Transatlantic cruises are one of the best ways to relax ever discovered, and the great thing about sailing to America is that because of the time difference, five days of the voyage can be 25 hours long.
Whether you choose to use that extra time to sleep or to party, it’s up to you, but either way it’s heavenly. And there’s no jet-lag.
The downside comes when travelling in the opposite direction, and it’s at this time of year that a flotilla of cruise ships is making its way from the Caribbean to spend the summer in the Mediterranean and northern European waters.
Among them is Holland America’s Prinsendam, with Captain Albert Schoonderbeek in charge. He has his own, rather different way of dealing with the time change, as he explains in his ever-informative blog.
“We could do that in one go. Say at 8 am, we put all the clocks forward by 4 hours, which makes it noon time. Apart from losing a whole morning (no lectures, no bingo, no coffee time and breakfast and lunch would be combined in a brunch) it would play havoc with the sunrise and sunset.
“If you would be on a slow ship, taking eight days for a crossing, you could do 30 minutes each day. On a faster ship you have to do one hour each day to make it a gradual happening. It also makes it easier for your body to accept it.
“If we have to do it between ports, then it is done early in the morning, when everybody is asleep, but you will lose an hour of night rest. With an ocean crossing, people come for rest and relaxation and then losing an hour’s sleep nearly every night is not pleasant.
“If you do it in the middle of the day, you hardly miss that hour. It is around lunch time anyway. So you still go to lunch around noon time, you finish lunch instead of 12.45 at 13.45 but you still have the whole afternoon ahead of you.
“My experience is that lunch time clock changes have less of an impact on shipboard life than multiple night time changes during a crossing. Thus I do my Voice from the Bridge
Another benefit, of course, will be that there is less temptation for passengers to skip the captain’s gala ball, or an invitation to dinner, in order to catch up on their sleep.
So everyone’s a winner !