Holidaying through different time zones can be something of a weird sensation, and one of the leading causes of jet lag. Fly westwards and you barely lose any time, as you catch up with time zones as you fly, whereas flying east could see you lose hours and days. Flying to faraway lands like Oz can be hugely confusing, barely even knowing what day it is as you land.
This sensation is seldom the same when cruising, due to the slower and more leisurely pace of the journey. Until you cross the International Date Line, and then you’ll effectively become an honorary time traveller.
What is the International Date Line?
The International Date Line is an imaginary line which runs from the North Pole to the South Pole, mostly through the Pacific Ocean. It is predominantly a straight line, except for deviations to circumnavigate countries and islands (ensuring some folk aren’t a day ahead of their next door neighbours).
The line essentially serves to indicate which countries welcome in the new day first. Countries just to the west of the line kick off the new day before the rest of the world – these are the countries and islands such as Samoa which you will watch celebrate the New Year when you turn on BBC News on the morning of 31 December. Samoa is currently a whopping 14 hours ahead of the UK.
The time zones then progress in a westward direction, with each zone an hour later than the previous zone. This continues around the world until it reaches the locations just to the east of the International Date Line, such as Howland Island and Baker Island – the uninhabited islands which celebrate the new day after everyone else (aww).
If you are cruising westwards around the globe and passing through the Pacific Ocean, get ready to time travel into the future. As soon as you pass through the International Date Line you will jump 24 hours into the future – completely missing a day.
Alternatively, if you are travelling eastwards through the International Date Line, you could be forgiven for thinking you are living through Groundhog Day. As soon as you pass through the line, you will be jettisoned back 24 hours and you’ll get to live that day once again.
Crossing the International Date Line with Cruise1st
Now some of the craftier readers of this article may be rubbing their hands thinking they’ve just spotted a perfect opportunity to gain an extra day of holiday for nothing – but that is sadly not the case. Cruise1st, and all the major cruise lines factor in the effects of travelling through the International Date Line when organising and advertising itineraries – so you’ll always get the expected number of days at sea.
Additionally, it’s only really a concern if you are cruising through the Pacific Islands or completing a West Coast USA to Asia trip.
If you’ve managed to get your head around all of this and fancy booking yourself a unique excursion through the International Date Line, or a simple cruise around the Med, visit the Cruise1st UK homepage for a great selection of deals.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit. Paul Townsend, NeilsPhotography