Last updated: 06:00 PM ET, Fri July 15 2016

The Hidden Benefits of Local Cruise Homeporting

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Holland America Line | Jason Leppert | July 15, 2016

The Hidden Benefits of Local Cruise Homeporting

Courtesy of Cunard 

In cruise travel, a homeport is one that is close enough to your residence that you can get to it quickly, usually without flying. For those living in the U.S., that often means embarking from cities in California, Florida, New York, Texas and Washington among others. But besides the obvious convenience, there are other benefits to be enjoyed on cruises to, from or roundtrip from these states.

Destinations nearest the American continent are the most common homeport options. That is Alaska, the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera. Year-round, there are plenty of weeklong or so roundtrip itineraries heading to the Caribbean from lots of ports, as far north as New York City, and seasonally to Alaska from the north and Mexico from the south.

Taking in to account the undesirables of air travel, more and more homeport cruises are stretching farther beyond, however. There are two-week cruises to Hawaii from and returning to the likes of Los Angeles, and Holland America Line even makes it all the way south to Martin (Pisco), Peru roundtrip from San Diego on an epic 30-day voyage. The joys of the latter are all the places seen along the way, and those of the former are the relaxing sea days that bookend intensive touring in the islands.

 READ MORE: San Diego, California: America’s Finest Homeport 

As far as Alaska is concerned, roundtrip sailings traditionally depart from Seattle (easiest for U.S. citizens) or Vancouver B.C. (easiest for Canadian citizens), but there are a handful that leave from San Francisco as well. Princess Cruises will even test out a new one to and from Los Angeles on April 27, 2018. Suites are entirely sold out well in advance, so it’s clearly an already popular alternative. Of course, the farther away a homeport is from the destination the longer the cruise, and this one is 12 days in total.

For those who can take off the time, the grandest of all roundtrip voyages from a homeport are world cruises like Oceania Cruises’ 180-day sailing from Miami, next scheduled to leave on January 6, 2017. Otherwise, one-way itineraries are also convenient for at least eliminating one leg of flying. Repositioning cruises are the most common for these, with cruises to or from Alaska hitting even the more southerly San Diego on their way up or down. Or if you happen to be a huge fan of Alaska, you could make your own extended roundtrip by staying in the region for its entire summer season.

 READ MORE: The Importance of Cruise Port Infrastructure and Attractions 

More realistically, there are opportunities to split one-way cruise legs for a custom roundtrip with more touring options in between. One unique hybrid opportunity would be to sail on Cunard Line’s remastered Queen Mary 2 from New York across to Europe, hop on a river cruise on say Viking River Cruises while there and then return to the States on the QM2 once more. It’s the best of both worlds, dependent only on your creativity, time and money to make it happen.


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