Domestic ports of embarkation have grown to more than 30, ranging from Anchorage to St. Augustine, FL, Boston to New Orleans, reports the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). In a backgrounder, CLIA said, “In fact, virtually the entire population of the United States is within driving distance of a cruise.”
“This not only adds significantly to the convenience factor of a cruise vacation—driving to the ship and leaving the car a short walking distance away—but can also represent significant savings during times of economic uncertainty, even allowing for the high price of gasoline,” CLIA said.
“No other type of vacation offers the variety of experiences—worldwide destinations, diverse itineraries, varying cruise lengths, types of ships, different onboard experiences and shore-side activities—that the CLIA fleet provides,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of CLIA. “The aim is to enable every vacationer to choose the cruise that is exactly right for individual tastes, interests and budget. A big part of that for millions of travelers is having a departure port close to home.”
CLIA notes that when the modern cruise industry began in the 1960s, the vast majority of voyages departed from a handful of big city ports, notably New York, Miami and Los Angeles. Today, cruisers can choose an itinerary from a host of alternatives. Equally significant, the cruises offered from these domestic ports represent the entire spectrum of the cruise experience.
“This includes large ships and small; the newest vessels; itineraries in Alaska, Mexico, Canada/New England, the Bahamas and the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, even transatlantic and world cruises and adventure voyages. In short, consumers can find a convenient domestic port of embarkation for virtually any kind of cruise they want,” CLIA said. CLIA also noted the popularity of America’s coastal and river cruises.