from a city near you?
by Linda Coffman
home ports are riding the cruising wave
will it replace air-and-sea?
With air-and-sea programs that make
it possible to leave home in the morning and board a gleaming cruise
ship by mid-afternoon, why would anyone want drive to their port of
Quite simply, air travel in the
twenty-first century is more often viewed by travelers as time
consuming and and inconvenient. It's no fun suffering through the
myriad headaches of flying to port—from
early arrival at the airport for security purposes to worries over
lost luggage, flight cancellations, and delays. Plus, some potential
passengers would love to take a cruise, but won't fly in an airplane
for any reason.
Cruise lines recognize the
traveling public wants better alternatives and the
solution seems surprisingly simple. If passengers can't get to the
ports easily, bring the ports to them! While it's unlikely that a
cruise ship will ever dock in Boise, Idaho, there are splendid,
underutilized port cities close to major population areas all along
the United States' Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts.
In addition to the
busiest embarkation ports of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York City,
and Los Angeles, there are over a dozen less familiar port cities
capable of handling passenger ships. Even ports that are more
well-known for moving bananas than people are beginning to ride the
situated is Jacksonville, Florida's JAXPORT, where a temporary
cruise passenger terminal was built with an eye to the future.
JAXPORT conducted a two-year market survey to assess demand within a
six-hour drive of the city. Not surprisingly, they discovered that
many people from as far north as Charlotte and Atlanta have either
never taken a cruise or don't cruise as often as they want to
because of the expense and hassles of air travel, or because of the
long driving distances to available embarkation ports. Many of those
same people said they would drive to
if a cruise ship were based there, stimulating a currently untapped
“drive to” market.
The secret long held by Floridians
is out... a close-by cruise port means lower transportation costs
and the advantage of being able to snap up last minute bargain
Plus, road trips are kind of fun.
There's a lot to discover out there in “fly-over” country.
Web Sites: United States
Port Web Sites:
(Note that in the case of "non-traditional" cruise
ports, information can be somewhat vague; however, most port
authority web sites include basic location and driving
of Call —
Where is your cruise going? CruiseDiva.com shares information on
the world's most popular cruise ports of call.
A web site developed to provide important information on major
cruise ports of embarkation and disembarkation especially for
© Courtesy of Jacksonville Port Authority