No Need to Fly with Home Port Cruising

Usually when I get home after work, I flip on the TV, grab a glass of water and plop down on the couch with my two sweet, doting cats and tune in to a classic airing of Seinfeld.  On one episode, George Costanza is desperately trying to avoid taking a trip with Audrey, a woman he is dating who was the recipient of a botched nose job. They are sitting in a diner and she suggests going to Hawaii. He shoots that down with a crazy story about high-pressure winds. She then states they could go to the Caribbean. George replies with – you couldn’t get me on a plane right now, as well as babbling some other nonsense, just to get out of going anywhere with her. It’s about this time the woman dumps George and leaves the restaurant.

My first thought was – George, you don’t need to get on a plane. If you think a cruise vacation means you need to get on a plane, think again!  You don’t have to fly to Miami or Fort Lauderdale to enjoy a Caribbean or Bahamas cruise. Cruises to the Caribbean leave from New York all the time! As a matter of fact, there are many cruise ports around the U.S. and there may be one conveniently within driving distance to you, which can save you time and money.

Northeast Ports

For those of you that live in the northeast, you have several port options around you. A cruise to Canada & New England, the Bahamas, Caribbean, or Bermuda is easily attained from one of five ports.

The Port of Boston, or Cruiseport Boston, is proud to be the home port to three major cruise lines: Holland America, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean.

New York has two ports: the Brooklyn Terminal and the Manhattan Terminal. Both are popular ports of call and each one is home to several ships. For those who want to experience Princess Cruise Line, Brooklyn is home to both Crown Princess and Royal Princess. If you want to sail aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Gem, or Carnival Sunshine, you’ll want to head towards Manhattan.

Bayonne, New Jersey is where you will find Cape Liberty Cruise Port. Four cruise lines depart regularly from the port, including Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, visiting the Bahamas, Caribbean, and Bermuda. Celebrity Summit travels to Bermuda, Canada & New England.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Pride and Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas call Port of Baltimore home. Both ships have regular cruise itineraries from this port.

East Coast Ports

Heading down the east coast of the United States you’ll hit two more cruise ports.  If you’re in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, or even Kentucky & Tennessee, you’ll want to drive east to Norfolk, Virginia. Norfolk is where you will find cruises to the Bahamas aboard the Carnival Sunshine. For those in the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama & surrounding areas, Charleston, South Carolina is where you want to go. Travel & Leisure magazine named Charleston 2016’s “Best City in the World”, so you may want to extend your vacation a few days to enjoy the city. Cruises to the Bahamas or Caribbean depart weekly on Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Ecstasy.

Southern Ports

Departing from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico you will find cruises to the Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean, Mexico, and other destinations from these three southern ports.

Mobile, Alabama is home port to Carnival Fantasy, which takes passengers on 4 or 5-day trips to the Eastern Caribbean.  Port of New Orleans holds regular itineraries for several ships. Carnival Dream sails the Caribbean for 6-9 day, while Carnival Triumph’s Caribbean cruises are 2-5 days long. Norwegian offers cruises to Western Caribbean and Panama Canal on three of their ships: Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Pearl.

The Port of Galveston in Texas has five ships with regular itineraries from this port. Depending on where you want to visit and how long you wish to cruise, you can choose a Western Caribbean or Bahamas cruise aboard Carnival Freedom and Eastern Caribbean cruises on Carnival Breeze and Carnival Liberty.  Disney’s Wonder offers 7-night itineraries to the Bahamas and Royal Caribbean travels year-round to several ports in the Western Caribbean.

West Coast Ports

Cruise destinations that depart from west coast ports include Hawaii & the South Pacific, Australia, Mexico and the Mexican Riviera, South America, Panama Canal, Pacific Coast, and Alaska & Canada.

It’s probably no surprise that California has the most ports along the west coast. The Port of San Diego is home to cruise lines such as Holland America, Celebrity and Disney. Long Beach, California is just a short drive from Los Angeles and is the home of Carnival Corporation’s Long Beach Cruise Terminal, exclusively used for Carnival owned cruise ships. Regular routes to Mexico can be found on Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration. Both Carnival Splendor and Carnival Miracle offers cruises to Alaska, Hawaii, and Mexico.

The Port of Los Angeles sees many Norwegian Cruise Line ships including Norwegian Jewel, which cruises the Pacific Coast, Norwegian Star, sailing the Panama Canal and Mexican Riviera, and the massive Norwegian Bliss. Four Princess ships are always embarking on an adventure:  Island Princess, Star Princess, Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess.

Several Princess ships set sail on voyages from the Port of San Francisco. The Grand Princess cruises roundtrip from the San Francisco along the Pacific Coast, Mexican Riviera, Alaska and Hawaii.  Coral Princess and Ruby Princess both have itineraries starting from this port.  Cruises to Alaska or Panama Canal can be found on Norwegian Sun.

The Port of Seattle is a bustling homeport to seven cruise lines, most offering itineraries to Alaska, Pacific Northwest, and Hawaii. Find cruises on ships such as Carnival Legend, Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas, and Norwegian Pearl, just to name a few.

Florida Ports

Florida is its own category, with a total of five cruise ports around the state. For those that live here there are a plethora of options available to the Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean, Cuba, Bermuda, Mexico, Panama Canal, Transatlantic crossings, South America, just about anywhere you want to go.

Along the east coast are Jaxport Cruise Terminal in Jacksonville, home port of Carnival Elation with regular visits to the Bahamas and Caribbean. Then come the big three. Port Canaveral is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. Many people combine an Orlando theme park trip with a cruise for a land and sea adventure. Next is Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, providing service to nine cruise lines and is home to two of the largest cruise ships in the world: Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas.  A short drive south is the mecca of cruise ports in Miami. The Port of Miami is the Cruise Capital of the World, with 19 brands sailing in and out of her terminals.  And finally, on the west coast, is Port Tampa Bay, with five home port vessels offering cruises to destinations in Mexico, Cuba, and the Western Caribbean.

So, you see, you may not need to get on a plane to experience a fantastic cruise to an array of amazing destinations. I wonder if Audrey suggested taking a Caribbean cruise from Manhattan Cruise Terminal if George would have agreed to go on the trip? Probably not, he would have gone on and on about how he would get seasick or can’t swim or that the current causes rip tides or something like that. That crazy Costanza!