Homeports: Busting The Myth

By: The Cruise Web, Inc.

We all already know the best way to vacation is… CRUISING. There is very little argument to that, especially on a cruise blog! However, there is one myth about cruising I hear over and over.  Let’s clear up this myth once and for all.

In my conversations with first time cruisers, I often hear that “it’s inconvenient or expensive to get to cruise departure ports!” Many first time cruisers think they have to live in Florida, California, or Alaska to get on a decent cruise.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  This is absolutely a myth … not true!  The truth is that the cruise lines are offering more and more alternatives to these traditional ports of embarkation.

You see … cruises are like great restaurants. Sure the best cheese steaks may be in Philadelphia, best deep dish pizzas in Chicago, best crab cakes in Maryland, and possibly the best hot dogs at the street vendors outside of Yankee stadium, but does that mean those things are unavailable in the rest of the country or world? Simply put… no. Sure, if money was no object, we could go to all these places to get our favorite bite to eat.  However, not everyone has a private jet at their disposal.  Even if you did have the money to burn, why waste it?

There are now many more “home” ports of which to take advantage.  Florida has ports in Port Canaveral (Orlando), Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Tampa, just to name a few. California offers Long Beach, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Those are popular ports, but would you be shocked to know you can actually leave from Texas, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Washington State, Alabama, South Carolina, and a number of other places? Most of these ports are within a few hours drive of where you live… or are at least a shorter flight than you expected.

Do yourself a favor and speak with your cruise consultant and explain to them exactly what you expect from your cruise… let them be the one to tell you if the ship and itinerary you require is available from your closest port. Just because there is not a port in your backyard, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a favorite port and/or home port. You may live in Las Vegas yet learn to call San Diego your home port, or maybe live in New Jersey but prefer to visit relatives in Baltimore just before your cruise. Either way, that is your home port, so you should use it wisely. Save yourself time and money by opening your mind and exploring all the options with your cruise consultant.

Hopefully by the time you are done reading this, you either placed a large deposit on a personal aircraft, have left your computer because of a sudden urge to dig into a deep dish pizza, or even better you have decided to call or email a cruise consultant and discuss your possible home port options. I would love the opportunity to discuss this with you!  Thanks for reading and happy sailing… see YOU on deck!

The Cruise Web, Inc.
The Cruise Web, Inc.
reply@cruiseweb.com
1-800-377-9383

17 comments

1 Jim Speckbrock { 05.20.09 at 12:01 pm }

I live in Florida, and one of the costs that drive me away from cruising is the high cost of parking. Port Canaveral, Miami, Lauderdale, etc., are all $15 a day or more. A ten day cruise will cost me another $150 bucks plus. That’s a lot of money, just to park a car. Considering that, an island stay becomes more cost justified…..

Jim Speckbrock
The Villages, Florida

2 Esmond Smith { 05.20.09 at 12:02 pm }

Why can’t cruiselines include Canadian departure airports e.g Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver at a reasonable fee.

3 Said { 05.20.09 at 12:22 pm }

Hi Jim, often times you can get extended stay parking at airports and other destinations. In all of my time in the industry I cannot recall price of parking creating an issue because there is always an alternative. Canadian departures are included at times but this is another reason you should use the knowledge of your consultant in advising your best flight options. :)

4 Mike H. { 05.20.09 at 12:33 pm }

Also, some cruise lines offer a “Cruise Connection” coach bus from various cities in Florida to the port. The cost of this transfer is usually lower than the cost of parking but makes getting there much less stressful. Some East Coast ports have this option as well.

5 Jerry Mandel { 05.20.09 at 1:38 pm }

All you can get from Texas and most Florida ports is Caribbean/Mexico. We’ve already cruised the Car. /Mexico too many times.

6 Nicole { 05.20.09 at 6:14 pm }

Bonjour, I enjoyed your blog and even more my cruise, I stayed at my port of departure two days prior to sailing and so had an extended holiday and got to know San Juan better, because let’s face it on your ports of call you can get to do a little not a lot. I still thought it was a perfect vacation.

7 Ron Gross { 05.20.09 at 9:41 pm }

Hello Mr. Durrah.
Your shortsited blog gave me a chuckle since its written by a Cruise Consultant, whos’ livelyhood is dependent on the cruise industry.
To me you haven’t and never will bust the myth, which is the TRUTH, that cruising is inconvenient AND expensive, because of the hassle of getting to major cruise departure ports.
All your talk about food distracts from the subject of your blog.
I understand that over 2/3’s of our population lives within 100 miles of our coastline, including the Great Lakes. And I believe that less than 1/3’d of us live within 100 miles of a MAJOR cruise port. Jerry Mandel’s response above I feel is spot on. Over 2/3’s of us gotta travel big time to get to a major port to do a cruise, irregardless of what you think or say.
How much is it going to cost me to park my RV in Seattle for the two weeks of my Alaskan cruise in June, and near New York for my two month European holiday in September? Plenty, you’ll have to agree.
So IMHO you haven’t succeded in even cracking that so called myth.
Ron

8 JACKIE { 05.21.09 at 2:05 am }

i live in south africa and would like to sail the meditaranian.
which port would i have to embark at.
also it would be appreciated if discounted air flights could be booked through your agency.

9 Erich Schotborgh { 05.21.09 at 11:17 am }

Of course I remember you, Said. The four of us do. The cruise you arranged for the family was wonderful and your name has been resounding all over our Island, Europe and South America where some of my kids live. I was very happy to read about your most successful 2009. We like to think that we have in some small way contributed to the fact, for in our book, YOU HAVE EARNED IT AND MORE!
Your blog is based solely on the US market but I mean to give it a boost with the following wakeup call:
I had to laugh out loud reading some of your spoiled critics. Guess they have no idea how lucky they are just needing to drive to a port with so many to choose from. That road trip could be fascinating too and a perfect adventure to combine and enhance any cruise. Besides isn’t flying to a Caribbean Island more expensive than using your own car to a port? Living on a small Caribbean Island like mine, there is no way but to fly to & fro the closest port of departure and that can really be costly, even more so than the cruise itself depending on your choice of accommodations. Certainly far more costly than some innocent parking for US$150.00! Then there are trains and the busses to any port in the US! There is no question in anyone’s mind that has cruised that EVERY necessary expense is worth a cruise. Really, you have not lived until you have cruised. A saying I have long been totally in agreement with.
The feeling of sailing away, to visually experience the receding daily routine as the shoreline dims and disappears beyond the deep blue is a feeling no other means of transportation can give a traveler. No more hassle with passports, tickets,visas, customs, immigration, no lugging of suitcases, etc. etc…. Your ship is your Country and your home where everything and everyone caters to you. A new beginning! You are in another life, another world as you visit Countries, Islands and people. As a Cruiser you remain completely detached as another being for the people you meet on shore see you as such with wonder. I have to add that to emerge from that world is painful and sad. Mostly because of so many good people on board as well as on shore that you will never see again. But while the end of a cruise gives you the feeling of loss, it is precisely this feeling that will bring you back again and again in your attempt to recapture the rapture .

10 Said { 05.21.09 at 12:01 pm }

In response to Ron- Thank you for your input! Our blog was designed to encourage feedback from all viewpoints, thank you for your thoughts. The blog was written for the thousands of clients this year who live in Baltimore and have been saying “I am waiting for better ships to leave from here so I normally go to New York” (Now more ships go to Baltimore increasing the appeal of that port to them) or “Well, I live in the Carolinas but I hate going to Florida sometimes…” (Norfolk and Baltimore within a few hours as well) or “I live in Florida but I am not interested in Mexico or Caribbean” (Maybe a Canada/New England cruise that ends in Florida, or a repositioning to South America or Europe?). The reason that I, a Cruise Consultant, wrote this blog is because I field questions from clients around the country who believe the “myth” that you have to fly to take a great cruise. The fact is, you do not.

To address your RV point, how does the cost of parking your RV compare to the money and the stress involved in purchasing airfare? To many people the freedom to drive and park rather than to fly and transfer is worth it. Also, you don’t have to drive! Amtrak runs throughout the country and Greyhound can help you avoid those pesky parking fees. It is my hope, that if anything should be taken out of my blog, it’s that you have options. I think people just want to know: Where can I cruise from to have a good time? IMHO, the answer to that question is not just FLORIDA or CALIFORNIA… the answer is, “Tell me more about your ideal destination.” Leave the rest up to me.

11 Said { 05.21.09 at 12:02 pm }

In response to Jerry- Have your consultant check into other options for you regarding possible airfare packages, train transportation, etc if you want to try a new port or have them pull up some uniqure itineraries to the Panama Canal or up the coast. Some very interesting cruises originate or end in the areas you mentioned. A client of mine did a cruise from Florida to Rome for an incredibly low price AND saved on airfare since they needed an one-way flight.

12 Erich Schotborgh { 05.21.09 at 12:53 pm }

Very happy to read about your most successful 2009. We like to think that we have in some small way contributed to the fact, for in our book, YOU HAVE EARNED IT AND MORE!
Your blog is based solely on the US market but I mean to give it a boost with the following wakeup call:
I had to laugh reading some of your spoiled critics. Isn’t flying to a Caribbean Island & Hotel more expensive than using your own car to a port for an inclusive Cruise? Then there are trains and the busses to any port in the US!
The feeling of sailing away, to experience the receding daily routine as the shoreline dims and disappears beyond the deep blue is a feeling no other “away from it all” can give a traveler. Your ship is your Country and your home where everything and everyone caters to you. A new beginning! You are in another life, another world as you visit Countries, Islands and people. As a Cruiser you remain completely detached as another being for the people you meet on shore see you as such with wonder. I have to add that to emerge from that world is painful and sad. Mostly because of so many good people on board as well as on shore that you will never see again. But while the end of a cruise gives you the feeling of loss, it is precisely this feeling that will bring you back again and again in your attempt to recapture the rapture .

13 Said { 05.21.09 at 1:14 pm }

Thank You Nicole and I am glad to hear your wedding aboard the Caribbean Princess for 14 days was absolutely amazing. I await the photos.
Erich- That was an amazing post. Thanks for contributing and I am glad to hear your family reunion and cruise through the canal as well as the few days in Florida went so fantastic! I am glad you took notice of all people like myself have to offer. Your first conversation with me was “If you do good for me… I will bring you a lot of business down the road” and hopefully you are pleased enough to follow up with the biggest compliment I can get and that is you trusting me with future travels for yourself and for those you know. :) Thanks again :)

14 Anna Maria Schotborgh { 05.25.09 at 4:07 pm }

Hello there!

My dad is Erich Schotborgh. It was my first cruise and it was GREAT!!!!!!! It’s amazing! There are no words to discribe it. You just have to do it to understand it!
So to all the people out there that never went on a cruise, GO, GO,GO,GO! YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY!
Thanks Said, for giving me and my family a great and special experience!

15 susan { 06.06.09 at 9:02 pm }

I just want to know if formal attire is still necessary. It’s just something else to pack. I’m taking an Alaskan Cruise on Celebrity Infinity. I can’t get anyone to respond.

16 The Cruise Web Team { 06.08.09 at 8:19 am }

Dear Susan, during your 7-Night cruise aboard the Infinity, you will have 2 formal nights & 5 smart casual nights. Here are the examples of “Smart Casual” and “Formal” attire:

Smart Casual
Ladies: Skirt or pants complemented by sweater or blouse.
Gentlemen: Pants with sports shirt or sweater. Shirts must have sleeves.

Note: T-shirts, swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps and pool wear are not allowed in the main restaurant or specialty restaurant at any time. Shorts and flip flops are not allowed in the evening hours.

Formal
Ladies: Cocktail dress, gown or dressy pantsuit
Gentlemen: Tuxedo, suit or dinner jacket with slacks

Hopefully this answers your question. Bon Voyage!

17 Brenda Lowder { 06.09.09 at 8:19 pm }

I certainly agree with Anna Maria. My husband and I went on a cruises last July 2008. It was our first and we truly enjoyed it. We live in North Carolina, and I have a brother in Florida. So we drove to Florida to see my brother for a few days and then drove to Cape canaveral fl. to board ship. I urge everyone to go on at least one cruise in their lifetime. We logged on to the cruise web and the next day Said called me, asked what size room we wanted, how many people were going on the cruise, and he took care of everything for us. All we had to do was board the ship, and enjoy our cruise, and we certainly did that. I can’t explain the fun we had. It was wonderful and we hope to go on another cruise to Hawaii in the future. Said is a wonderful person, and he will certainly take care of you and your cruise plans . Believe me you want regret it. We went to the Bahamas and it was not expensive and neither was the parking at cape canaveral. We were really surprised at the low cost of the cruise. So I also urge you all to go, go go.
Thanks again Said for our great experience while on the waters of the Atlantic ocean.

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