Beyond the romance of setting sail to the continent, there are pragmatic reasons to consider cruising to Europe. Ocean cruising allows the ease of checking in and out and unpacking only once, and promises slow-paced days of leisure at sea.
Although most cruise ships sailing to Europe originate in North America, there are other even more exotic options from other parts of the world. The budget-conscious and the extremely adventurous travel on freighters, commercial vessels with just a few cabins set aside for passengers, and few of the plush amenities that cruise ships offer. At the other end of the spectrum are round-the-world cruises on luxury liners, for which you can purchase the segments you like and arrive in Europe, as in days gone by.
At one time, cruises were the only means to reach Europe; the oceans were filled with commercial vessels and a few luxury liners. Once the domain of the elite leisure classes, cruising is now accessible to many more travellers. The persistent lure of ocean voyages over the years has resulted in the addition of many more cruise lines.