Save Time and Money With Homeport Cruises

Save Time and Money With Homeport Cruises
If you're looking for a convenient vacation that offers good value, consider a cruise from a nearby North American homeport. Cruises from close-to-home ports can take you to sunny beaches and sought after destinations, sometimes for less than the price of a round-trip air ticket to the tropics alone. In addition, by eliminating the airfare component, homeports make last-minute cruise escapes easy and fun.

One of the most expensive parts of a vacation spent in the tropics is the airfare. Cruise lines, however, have positioned their ships in a variety of U.S. locations that are within driving distance of major cities, making cruise vacations easier and less expensive. Carnival Cruise Lines, for example, estimates that approximately half of U.S. residents are within a day's drive of one of their homeports. "Carnival Cruise Lines expects to carry approximately 4.5 million guests this year," says Carnival spokeswoman Joyce Oliva, "and some of that can be attributed to the ease and convenience of getting to one of the line's many homeports."

Although the cost savings are substantial, there are more advantages to homeport cruising than saving money by eliminating airfares. Driving to the dock eliminates all of the hassles and potential delays commonly associated with air travel these days. There are no baggage fees or limits – other than what can comfortably fit inside your cabin – so cruisers are able to bring along as much as they’d like with them. Restrictions are also eliminated for what can be transported back home, making it easy to purchase large items and bottled beverages without worrying about TSA and overhead bin restrictions.

Some vacationers erroneously believe that cruise lines only locate their older ships in ports outside of Florida, but that is definitely not the case. Norwegian Cruise Line has positioned their newest and largest ship, the 4,000 passenger Norwegian Breakaway, in New York City year-round. This brand new ship features a cutting edge design with a variety of indoor and outdoor dining options, a wide range of entertainment choices including three Broadway shows, a massive Aqua Park with five water slides, and a three-story sports venue featuring the largest ropes course at sea. Likewise, Carnival Cruise Lines has stationed one of their newest ships, the amenity rich Carnival Magic, in the homeport of Galveston, Texas.

Homeport cruises are available from a wide variety of North American ports including:

* Boston, MA
* Montreal, Canada
* Quebec, Canada
* New York, NY
* Bayonne, NJ
* Baltimore, MD
* Charleston, SC
* Jacksonville, FL
* Port Canaveral, FL
* Fort Lauderdale, FL
* Miami, FL
* Tampa, FL
* New Orleans, LA
* Galveston, TX
* San Diego, CA
* Long Beach, CA
* Los Angeles, CA
* San Francisco, CA
* Seattle, WA
* Vancouver, Canada
* Anchorage, AK
* Honolulu, HI
* San Juan, PR

Today’s homeport cruises come in a wide variety of lengths and itineraries. Shorter cruises of three to six nights are offered, while longer itineraries of seven or more nights are also readily available. Parking can be found near all of the cruise terminals, but be careful, as the cost can be quite high. To save money, check out off-site parking options. If you’re coming from quite a distance and need to stay overnight at a hotel, look for cruise-oriented hotel packages that include free parking and complimentary shuttles to your cruise pier. Boards on sites such as Cruise Critic can be excellent resources for “been there – done that” homeport information and money-saving tips.

If you’re cruising with children, look for ships that offer lots of kid-friendly activities on lines such as Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America and Princess Cruises. Today’s cruise ships cater to kids and teens with extensive age-specific programming, special kids and teens club and lounge areas, family oriented entertainment, kids menu items and more. Talk with your travel agent about which ships might be best suited for the age of the children in your party and ask about special "kids sail free" deals and specials for 3rd and 4th guests in the same stateroom.

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