One of the best ways to make the most of your time and money when planning a cruise vacation is to choose a cruise port relatively close to home. That will minimize travel costs getting to your departure point. And, you can enhance your overall vacation by planning for some activities in your embarkation city. If you live along the east coast or it is easily accessible to you, you will have the most options for selecting a departure point. (Another advantage of the east-cost cruise ports is that they often host closed-loop cruises that don’t require a passport!)
In this post, we will review what cruise ports are on the east coast. Keep reading for details on your options, as well as some hotel and activity suggestions if you choose to arrive a day or two in advance of your cruise departure.
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What Cruise Ports Are On The East Coast: Florida Holds The Record
Florida has the most cruise ports in the world, and we have written about them before. We have provided a detailed report on the five different ports you can find in Florida. So, to briefly recap:
Port of Miami – PortMiami is used both as a home port and a port of call for several cruise lines.
The home port cruise lines include Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Viking Ocean Cruises, and Virgin Voyages.
The port-of-call cruise lines are AIDA, Hapag-Lloid, Hurtigruten, P&O Cruises, Phoenix, Princess Cruises, SAGA, Scenic Luxury Cruises, Seabourn, TUI Cruises, and Windstar Cruises.
Our favorite hotel for family cruisers in Miami is: Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay.
Port of Ft. Lauderdale – The port of Ft. Lauderdale is named Port Everglades but hosts fewer cruise lines than Port Miami.
The cruise lines from Port Everglades include Balearia Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection, Royal Caribbean International, Silversea Cruises, and Viking Ocean Cruises.
Our favorite family cruise hotel in Ft. Lauderdale is the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort.
Port of Jacksonville – The port of Jacksonville, JAXport, offers the services of only one cruise line, the Carnival Cruise Lines, though you can book through a couple of different agencies.
Our recommended hotel for family cruisers in Jacksonville is the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.
Port of Tampa – Port Tampa Bay homeports a few different cruise lines throughout the year.
The cruise lines at Port Tampa Bay include Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Our favorite hotel in Tampa for a pre-cruise stay is The Westin Tampa Waterside.
Port Canaveral – The last of Florida’s cruise ports, Port Canaveral, offers five different cruise lines.
The cruise lines of Port Canaveral include Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises.
For information about stopping at the Key West Port on your Caribbean cruise, read more here.
The Cruise Port In Baltimore, Maryland
This home port in Baltimore, Maryland, is called Cruise Maryland and functions as a home port for cruises to Bermuda, as well as those going to New England, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Canada. Though you may be more interested in getting on the ship, there is a lot to see and do in the area, so be sure to look around.
Baltimore offers you the chance to catch up on some art, history, and more if you want to visit one of the city’s three museums. In addition, if you want a close-up experience with your favorite sea critters, you can also visit the massive National Aquarium, which offers a 4D theater experience for those feeling adventurous.
The Cruise Maryland port is a home port for two different Cruise lines, Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International, but it also functions as a port of call for other cruise lines. These cruise lines include AIDA cruises and MS Amadea.
If you are lucky enough to have Baltimore as a port of call, want to extend your vacation, or want to arrive in town a bit earlier, there are plenty of things to keep your children busy if you wish. One of these brilliant places includes the Maryland Science Center in Downtown Baltimore, where your children can have a look at the child-friendly displays and get a new science experience.
In addition, you and your children can enjoy some activities at one of the top-ranked children’s museums in America by going to the Port Discovery Children’s Museum in downtown Baltimore. If you have children looking for something more adrenaline-inducing or want them to get a good night’s rest after a day out, you can visit iFly in Baltimore for an indoor skydiving experience.
Our recommended hotel for a stay in Baltimore is the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel.
The Cruise Port In Bayonne, New Jersey
The cruise port in Bayonne, New Jersey, gets called the Cape Liberty Cruise Port and offers cruises between the Caribbean, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Canada, Greenland, New England, and the Americas, with three different cruise lines throughout the year.
The three cruise lines that use this port as a home port are Royal Caribbean International Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and TUI Cruises. Other cruise lines also come past the port that may use it as a port of call.
In 2014 Cape Liberty Cruise Port hosted the biggest and one of the most luxurious cruise ships ever to use this port, called Quantum of the seas, a ship operated by the Royal Caribbean International Cruises line. Hosting the Quantum of the seas is a fantastic feat that shows the growth, development, and progress made on the port since its creation in the 1930s and its use during the second world war.
If you aren’t rushing to get on the ship, you can do some things in Bayonne, including taking your children to one of the city’s water parks or theme parks. If you feel up for taking to the skies, you can also go on an air tour of the city by booking a helicopter ride or one of the other tour activities.
The Cruise Port In Boston, Massachusetts
The Flynn CuirsePort, found in Boston, Massachusetts, boasts a 10-minute drive from Boston Logan International Airport, allowing you to get to the cruise port quickly if needed. This port offers cruises between Boston and Bermuda, Canada, New England, and The Caribbean and is a port of call for many other cruise ships.
If you are looking to board a cruise ship from this port, there are plenty of options for the cruise line you want to use.
These include American Queen Voyages, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceana Cruises, P&O Cruises, Ponant, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises, The TUI Group, Vantage Cruise Lines, Viking Ocean Cruises, and Windstar Cruise Lines.
The Flynn Cruiseport is such a popular cruise port that in September of 2022 alone, their 11 Homeport Vessels had over 37 000 passengers. Though that is a significant number, in the same month of 2022, they received over 47 000 passengers as a port of call port, from 26 different cruise ships for the month.
One of the recommended things to do in Boston, whether you’re waiting for your ship or using it as a port of call, is to go to the Aquarium, where you can be closer to the sea critters. If you’re interested in it, you can also visit the LegoLand Discovery Center in Boston with your children, be sure not to step on any tiny Legos if you need to return to the cruise ship on time.
For a stay in Boston before or after a cruise, we recommend The Lenox Hotel; or alternatively, the Seaport Hotel.
What Cruise Ports Are On The East Coast In New York City, New York
The cruise port in New York City called NYCruise has two main Terminals, one in Brooklyn and another in Manhattan. This port was awarded the title of “ Best US Homeport” by TravelAge West Magazine and offers trips to Canada/New England, Bermuda, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas through ten possible cruise lines, depending on the one you choose and the terminal.
The cruise lines that use this as a home port include Crystal Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruises, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, the Cunard Line, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Seabourn Cruises, Holland America Line, and Vantage Travel. Other cruise lines also use this port as a port of call, like many other ports on the east coast.
With New York City undoubtedly being one of the US’s most popular tourist attractions, it is easy to understand why NYCruise had to develop a way to make boarding and disembarking more efficient, something they won an award for in 2011 at the Manhattan terminal.
Whether you’re just visiting this port as a part of the cruise or want to use it as a home port, there are plenty of things to do and see in the area, ensuring you can keep yourself and your children busy. One of the most popular places to see in New York City is the Statue of Liberty, so if you are in the area, it is best if you don’t skip on having a close-up.
The Cruise Port In Charleston, South Carolina
The Port of Charleston offers many cruises as a home port and port of call. The following cruise lines come through this port Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, TUI Cruises, American Queen Voyages, and Princess Cruises.
With Charleston being named 2021’s Top US City by Travel and Leisure magazine, it is easy to understand why so many cruise lines choose to start or make a stop at this port. This port is a part of a city known for its history and natural beauty, giving you plenty of opportunities to explore if your cruise ship docs at this port.
If you are looking to pass the time with your kids, some of the activities you may want to look into include exploring the Charleston Historic District and the Fire Museum.
For a hotel stay in Charleston, we recommend either the French Quarter Inn; or alternatively the Courtyard by Marriott Charleston Waterfront (note that there are 2 different Courtyard properties in Charleston).
The east coast offers a bounty of choices for cruisers, so start making your plans now!