Trans-Pacific or Trans-Atlantic Cruise – Which One to Choose?

Last year we were lucky enough to cruise across the Pacific in April and then to cruise across the Atlantic in October. We get a lot of questions about which ocean crossing is best so I thought it would be a great topic for a blog post.

Crossing the Pacific

We boarded the Carnival Legend in April for a 19 day cruise to Honolulu. This voyage is part of Carnival Australia’s normal repositioning of the Legend to North America during Australia’s winter months. The Legend returns to Sydney, Australia each fall (Australia’s spring).

The Carnival Legend docked at the Circular Quay in Sydney, NSW, Australia.

The Legend is one of Carnival’s smaller ships and accommodates about 2200 passengers. On our trip the bulk of the passengers were Australian with a scattering of New Zealanders. We were among the handful of Americans on board.

Our ports of call were: New Caledonia, Fiji, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, and finally Honolulu. Most of the excursions involved learning about the native culture and/or beaches/snorkeling.

Our Pacific Route

Generally, the seas were calm, but there were a couple of days where we were skirting a typhoon and encountered high winds and high seas. However, most days were sunny and bright.

Crossing the Atlantic

We boarded Carnival’s new Vista in Barcelona, Spain for a 13 day voyage to New York City. This is not a normal route for Carnival; however, each of their new ships offer trans-Atlantic cruises when they are moving to their new American home port. The Vista’s sister ship, The Horizon, is scheduled to make its maiden voyage across the Atlantic in May of 2018.

The New Carnival Vista

The Vista is Carnival’s newest ship having sailed its maiden voyage in May of 2017. It’s also Carnival’s largest ship and can accommodate over 3900 passengers. The Vista is now based in Miami, Florida, On our cruise the passengers were almost exclusively American.

Our ports of call were: Gibraltar, Ponta Delgada in the Azores, Bermuda (2 days) and finally New York City. Excursions centered around history, sightseeing and water sports in Bermuda.

 

Our Route Across the Atlantic

Generally, the seas were calm but we had a couple of days of high winds and heaving seas. We sailed in October so there was a chill in the air on most days and the highs in Bermuda were in the lower 70s.

Side-By-Side Comparisons

Sometimes it’s easiest to compare things by writing them down side by side; so here we go!

Overview 

Pacific – Carnival Legend

Atlantic – Carnival Vista

19 Day Cruise

Sydney, Australia to Honolulu, USA     

13 Day Cruise

Barcelona, Spain to New York City, USA

Regardless of which ocean you cruise you will have to factor in transportation costs to the terminal ports.  Flights to Barcelona, New York and Honolulu were pretty routine for us, but getting to Sydney took a little extra time and money.

Ports of Call

Pacific – Carnival Legend

Atlantic – Carnival Vista

       Noumea, New Caledonia        

Port Denarau, Fiji

Papeete, French Polynesia

Moorea, French Polynesia

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Gibraltar

Ponta Degada, The Azores, Portugal

Bermuda (2 days)

Members of an island band and a Gibraltar bobby.

 

Seas & Weather

Pacific – Carnival Legend

Atlantic – Carnival Vista

Generally calm seas with a couple of days of rough sailing.

Generally calm seas with a couple of days of rough sailing.

Balmly and beautiful most every day.  Shorts and bathing suit weather          

A chill in the air most days.  Long pants, except shorts in Bermuda, of course!

South Pacific Sunrise and an Atlantic Sunset

Best Shore Days

Pacific – Carnival Legend

Atlantic – Carnival Vista

Bora Bora – swimming with sharks & wandering the port

Gibraltar – seeing the Gibraltar Apes                                    

Swimming with sharks in Bora Bora and Meeting the Gibraltar Apes.

 

Best Onboard Experiences

Pacific – Carnival Legend

Atlantic – Carnival Vista

Crossing the Equator and Shellback Ceremony                    

Steaming into New York City and seeing the Statue of Liberty

Kissing the Fish at the Equator and The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor

 

On Board Dining

Pacific – Carnival Legend

Atlantic – Carnival Vista

Carnival’s excellent food with a distinctive Australian twist. 

(think Vegemite, meat pies and snags)

Carnival’s excellent food with all the latest speciality restaurants. 

(Think Guy’s Burgers,Blue Iguana Cantina and Bonsai Sushi)

Vegemite and Blue Iguana Cantina

What Did It Cost? (American Dollars, inside cabin)

Pacific – Carnival Legend

Atlantic – Carnival Vista

$66 per night per person

$69 per night per person

Australian-style tipping         

(totally up to you)                                 

American-style tipping

(suggested $12 per person per night)

We are frugal cruisers and generally prefer to book inside cabins to save money. Our rationale is that we spend very little time in the cabin and it works for us. The $66 per night Pacific Cruise was purchased during one of Carnival Australia’s periodic sales. The $69 per night Atlantic cruise was purchased the first night the tickets were available for the Vista. You would need to shop online at the sites below to find the price/cabin that’s right for you.

Which Cruise for You?

Both cruises are relatively inexpensive and they both provide plenty of time to meet people and build new friendships. There is plenty of entertainment to keep you busy, regardless of the ocean you choose. The terminal ports for both cruises are fantastic and each can easily keep you busy for a week at the beginning and end of your cruise.

I’ve given you lots to think about and of course you have to base your decisions upon your likes, dislikes, goals and finances. As for me, the Pacific cruise was my favorite. I love Sydney as a port city and the warm, exotic South Pacific islands were a dream come true. Aloha!

References:

Here’s more details on our Pacific Cruise: Cruising the Pacific on the Carnival Legend

Here’s more on our Atlantic Cruise: Our Atlantic Crossing

Carnival’s American web page: Carnival

Carnival Australia’s web page: Carnival Australia

Disclaimer

Most of the comparisons above are applicable to any other cruise line except for the dining and specific ports.  We have no business relationships with Carnival other than we tend to cruise on their ships quite a bit. They have the amenities we like and the prices that fit our budget.

 

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2 Responses to Trans-Pacific or Trans-Atlantic Cruise – Which One to Choose?

  1. Linda M Latham May 28, 2017 at 5:43 pm #

    Loved the comparison! Hawaii is still on my bucket list and I would loveeeee to do the Pacific crossing with a week on both end! How is that for wanting it all!!. Thanks as always for sharing your experiences.

    • MNM May 31, 2017 at 1:38 am #

      The Pacific cruise is definitely one we would love to repeat. Glad you enjoyed the article!

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