Home Ports: Greatest Cruise Line Innovation Since Baked Alaska

I just got back from my two week “Clark Griswold” style cross country vacation that included driving about 3000 miles mostly on US I-10. It occurred to me what a great innovation the cruise industry made when they started “home porting” their ships in various locations throughout the US. That has meant for many cruisers the convenience of taking a cruise without much travel to get to the port of departure. U. S. Home ports include Baltimore, Boston, Cape Liberty, New York, Charleston, Gulf Port, Port Canaveral, Miami, Tampa, Mobile, New Orleans, Galveston, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Seattle. As I drove across Mobile Bay on Saturday morning, I could see the Carnival Cruise ship arriving in the port there. I thought how nice it would be to live near Mobile and take even a short trip on this ship. A cruise should be a completely stress free vacation experience, but sometimes the travel involved in getting there and back home can make things difficult. The home ports take eliminate this worry for many cruisers who are lucky enough to live near one of these ports.

Unfortunately, the nearest home port to us, in land locked Arizona, is San Diego. When can get there in under 8 hours, maybe 7 hours drive time. We also have the option of a direct 1 hour flight from Tucson to San Diego on Southwest Airlines. This usually means that we end up traveling just about anywhere to depart for our cruises including Vancouver and Barcelona. However, my parents live near Dallas, and they can reach their closest home port of Galveston in about 4 1/2 hours drive time. They have taken advantage of this convenience and taken both Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruises out of this port. My mother-in-law, a Florida resident, can reach the Tampa port in about 1/2 hour, port Canaveral in under 3 hours, and Miami in about 4 1/2 hours. Perhaps this is why so many cruise lovers relocate to Florida for their retirement.

If you are interested in taking a cruise but dreading the thought of having to fly to a departure port, be sure to check out the cruise lines that sail out of the above listed ports. If you are lucky enough to live relatively close to one of these ports you may be able to enjoy a cruise without a long journey to and from the port. r