Home again with over 2,000 photos and a notebook full of, well…notes, I’ve decided to get creative.
Each day, for the next 53 days, I’ll publish my favorite photo in chronological order; one for each day of the trip. Pic of the Day.
Pic of the Day
March 28, 2018 – Sailaway aboard Holland America Koningsdam to Europe.
Whomever said Holland America is stodgy, hasn’t been on Holland America lately. This photo-bomber says it all. Next stop, after six sea days, Horta-Azores.
After a busy, crazy day and a quiet evening settling into my room, I was excited for the next day’s onboard adventures…and maybe a trivia contest!
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.