How Long Does It Take to Get from the US to the UK by Boat?

Are you considering a trip to Europe? For a different experience, if you have some extra time, you might want to consider traveling from the US to the UK by boat. But how long does it take?

To get from the US to the UK by cruise ship, it usually takes around 6 to 7 days – compared to about 6 to 7 hours by plane. Cunard is one of the most popular cruise line options for transatlantic trips. Their Queen Mary 2 has trips every few weeks from New York to Southampton, England. Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines often take about 10 – 13 days from the US to the UK.

If you’re really adventurous, you can cross by sailboat. To get from the US to the UK by sailboat usually takes around 3 to 4 weeks. If you are using a fast sailboat, take shortcuts, and are lucky, you can reduce the travel time to 2 weeks tops. However, if you are using a slow boat or don’t get a lot of good, a transatlantic crossing can take up to a month.

Planning your next transatlantic trip? Want to know about your options? Curious how long it takes? Keep reading to learn more about how long it takes to get from the US to the UK by boat.

How Long Does It Take to Get from the US to the UK by Cruise Ship?

Considering a transatlantic sea trip? Before you rush to purchase a ticket and hop on the next cruise line, you should consider all the pros and cons of crossing the Atlantic.

There are generally two categories for transatlantic cruises. First are scheduled transatlantic crossings. The only cruise ship to have a routine crossing of the Atlantic is the Queen Mary 2. They run from late April to December and take about 6 to 7 days. It is the quickest trip since they have no ports of call throughout the journey. They cross about 25 times in a year for the week-long route.

These types of crossings differ from cruises because they sail directly from one port to another without docking at a new port of call every day.

The second is reposition cruises. These are ships that cross Central America, the Caribbean, or South America throughout winter and Europe during the rest of the year. On the other hand, these ships often sail during the spring and fall months, but there are a few options for every month of the year.

If you have too much time on your hands and want to add a dash of adventure and unpredictability in your travels, repositioning cruises are perfect for you. You get to experience different cultures as your cruise stops over at different ports of call.

Taking a Cruise Ship from the US to UK – Pros and Cons

how long to get from the us to the uk by boat
Passengers aboard the Transatlantic cruise, the Queen Mary 2

Before you decide to cross the Atlantic by cruise ship, instead of flying, you should first weigh down the pros and cons of a sea trip from the US to the UK. By doing so, you’ll be more prepared for your trip and be able to make an educated decision whether to fly through the Atlantic or enjoy an adventure at sea.


  • Bargain prices
  • Perfect for people with a fear of flying
  • Jet lag is history
  • Sights and sound


  • Chances of ports of call are slim
  • The unpredictable sea
  • Got nothing but time
  • Passenger age gap


Bargain Prices

Cruise ships always move forward; they chase the sun to ensure guests have the best weather for activities. But operating a cruise ship isn’t cheap, and that’s why cruise lines often have low prices. They often reduce the prices per day to attract more travelers and passengers, especially during the peak seasons.

Bargain prices are one way for cruise lines to entice travelers to choose their cruises, the prices may be low, but they know that while on board, they will spend more on gambling, drinks, activities, souvenirs, and more.

To take advantage of these prices, remember to compare the prices before and after your trip from the US to the UK since most cruise lines have discounts for people who book back-to-back.

Perfect for People with a Fear of Flying

For many, flying induces stress and anxiety, which are two things you do not want to begin or end a vacation with. Let’s face it; not everyone is comfortable with flying, especially when it’s a six to seven-hour flight. Sitting for hours in a cramped airlock cabin doesn’t really sound like a great way to start a long trip. Plus, being up so high, you won’t be able to marvel at the beauty the Atlantic has to offer.

Jet Lag is History

If you’ve ever felt drowsy, irritable, lethargic, tired, and slightly disoriented after a long flight, that’s jet lag. Desynchrony or jetlag is a result of traveling across numerous time zones or shifting at work. It happens because the synchronization in the brain cells is disrupted due to activities. The severity of jet lag depends on how many time zones you cross during your trip.

Some travelers opt for transatlantic cruises from the US to the UK for this specific reason. Nobody enjoys feeling lethargic due to jet lag. Since a cruise travels much slower than a plane, your body is going to have more time to adjust to the time zones you will be crossing. Say bye-bye to jet lag!

Sights and Sounds

One perk of going to the UK by boat is the cruise activities. Since you will be at sea for several days with nowhere else to go, you should maximize and take advantage of the cruise’s range of activities. You can take educational classes, attend seminars and workshops, or enjoy the lounges on the cruise. With the increase of cruise popularity, most cruise lines try to include as many unique activities in their cruises to attract more travelers.

Cruise lines always try to be inclusive; they come up with activities and experiences for everyone to enjoy while onboard. So don’t worry, with the dozens of activities, classes, and workshops on board, there sure won’t be any dull moments.


Chances of Ports of Call Are Slim

The Queen Mary 2 does not have any ports of call; it is a straight journey from New York to Southampton. As mentioned earlier, the trip takes about 6 to 7 days. Other transatlantic repositioning cruises that take a southern route have ports of call in the Cape Verde Islands, Caribbean Sea, and the Canary Islands.

People often prefer having an abundance of ports of call for cruises since it allows them to step out of the cruise and spread their legs for a while. Ports of call provide a rest from the constant swaying at sea, which some travelers aren’t accustomed to.

Repositioning cruise trips from the US to the UK do take longer than the direct Queen Mary 2 route, but you will have more sights to see and experience along the way.

The Unpredictable Sea

The weather is one major concern for most travelers, especially when planning a transatlantic cruise. Since these cruise ships will be crossing the open sea, the weather and the sea can be a bit rough. Thankfully, modern cruise ships, like the Queen Mary 2, have advanced stabilizers and other features that help stabilize the ship.

Boats from the US to the UK that cross the Atlantic during the summer months have a higher chance of getting the best weather. If you aren’t one of the people who enjoy rough seas and the thrill of the storm, it would be best to check the weather predictions before purchasing your tickets.

Got Nothing but Time

Cruise lines offer a wide array of activities onboard; however, being surrounded by sea all day isn’t for everyone. Many get bored or claustrophobic. If you have a rough time adjusting to the rhythm of the sea, then you might have a tough time. Your best option is to book your events for the purpose of entertaining yourself and distracting you from the unending sea on your horizon.

Passenger Age Gap

Since transatlantic crossings take a long time, many passengers would be the elderly. They have more time to spare and generally just want to sit back and enjoy the day. So if you’re hoping to hop on a cruise and find that special someone, there’s a slim chance of romance on a cruise.

How Long Does It Take to Get from the US to the UK by Sailboat?

How Long Does it Take To Get From The US to the UK by Sailboat

Feeling adventurous and bored with cruises? Why not try to sail through the Atlantic. The Atlantic ocean is the 2nd largest ocean next to the Pacific. It is over 41 million square miles or 20% of the Earth’s surface. In short, sailing through the Atlantic is as hard as you allow it.

Sailing across the Atlantic may sound daunting. You’ll be sailing through long stretches of blue at 5 knots for a long time. It may not sound hard to some, but you have to be prepared for anything. How long does it take to get from the US to the UK by sailboat?

Sailing through the Atlantic is a journey of 3 to 4 weeks. If you are using a fast sailboat, take shortcuts, and are lucky, you can reduce the travel time to 2 weeks tops. However, if you are using a slow boat or don’t get a lot of good, a transatlantic crossing can take up to a month.

With respect to tradewinds, the easiest route from the East to West is through Portugal – The Canary islands – Cape Verde- then the Windward Islands. With a distance of 6800 km on a map.

Sailing Across the Atlantic

There are two main routes that you can choose from:

  1. The Southern Passage from East to West
  2. The Northern Passage from West to East

They might seem like enormous detours, which they are; however, these routes are the most forgiving and have been used for generations.

The Southern passage, which takes you from Portugal to the Canary Islands, is 750NM which takes around 5 to 7 days. The Canary Islands to Cape Verde is 850 NM, which takes 5 to 8 days. From the Canary Islands to the Windward islands is 2700NM, which takes 16 to 21 days of travel.

The Northern passage takes you from the Caribbean to Bermuda in 850NM, which takes around 5 to 8 days. Bermuda to the Azores in 1900NM in 14 to 17 days. From the Azores to Portugal in 700NM in 4 to 8 days.

Remember that once you are out at sea, the only tool you have is knowledge. If you are well versed in the routes, tradewinds and have contingencies, you can enjoy a sailing adventure across the Atlantic. Thanks to modern sailing technologies, the improved sailing efficiencies are surely able to lessen the burdens of sailing across the second largest ocean.

Conclusion – How Long Does It Take to Get from the US to the UK by Boat?

How long does it take to get from the US to the UK by boat? If you take the trip by cruise ship, it takes about 6 to 7 days. If you take the trip by sailboat, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks.

Yes, it takes more of your time to go from the US to the UK by boat than by plane, but then again, it’s an adventure. Instead of sitting in a cramped airplane cabin for six to seven hours, why not enjoy the sea breeze and wonders of nature on the open water.

Life is about living every day to the fullest, and what better way to do that than to see the world. If your trip to the UK is for leisure and you have time to spare, it would be a great experience to go on a transatlantic cruise. You could take a direct cruise to the UK with no ports of call or hop on a repositioning cruise with some ports of call to enjoy the local culture. More ports of call mean more adventures, more cultures, and more experiences for you to treasure.

On the other hand, sailing through the Atlantic can be the highlight of your travels. On your own ship, sailing past islands and long stretches of blue water gives you more freedom. If you opt to sail through the Atlantic, you have the luxury to take detours on islands and countries you may pass.

You follow your own time. However, to fully enjoy this adventure, you need to prepare yourself and your ship beforehand. Familiarize yourself with the Tradewinds, weather predictions, entry and docking requirements, and permits in places you might want to stop over.

Overall, a trip from the US to the UK doesn’t have to be a dull seven-hour flight. You can spice things up by going on a cruise or sailing. Always plan ahead and be vigilant on your travels. There are dozens of options for transatlantic crossings; your only tool is to have ample knowledge on which option works best for you.