Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Wed August 12 2015

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  • Amber Nolan | August 12, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    8 Best Cruises Sailing from US Homeports

    8 Best Cruises Sailing from US Homeports

    Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises

    There are a number of cruise ports scattered around the U.S. that take a lengthy flight out of the cruise vacation equation. If you live in or near a major city, you can jump in a cab to the cruise port and set off on a voyage to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central America, Alaska or New England. These eight cruises sail round-trip from U.S. homeports and offer standout itineraries, new ships or convenient departure dates.

    Caribbean Getaway Over Halloween from Norfolk

    Carnival Sunshine calls Norfolk, Virginia, home and sets sail on weekend getaways to the Bahamas as well as a handful of longer cruises. The eight-night departure over Halloween calls on Nassau, Bahamas but then keeps going south to the newest Caribbean port, the Dominican Republic’s Amber Cove.

    Visitors can explore a fort once used to defend against pirates, walk the three-mile boardwalk, or swim with stingrays, dolphins and sharks. The ship also heads to Grand Turk (in Turks and Caicos) before spending two days at sea returning to Norfolk.

    Baltimore to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean

    Often mistaken as part of the Caribbean, Bermuda is far north of the region — perched in Atlantic waters off the East Coast, making it easily accessible for a short getaway. Royal Caribbean has a five-night sailing from Baltimore to King’s Wharf with numerous departure dates available through October on Grandeur of the Seas.

    Cruising California’s Coast from San Francisco on Celebrity

    Celebrity is cruising the coast of California over Labor Day weekend from San Francisco, and the itinerary includes an overnight in the “City by the Bay” — allowing time to explore this homeport before the departure. The Celebrity Infinity calls on Monterey, Santa Barbara, San Diego and the island of Santa Catalina as well as Ensenada, Mexico.

    Early Booking with Crystal from Charleston

    For those who like to plan their vacation well in advance, Crystal has a December 20, 2017 sailing that will have passengers celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the Caribbean. The two-week cruise aboard Crystal Serenity visits unique ports of call like Scarborough (Trinidad/Tobago) and Fort-de-France, Martinique as well as the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Antigua before returning to Charleston.

    Central American Cruise from New Orleans

    The Norwegian Dawn is sailing a number of itineraries from New Orleans, but one that stands out is the seven-night cruise to destinations known for excellent scuba diving and snorkeling that also boast Mayan cultural attractions. The ship visits Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, Roatan in Honduras and Belize City, Belize. Departures range from November 2015 to February 2016.

    Fall Foliage Cruise from New York on Princess

    To catch New England’s fall foliage at its prime, hop aboard Princess Cruises’ new ship, the Regal Princess on a seven-night voyage embarking from New York City on October 15. The ship explores coastal New England and Canada with a number of historic ports of call including Newport, Rhode Island, Boston and Bar Harbor, Maine as well as Saint John and Halifax in Canada.

    Alaska Cruise from Seattle on Oceania

    While a number of cruise ships sailing to Alaska depart from Vancouver, Oceania has a seven-night round trip voyage from Seattle through the famed Inside Passage. The Oceania Regatta calls on the typical cruise ship stop of Ketchikan, as well as some lesser-visited ports like Wrangell, Alaska and Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

    Luxury Cruise to Central America from Fort Lauderdale

    Ultra luxury cruise line Silversea is known for exotic far-flung itineraries, so this 10-night voyage embarking December 2 is an ideal opportunity to experience the line without the need for an international flight. After departing Fort Lauderdale, the ship calls in the sleepy port of Trujillo, Honduras (on the Banana Coast) as well as Izabal, Guatemala, Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico followed by the Cayman Islands and Key West, Florida.


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Amber Nolan Captain’s Blog: Cruise Tips and Advice

Amber Nolan Amber Nolan loves to be on the water, and although she enjoys the fun and excitement of larger cruise ships, she prefers setting sail on smaller vessels to unique destinations. Originally from western New York, this restless traveler has a knack for finding creative ways to travel and befriending interesting characters along the way. On her most recent adventure, she hitchhiked on private aircraft across the United States. She previously served as the cruise editor at Sherman’s Travel but her work can also be found on and USA Today Travel. She current resides in South Florida.
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