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Cruise Ports Near Me: Your Guide to Cruise Ports You Can Drive To
Manhattan Cruise Port

Cruise Ports Near Me: Your Guide to Cruise Ports You Can Drive To

Cruise Ports Near Me: Your Guide to Cruise Ports You Can Drive To
Manhattan Cruise Port
Jorge Oliver
Cruise Critic Editor
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Driving to your cruise vacation can be more convenient and less costly than flying, even if that port is a few hours away. As airlines and airports continue to struggle with staff shortages contributing to lost luggage, delays and cancellations, interest in cruises that are within driving distance has risen.

What's better? With only a few exceptions, cruise homeports in North America tend to be located near the heart of the action in their respective cities. That gives you an additional incentive to enjoy some sightseeing on the way to your ship.

Below, you'll find some of the biggest cruise ports from New York City to Florida, Seattle and everywhere in between. Read on to discover which cruise homeports are closest to you and start planning your cruise vacation.

On This Page

  • Northeast Cruise Ports
  • Southeast Cruise Ports
  • Gulf Coast Cruise Ports
  • California Cruise Ports
  • Pacific Northwest Cruise Ports

Northeast Cruise Ports

New York City Port

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Baltimore:

Strategically located on the upper northwest shore of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland's largest city has one of the premier ports of the Mid-Atlantic region. And there's plenty for cruisers to discover in town as well. Fort McHenry, where the national anthem was composed by Francis Scott Key, sits next to the port while other attractions -- like the National Aquarium, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, and the National Historic Seaport -- are located in nearby Inner Harbor. And if you have the time, a quick jaunt to nearby Annapolis is another great way to enjoy Maryland's history.

The Baltimore cruise port, officially known as Cruise Maryland, is home to two year-round cruise ships: Carnival Legend and Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas. Both offer itineraries from Baltimore that sail to the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean, as well as occasional New England and Canada cruises.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Baltimore: Atlantic City, NJ (2 hours, 40 minutes); Washington, D.C. (1 hour); Philadelphia (1 hour, 20 minutes); Hershey, PA (1 hour, 40 minutes); Harrisburg, PA (1 hour, 20 minutes); Allentown, PA (2 hours, 40 minutes); Charlottesville, VA (3 hours, 30 minutes); and Richmond, VA (3 hours, 30 minutes).

Embarkation in Baltimore

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Bayonne (Cape Liberty), NJ:

Cape Liberty sits just across the Hudson River from New York City in Bayonne, New Jersey. While less glitzy than its counterparts in Manhattan, at Cape Liberty you're still close enough to the Big Apple's main attractions, which are just a short drive or ferry ride away. In fact, the port is also just a couple of miles south of Liberty State Park, where you can catch a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, or simply enjoy the views of the New York City skyline.

Royal Caribbean has made Cape Liberty its main homeport in the New York City area, with year-round presence on ships like Adventure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. RCL's itineraries from Cape Liberty sail to Bermuda, Bahamas, and Canada and New England. Celebrity's Summit and Beyond homeport in Cape Liberty, offering itineraries to the Eastern Caribbean and Bermuda.

Cities and Regions Within Driving Distance of Bayonne (Cape Liberty), NJ: Long Island, NY (1 hour, 30 minutes); New Haven, CT (2 hours); Allentown, PA (1 hour, 30 minutes); Philadelphia (1 hour, 30 minutes); Atlantic City, NJ (2 hours); and Hartford, CT (2 hours, 30 minutes).

Embarkation in Bayonne

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Boston:

The capital of Massachusetts is also the capital of cruises throughout the Canada and New England region. Located on the south side of Boston Harbor, nearby attractions include the New England Aquarium, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, and the Boston Fish Pier to name a few. Big on history, Boston is also big on food. Italian eateries abound in the North End, while authentic Chinese and Pan-Asian cuisine can be had in Chinatown and Allston. Plus, the home of Sam Adams and the real Cheers bar mean that there are no shortage of watering holes.

Boston is particularly popular for Canada and New England sailings, but also for voyages to the Caribbean, Bermuda and transatlantic crossings to and from Europe. Norwegian, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Holland America all homeport out of Boston for roundtrip itineraries to Bermuda and Canada/New England. Windstar also offers one-way voyages from Boston to the Caribbean and Montreal on Star Pride.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Boston: Providence, RI (1 hour); Hartford, CT (1 hour, 30 minutes); New Haven, CT (2 hours, 15 minutes); Springfield, MA (1 hour, 30 minutes); Manchester, NH (1 hour); Portland, Maine (1 hour, 50 minutes) and Albany, NY (2 hours, 45 minutes).

Embarkation in Boston

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Brooklyn, NY:

Brooklyn's cruise port was built in 2006 to alleviate crowding at Manhattan's cruise terminal. While you won't be near the heart of the trendy borough's action, it's an easy enough cab ride to Brooklyn destinations like Williamsburg, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Plus, Lower Manhattan is just minutes away across the New York Harbor (and views of the skyline are stunning).

Two main cruise lines currently homeport from Brooklyn: Princess, with Enchanted Princess and Caribbean Princess covering Canada and New England as well as Caribbean itineraries; and Cunard's Queen Mary 2 offering transatlantic voyages. In April 2023, MSC Meraviglia will homeport in Brooklyn, offering voyages of six to 11 nights to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Bermuda, and Canada and New England. This will mark the first time MSC has based one of its ships out of the New York area.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Brooklyn, NY: Long Island, NY (1 hour); New Haven, CT (1 hour, 30 minutes); Allentown, PA (1 hour, 50 minutes); Philadelphia, PA (1 hour, 45 minutes); Atlantic City, NJ (2 hours, 10 minutes); and Hartford, CT (2 hours, 10 minutes).

Embarkation in Brooklyn

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in NYC (Manhattan):

Operating since 1932, the Manhattan Cruise Terminal is the oldest cruise terminal in the United States. And the location is unbeatable: right on the Hudson River, between West 44 and West 52 Streets, you're a handful of blocks away from Times Square, Central Park South and Midtown Manhattan's myriad attractions. Port Authority Bus Terminal is also nearby for those coming into the city on public transit, and Penn Station is a five-minute taxi ride from the cruise port.

Seven cruise lines currently depart from Manhattan's cruise port: Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Cunard, Princess Cruises and Disney Cruise Line, making the busiest of the three New York-area cruise ports. Itineraries include the Caribbean, Canada and New England, Bermuda and transatlantic crossings.

Cities and Regions Within Driving Distance of Manhattan: Long Island, NY (1 hour); New Haven, CT (1 hour, 25 minutes); Allentown, PA (1 hour, 50 minutes); Philadelphia (2 hours, 15 minutes); Atlantic City, NJ (2 hours, 15 minutes); and Hartford, CT (2 hours).

Embarkation in Manhattan

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Montreal:

Montreal is a hub for cruises sailing Canada and New England routes and is an awesome embarkation destination. On the west bank of the St. Lawrence River, Montreal's Iberville Cruise Terminal is located not only within the bustling downtown area, but also in the historic part of the city, placing you right within the iconic Vieux Port area of the city. In fact, you can see the twin bell towers of Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica from the dock and in less than a 10-minute walk, you can be inside the church.

Montreal's cruise season runs from late May to mid-October, with a greater concentration of itineraries taking place in the fall to take advantage of the region's spectacular autumn foliage. During this time, Holland America Line, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas and Seabourn all homeport in Montreal, while other cruise lines offer one-way sailings, including Windstar, Ponant and Viking.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Montreal: Ottawa, ON (2 hours); Sherbrooke, QC (1 hour, 30 minutes); Kingston, ON (3 hours); Burlington, VT (1 hour, 45 minutes); Syracuse, NY (4 hours, 10 minutes); and Albany, NY (3 hours, 30 minutes). Rail service is also available from Ottawa and Toronto on Via Rail.

Embarkation in Montreal

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Quebec City, QC, CA:

Located by Quebec City's charming Old City, the Port of Quebec is nestled in the heart of the Quebecois capital. Expect easy access to charming cobblestone streets, local shops and restaurants, all making this Old World-style North American port a favorite among cruisers. Some of the city's most emblematic attractions are within an easy walk, including the Place Royale, the Museum of Civilization, the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, the Petit Champlain district or the Citadelle de Quebec. Or you can simply meander and enjoy the countless sidewalk cafes, art galleries and antique shops that breathe life into Vieux Quebec's streets.

Quebec City's Ross Gaudreault Cruise Terminal hosts ships from various cruise lines that homeport here, including Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Cunard, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. The port becomes a busy hub during the popular Canada/New England cruise season, welcoming passengers that sail up the St. Lawrence River.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Quebec City, QC, CA: Montreal, QC (2 hours, 45 minutes), and Victoriaville, QC (1 hour, 20 minutes); Burlington, VT (4 hours).

Embarkation in Quebec City

Southeast Cruise Ports

Miami Port

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, FL (Port Everglades):

With more than 300 miles of Intracoastal Waterway and navigable inland canals, Fort Lauderdale has earned the nickname Venice of America. The city's Port Everglades puts attractions close at hand for those looking to do a little exploring before or after their cruise. Nearby Las Olas Boulevard is an entertainment hub with plenty of restaurants, bars, art galleries and boutiques, while the long stretches of beach north and south of Port Everglades also offer an enticing escape.

Fort Lauderdale has eight cruise terminals and accommodates close to 4 million cruise passengers a year. Located 30 miles north of PortMiami, here you'll find major cruise lines and luxury lines that don't homeport in Miami, including Princess, Holland America, Silversea Cruises and, in the near future, Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection's Evrima. Other lines like Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Royal Caribbean and Viking also sail from Fort Lauderdale.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades): Delray Beach, FL (30 minutes); Fort Myers, FL (2 hours, 10 minutes); Naples, FL (1 hour, 35 minutes); Boca Raton, FL (25 minutes); Miami (30 minutes); and West Palm Beach (55 minutes).

Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Jacksonville, FL:

Situated in Florida's extreme northeast, Florida's official largest city offers cruisers an interesting mix of attractions with historical sites, nature preserves and 22 miles of beaches. Jacksonville's port is located some 20 minutes by car from downtown. If you have the time, add a visit to Amelia Island to your plans.The barrier island is home to several beach communities, extensive trails, five golf courses and the Civil War-era Fort Clinch.

Carnival is the only line that offers year-round service from Jacksonville, offering four-and five-day itineraries to the Bahamas on Carnival Elation.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Jacksonville, FL: Brunswick, GA (1 hour); St. Augustine, FL (45 minutes); Gainesville, FL (1 hour, 10 minutes); Tallahassee, FL (2 hours, 30 minutes); Savannah, GA (2 hours, 5 minutes); Daytona Beach, FL (2 hours, 10 minutes); and Albany, GA (3 hours, 10 minutes).

Embarkation in Jacksonville

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Miami:

PortMiami consistently ranks as the world's busiest cruise hub, catering to local residents and out-of-towners alike. Located on man-made Dodge Island, the port sits neatly between Downtown Miami and South Beach on Biscayne Bay. That lets cruisers explore many of the region's most alluring attractions without venturing too far. Don't pass up on the local culinary scene: Miami's massive melting pot of cultures results in delectable dining options from across the globe, with special emphasis on Latin American and Caribbean options (and yes, that means Cuba, too).

As the world's busiest cruise port, a wide varietyof cruise lines homeport in PortMiami. Those include Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Disney MSC Cruises, Norwegian, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean and Virgin Voyages. Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, is a noteworthy resident of PortMiami.

All points across The Bahamas and Caribbean are PortMiami's most obvious destinations, but transatlantic voyages are also common, as are voyages up the eastern seaboard to Canada plus Panama Canal crossings.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Miami: Delray Beach, FL (55 minutes); Fort Myers, FL (2 hours, 25 minutes); Cape Coral, FL (2 hours, 30 minutes); Naples, FL (2 hours); Boca Raton, FL (50 minutes); Fort Lauderdale, FL (30 minutes); West Palm Beach (1 hour, 15 minutes).

Embarkation in Miami

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Palm Beach, FL:

Sandwiched between the gargantuan ports of Cape Canaveral to the north, and Port Everglades and PortMiami to the south, the Port of Palm Beach is quite modest. But its proximity to the Bahamas has made it a convenient launching point for exploring the archipelago. Technically located in Riviera Beach, cruisers sailing from the Port of Palm Beach can easily explore the region's attractions in the cities of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. And if you have time to hit the links, the Palm Beaches are considered Florida's Golf Capital, with more than 160 golf courses spread throughout the county.

One cruise line calls the Port of Palm Beach home: Margaritaville at Sea. Starting operations in May 2022, the Jimmy Buffet-themed line sails year-round to Grand Bahama on roundtrip, two-night itineraries on its one ship, Margaritaville at Sea Paradise.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Palm Beach: Delray Beach, FL (30 minutes); Fort Myers, FL (2 hours, 40 minutes); Naples, FL (2 hours, 30 minutes); and Boca Raton, FL (35 minutes).

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Port Canaveral (Orlando), FL:

Let's start with a fact: Port Canaveral is 50 miles east of Orlando on Florida's Space Coast, not in Orlando as is often billed on cruise itineraries. However, Port Canaveral is a destination unto its own. The area's main claim to fame is NASA's Kennedy Space Center (in fact, there's a popular rocket launch viewpoint near the port), while the port itself has parks and dining options. Just south of the port, Cocoa Beach is home to the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame and the historic Cocoa Beach Pier for those looking for a little local culture.

In recent years, Port Canaveral has surpassed Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades as the world's second busiest cruise port in multi-day embarkations. Thirteen cruise ships homeport in Port Canaveral, including Disney Wish and four ships apiece from Royal Caribbean and Carnival. MSC Cruises and Norwegian round out the list of cruise lines that homeport in Port Canaveral.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Port Canaveral: Delray Beach, FL (2 hours, 25 minutes); Fort Myers, FL (3 hours, 35 minutes); Orlando, FL (50 minutes); Boca Raton, FL (2 hours, 30 minutes); Gainesville, FL (2 hours, 30 minutes); Jacksonville, FL (2 hours, 20 minutes); and Daytona Beach, FL (1 hour, 10 minutes); West Palm Beach (2 hours, 10 minutes).

Embarkation in Port Canaveral

Gulf Coast Cruise Ports

Galveston (Photo:BJ Ray/Shutterstock)

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Galveston, TX:

Located on an island and bay of the same name, the Port of Galveston is Texas' primary cruise gateway. Galveston is located approximately 52 miles southeast of Houston and the island features numerous landmarks that cruisers can enjoy when sailing from here. Right by the cruise port, the Strand historic district is lined with Victorian houses. On the ocean side of the island, you'll find the main beaches by the Seawall, while Historic Pleasure Pier is an old-fashioned amusement area with rides and boardwalk eats. If you have the time, consider a visit to NASA's Johnson Space Center, located roughly halfway between Galveston and Downtown Houston.

The Port of Galveston has two terminals dedicated to cruise ships. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney and Norwegian all sail from Galveston to the Eastern and Western Caribbean and Bahamas on itineraries ranging from four to seven nights. Norwegian Prima will homeport out of Galveston starting in winter 2023-24, and Royal Caribbean's new Galveston terminal will debut in the fall of 2022.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Galveston: Houston (50 minutes); Austin, TX (3 hours, 35 minutes); San Antonio, TX (3 hours, 50 minutes); Waco, TX (3 hours, 45 minutes); Dallas (4 hours, 25 minutes); Beaumont, TX (1 hour, 50 minutes); and Lafayette, LA (3 hours, 50 minutes).

Embarkation in Galveston

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Mobile, AL:

On the west bank of the Mobile River, Mobile is a mini New Orleans of sorts, if history has anything to say. Cruisers can enjoy the city's historical sites (it was the original capital of French Louisiana and is home to the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States), including Fort Condé, a recreation of the 1723 French fort; Battleship Memorial Park, where military history buffs can tour the WWII battleship USS Alabama and the submarine USS Drum; or tour Mobile's walkable downtown. Dauphin Island, some 20 miles south, is another standout destination with sandy beaches, historic Fort Gaines and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Estuarium.

Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Spirit homeport in Mobile for itineraries to the Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean and Bahamas itineraries from Mobile.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Mobile: Montgomery, AL (2 hours, 30 minutes); Birmingham, AL (3 hours, 40 minutes); Jackson, MS (3 hours, 40 minutes); Pensacola, FL (50 minutes); and Tallahassee, FL (3 hours, 30 minutes).

Embarkation in Mobile

Why You Should Drive to a Cruse in New Orleans:

Located on the shores of the Mississippi River, New Orleans' cruise port is right near the heart of the city. You're only a handful of blocks away from some of the Big Easy's biggest attractions, like Jackson Square, the French Quarter, the Warehouse District, the Audobon Aquarium of the Americas and the National World War II Museum. And the cuisine, much like the jazz, is world-famous.

New Orleans is considered the sixth largest cruise port in the United States, owing to its accessibility for river cruises up the Mississippi River and ease of access to the Western Caribbean and Central America via the Gulf of Mexico. Carnival, Norwegian, Disney and Royal Caribbean all offer four- to nine-night cruises from New Orleans to the Panama Canal, the Bahamas and everywhere in between. For Mississippi River cruises, American Cruise Lines and American Queen Voyages offer year-round jaunts as far as Memphis.

Cities Within Driving Distance of New Orleans: Lafayette, LA (2 hours, 10 minutes); Baton Rouge, LA (1 hour, 15 minutes); Hattiesburg, MS (1 hour, 45 minutes); and Alexandria, LA (3 hours, 30 minutes); Jackson, MS (2 hours, 50 minutes).

Embarkation in New Orleans

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Tampa, FL:

The Port of Tampa Bay is Florida's only Gulf of Meico cruise port. Tampa's cruise terminals are part of the city's Channelside District development, which includes shopping, dining, nightlife and a number of Tampa's best attractions, including the Florida Aquarium and the American Victory Ship and Museum. Elsewhere, Busch Gardens amusement park is one of Tampa Bay's biggest draws, while the nearby cities of Clearwater and St. Petersburg ahve awesome beaches.

Tampa homeports numerous vessels from four cruise lines: Carnival Paradise and Carnival Pride; Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas; Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Jade; and Celebrity Constellation. Itineraries from Tampa cover the Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean as well as Panama Canal crossings, and the occasional transatlantic sailing.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Tampa: Clearwater, FL (30 minutes); St. Petersburg (25 minutes), FL; Sarasota, FL (1 hour); Orlando, FL (1 hour, 20 minutes); Fort Myers, FL (1 hour, 55 minutes); Cape Coral, FL (2 hours, 10 minutes); Naples, FL (2 hours, 30 minutes); Gainesville, FL (2 hours,5 minutes); Tallahassee, FL (4 hours); Jacksonville, FL (3 hours, 15 minutes); and Lakeland, FL (1 hour, 20 minutes).

Embarkation in Tampa

California Cruise Ports

Los Angeles Cruise Port

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Long Beach, CA:

Adjacent to the larger and busier Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach caters to Carnival cruisers in the sprawling Los Angeles area. Originally built to display Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose airplane, the 12-story geodesic dome of Long Beach Cruise Terminal is an attraction unto itself. In true Hollywood fashion, it has been used as a movie production soundstage for such films as "A.I.," "Last Action Hero" and "Batman Forever." Elsewhere in the port, Long Beach is also home to the RMS Queen Mary, a classic 1930s ocean liner converted into a tourist attraction, hotel and event facility.

Long Beach is Carnival's largest West Coast hub, as the cruise line owns the Long Beach Cruise Terminal. Three Carnival vessels homeport here -- Carnival Panorama, Carnival Radiance and Carnival Miracle -- sailing to Catalina Island, the Mexican Riviera, Hawaii or Alaska on itineraries ranging from two to 15 days.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Long Beach: Anaheim, CA (35 minutes); San Bernardino, CA (1 hour, 10 minutes); Palm Springs, CA (1 hour, 55 minutes); and Irvine, CA (35 minutes); San Diego (1 hour, 45 minutes).

Embarkation in Long Beach

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Los Angeles:

Located on San Pedro Bay, roughly 25 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, the Port of Los Angeles is the largest cruise ship terminal on the West Coast of the United States. Contrary to other ports in North America and owing to the sprawling nature of the Los Angeles metro area, the World Cruise Port and the adjacent Long Beach Port aren't particularly close the LA's main attractions. But Old San Pedro is worth exploring, where you'll find plenty of shops and restaurants as well as historic landmarks and museums.

Dubbed World Cruise Center, the Port of Los Angeles features three terminals. Cruise lines that homeport in the World Cruise Center include Princess, Norwegian and Celebrity Cruises (you'll find Carnival in the adjacent Port of Long Beach). In 2021, Navigator of the Seas marked Royal Caribbean's return to California for the first time in more than a decade, sailing year-round from the Port of Los Angeles.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Los Angeles: Anaheim, CA (35 minutes); San Bernardino, CA (1 hour, 10 minutes; Palm Springs, CA (1 hour, 55 minutes); and Irvine, CA (35 minutes); San Diego (1 hour, 45 minutes).

Embarkation in Los Angeles

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in San Diego:

The Port of San Diego is the fourth largest in California and it's located right in the heart of the city. The port’s two cruise ship terminals are located on San Diego Bay’s Embarcadero (Spanish for "pier"): a two-mile stretch of downtown waterfront with ample dining, shopping, lodging, museums and other attractions. Other nearby attractions include the Gaslamp Quarter and Balboa Park, home to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Museum of Art.

Holland America, Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruise Line all homeport in San Diego, with itineraries to Hawaii and the South Pacific, the Pacific Coast, the Mexican Riviera, the Panama Canal and South America.

Cities Within Driving Distance of San Diego: Tijuana, MX (45 minutes); Anaheim, CA (1 hour, 25 minutes); San Bernardino, CA (2 hours, 5 minutes); Palm Springs, CA (2 hours, 40 minutes); and Irvine, CA (2 hours).

Embarkation in San Diego

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in San Francisco:

Sailing past the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay is easily one of the most memorable maritime experiences to be had. And it's on the agenda on cruises from San Francisco. The city's cruise terminal makes it easy to reach Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, Coit Tower, the Ferry Building, Exploratorium and Union Square. But note: the treats of San Francisco command more than a few hours. These include mah-jongg parlors in Chinatown (with yummy samples from the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory on Ross Alley), cable car rides over Nob Hill, the staircase down the very steep and crooked Lombard Street, the ferry ride to enchanting Sausalito across San Francisco Bay and, of course, an escape to Alcatraz.

Princess, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian all homeport in San Francisco, with itineraries that travel throughout the California Coast, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico. And in April 2022, Carnival began homeporting from San Francisco for the first time, with Carnival Miracle sailing north to Alaska, west to Hawaii and south to Mexico. American Cruise Line will also begin to offer a river route from the Port of San Francisco in 2023. The voyage, onboard American Jazz(/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=1410, will sail California wine country along the Napa River.

Cities Within Driving Distance of San Francisco: San Jose, CA (1 hour); Santa Rosa, CA (1 hour); Stockton, CA (1 hour, 20 minutes); Concord, CA (35 minutes); Sacramento, CA (2 hours, 30 minutes); Berkeley, CA (25 minutes); Modesto, CA (1 hour, 30 minutes); and Reno, NV (3 hours, 50 minutes).

Embarkation in San Francisco

Pacific Northwest Cruise Ports

Seattle Port

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Seattle:

Perfectly poised at the northwest edge of the United States, Seattle provides an ideal launching site for Alaska adventures. Situated along the city's scenic waterfront, the Port of Seattle is steps away from major tourist attractions including the Great Wheel at Pier 57 Miners Landing, along with foodies' delight and birthplace of Starbucks, Pike Place.

The Port of Seattle operates two downtown cruise terminals (with a third, Terminal 46, slated for 2023), serving ships from seven major cruise lines -- including Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Royal Caribbean. Sailings from Seattle cover Alaska and the Pacific Northwest from April to October.

Discovery Princess has also made Seattle its home, sailing on seven-day Alaska itineraries out of the Emerald

Cities Withing Driving Distance of Seattle: Tacoma, WA (45 minutes); Olympia (1 hour, 10 minutes), WA; Portland, OR (3 hours, 10 minutes); Yakima, WA (2 hours, 30 minutes); Spokane, WA (4 hours, 35 minutes); Kennewick, WA (3 hours, 45 minutes); Salem, OR (3 hours, 55 minutes); and Eugene, OR (4 hours, 45 minutes).

Embarkation in Seattle

Why You Should Drive to a Cruise in Vancouver, BC, CA:

The classic capital of the Alaska cruise, the Canadian city of Vancouver has plenty to offer cruisers. While U.S. passengers will need to make sure they have their passport, you can easily spend a day exploring noteworthy sights like Granville Island, Gastown and Stanley Park; don’t miss the Asian food either – the sushi is world-class. Vancouver’s Canada Place cruise terminal is located in the heart of Burrard Inlet, smack in the middle of downtown Vancouver.

Nearly every major cruise line offers departures from Vancouver. Many luxury ships, and some expedition lines, use it as a base to go to Alaska, as opposed to Seattle. Vancouver is also home to some notable larger ships too, including Royal Caribbean's Jewel and Radiance of the Seas; Holland America's Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam and Volendam; and Disney Wonder to name a few.

Cities Within Driving Distance of Vancouver: Vancouver Island (90-minute ferry, plus drive time between 20 minutes to 1 hour on the mainland); Abbotsford, BC (90 minutes); Kamloops, BC (4 hours); and Kelowna, BC (5 hours).

Embarkation in Vancouver

Updated August 11, 2022

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