HMS Ark Royal
With the volcano eruption in Iceland a gap in Trans-Atlantic transportation has quickly shown up. Since it is impossible to fly due to the debris at 30,000 feet all the needed aircraft are grounded and the airports closed to flight traffic. For travelers it is possible to travel within Europe by ferry services and trains. However what about the Trans-Atlantic passengers ? This situation could go on for a month at least quite easily.
UPDATE: April 19, 2010.
Over the weekend COBRA the United Kingdoms emergency committee met to discuss using Royal Navy vessels to repatriate British subjects stranded abroad. In fact HMS Ark Royal is due to arrive in Santander, Spain, some 598 nautical miles from Portsmouth, UK, thanks to the cooperation of the Spanish Government. HMS Ocean and HMS Albion are also assigned to this civilian transport duty.
NAUTICAL LOG suggests that it is time to temporarily reintroduce Trans-Atlantic passenger ship service. Arrangements could be made to utilize cruise ships to move the stranded people from Europe to the United States and from United States to Europe. A priority system could be used to repatriate travelers immediately. Once that is done, if the situation continues, it would be a matter of purchase a ticket and travel Trans-Atlantic by sea.
The distance from New York, NY to Southampton, England is 3156 nautical miles, at 21 knots that is 6.26 days. Many cruise ships have the capability to do a higher sea speed say 25 knots which cuts a day off the passage.
Perhaps there is a cruise line out there that is already considering this service and if so NAUTICAL LOG would suggest 'go for it.' There are a lot of very unhappy people trying to survive at the European airports without too much assistance for them possible.