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Wednesday, January 26, 2011



Raye and Marty Trencher
Cruise Traveler Magazine
January 2011

Cruising from the United States to exciting destinations has never been more convenient. And with airfares on the rise, sailing from a U.S. port is one of the best ways to stretch your vacation dollar. With over 25 departure ports to choose from,  families can find the perfect cruise! Cruise Travelers can choose from hundreds of voyages to destinations like the Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Canada/New England, and Mexico, even Hawaii! All with the convenience of a short drive. All total, there are 24 departure ports in the United States and Canada that are ready to welcome cruise travelers.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, due to the increase in oil prices,  airfares have increased in the past few months and are steadily increasing this year. The average domestic fare rose to $341 (including taxes and security fees).That's a 13% increase from the prior year!  The price of oil has gone from less than $20 ten years ago, to near $80 per barrel today.

A family of four flying to a cruise port from the Northeast to say Miami, might spend $1364 just to get there. Then another $3800 for the cruise ( including the cruise fare, taxes, tips, shore excursions and some on board spending etc. ) . That's a lot of money, especially in this economy.

But there are ways to save a lot money without having to drive very far or be limited due to budget constraints, to a small cramped  inside cabin for 4. 
The trend toward cruising close to home has been steadily growing every year since the first oil crisis more than two decades ago.  Cruising close to home allows travelers living within driving distance to avoid the added expense of airfares, airport parking, baggage fees etc. Travelers also save money on hotel stays since they don’t have to fly in the night before their cruise departs. In the winter arriving the night before is a must, as you could be stranded at the airport and never get to the pier, or arrive late and be waving from the dock as you ship sails off into the sunset.  Finally, these days flying includes long security lines, extra fees, flight delays and wasted hours at the airport. Who needs all that stress!

Popular homeports to catch a cruise include,  from the East Coast: Baltimore , Boston , Cape Liberty , Charleston , Ft. Lauderdale , Jacksonville , Miami , New York City , Norfolk , Philadelphia , Port Canaveral , Port Everglades ,and Tampa.   From the West Coast: West Coast Astoria , Los Angeles , Long Beach ,San Diego , San Francisco , and Seattle,  From The Gulf Coast: Gulf Coast Galveston , Houston , Mobile , and New Orleans.  

Today, cruises visit over 500 ports worldwide and practically every destination accessible by water. You can embark on your cruise vacation from a wide variety of over 24 North American ports close to home without having to fly to exotic locations around the globe. According to the CLIA,  ( Cruise Lines International Association ) member lines have announced exciting winter, spring and summer itineraries to a host of destinations that include visits to some of the most exciting ports in New England, Canada, Mexico, Alaska  and the Caribbean – and many of these itineraries begin from convenient North American homeports. And during "Wave Season" the cruise lines are offering some cruise deals that offer an extra $200 off select sailings, kids-sail-free deals,  pre-paid gratuities, up to $500 in free onboard spending, reduced booking deposits, or free stateroom upgrades.

The Benefits of Cruising
Close to Home:
  • No flight expenses
  • No airport hassles
  • No need to check in, and out of hotels
  • The ability to stretch your vacation dollar
  • A short drive to a perfect vacation
  • Year-round cruising possibilities for 3 to 12 day vacations
  • These ports will get you to the Caribbean, New England, Alaska, The Bahamas or Mexico for the ultimate getaway.
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