Driving to a cruise instead of booking a flight is a great option for a vacation for a number of reasons. Many of us just instinctively think to book flights when heading to cruise ports, because it simply takes less planning and seems like the obvious choice. But when you really break it down, it may make more sense to jump in the car to get to your cruise. This can save you money, make it easier on the day of travel, and even make it easier to pack for your vacation. To show you what we are talking about, here are four reasons why you should consider driving to your next cruise vacation.
Driving to a Cruise for Flexibility and Convenience
Possibly the biggest and best reason for driving to a cruise is the sheer convenience of having full control over your trip. When you drive to cruise ports instead of flying, you avoid the hassle of having to plan your trip according to your flight, allowing you to leave whenever you want and go at your own pace. You also avoid the messy situation of delayed or canceled flights. It’s generally recommended you arrive a day early when you are flying to avoid such a headache, but that means you have to spend a night there if you arrive on time, which means spending more money and using a full day of your vacation just for travel. That’s enough of a reason without even talking about avoiding security checks, long lines, baggage weight limits, airport restrictions, and the like. If you are traveling with kids, it’s even better, because you can stop as often as you need to, it makes bringing strollers easier, and you don’t have to worry about your kids misbehaving on a crowded plane.
Another huge advantage of driving to a cruise instead of flying is the money you can potentially save. Sure, you will be paying for gas, parking, and maybe a few other things like tolls and road snacks, but that is likely to be dwarfed by the costs of air tickets for each traveler, taxis to get to the cruise port, and hotel rooms for an overnight stay. The more people you are traveling with, the more you will collectively save, as you can share a car and hotel rooms. This also allows you to drive out the day of your cruise instead of flying in a day before (as we said earlier, you don’t have to worry about flight delays), which can mean using less vacation time. Logistics depend on how far you are traveling and your specific situation, but more often than not driving can save you a lot of cash. And more money saved on travel expenses means more money you can spend on your cruise!
Exploration and Sightseeing While Driving to a Cruise
Instead of spending the day or days before your cruise waiting in lines at the airport or waiting at the terminal for your flight to depart, by driving to a cruise you can take the opportunity to add a little road trip element to your vacation. Cruise ports tend to be in or nearby cities that are worth visiting on their own, and there are likely to be tourist stops along the way as well. If you’re taking a cruise out of Miami, you can spend an afternoon at Everglades National Park. Leaving from New York? Maybe stop in Atlantic City on the way. By planning out a little mini vacation on the way to your actual vacation, you add a little variety and make your trip that much more unique. Many things to see along the way will be free, like national parks and monuments, keeping your costs down at the same time.
Drivable Cruise Ports
The last ingredient in this cost-cutting, time-saving recipe is finding cruise ports close enough to drive to. Fortunately, the US has ports all along its coast lines, and most Americans can get to one of them in less than a day’s drive. On the Northeast coast, you’ve got Baltimore, Bayonne, Boston, Norfolk, and New York. On The West coast, there’s San Diego and San Francisco in California, plus Seattle in Washington. If you are North of the Canadian border, you’ve got Seward and Whittier in Alaska and Vancouver in Canada. Then on the Southeast coast along the Gulf of Mexico, there is Galveston, Charleston, New Orleans, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Port Canaveral, and Tampa. Finally, if you are in Hawaii, your port is in Honolulu. That’s 20 cities in North America that you can cruise from, making driving to a cruise a very viable option!
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