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Cruises to Norfolk

Norfolk (Photo:jiawangkun/Shutterstock)
Norfolk (Photo:jiawangkun/Shutterstock)

About Norfolk

Norfolk, a city with a storied maritime history, is located at the junction of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean in southeastern Virginia. Its cruise terminal is located in the city center, so you can step off your ship and walk right into downtown or over to some of its waterfront attractions.

Shore excursions will focus on day trips to historical places, such as the living museums of Colonial Williamsburg and the Jamestown Settlement, and the Revolutionary War battlefields at Jamestown. While these attractions are certainly worthwhile, you don't need to head out of Norfolk or even take a tour to have a fun day in port.

Norfolk is an important naval town, and the Nauticus museum right at the cruise port will let you explore the past with a tour of the USS Wisconsin and the present with a visit to its science and technology center. General Douglas MacArthur is buried here, and visitors can pay homage at his memorial or get some retail therapy at the large shopping mall that bears his name.

You'll also find Norfolk steeped in Colonial American history. The sights on the Cannonball Trail are well marked, and take you through 400 years of Norfolk history. Tour lovely historic homes in the Ghent neighborhood.

Culture vultures will be pleased to discover Norfolk's lively arts scene, which includes the Virginia Opera and Chrysler Museum. Dining-wise you'll find everything from down-home country cooking to fine cuisine. There's a zoo, botanical garden, minor league baseball team and a beach close by.

Norfolk hosts many festivals year-round, most at Town Point Park, including the big Harborfest in June, a waterfront celebration with tall ships, fireworks, music and lots of partying.

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DAY 1: Norfolk

5 Night
Cruise to Norfolk

Leaving:
Norfolk
Visiting:
Nassau, Freeport ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Norfolk

6 Night
Cruise to Norfolk

Leaving:
Norfolk
Visiting:
Nassau, Half Moon Cay ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Norfolk

6 Night
Cruise to Norfolk

Leaving:
Norfolk
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Bermuda ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Norfolk

4 Night
Cruise to Norfolk

Leaving:
Norfolk
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Bermuda ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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8 Night
Cruise to Norfolk

Leaving:
Norfolk
Visiting:
San Juan, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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5 Night
Cruise to Norfolk

Leaving:
Norfolk
Visiting:
Bermuda ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Norfolk

Leaving:
Norfolk
Visiting:
Nassau, Half Moon Cay ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Norfolk

Leaving:
Quebec City
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Boston, New York ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Norfolk

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Baltimore, Norfolk ...
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22 Night
Cruise to Norfolk

Leaving:
New York
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Baltimore, Norfolk ...
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14 Night
Cruise to Norfolk

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Hamilton, Freeport ...
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18 Night
Cruise to Norfolk

Leaving:
Tahiti
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Bora Bora, Aitutaki ...
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Cruise Line:
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
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Why go to Norfolk?

Pros:

Norfolk is rich in maritime history, arts and culture; area attractions include historic Williamsburg and Jamestown

Cons:

Gnarly traffic makes getting to Virginia Beach unpleasant in high season

Bottom Line:

Norfolk is a convenient embark port for Virginians, and an interesting and historic port of call on coastal cruises

Norfolk Cruise Port Facilities?

Norfolk Cruise Port Address:

1 Waterside Drive, Norfolk, VA 23150

Ships use Norfolk's Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center, which is located walking distance from downtown. Parking for embarking passengers is available downtown via Cedar Grove Parking, located on Monticello Avenue between Virginia Beach Boulevard and Princess Anne Road. Complimentary shuttles provide transportation from the Cedar Grove facility to Half Moone.

Parking lots closer to the terminal might offer overnight parking, but will be more expensive; check before you go as many are closed to cruisers. Alternatively, look for "stay, park and cruise" deals at area hotels; the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel sometimes offers one.

The Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center does not have any amenities worth noting. However, the cruise ship pier is adjacent to Nauticus is a maritime-focused science and technology center, which includes the Battleship Wisconsin. There's a gift shop and small cafe in the lobby of the Nauticus, if you need to grab something before embarkation begins.

Good to Know?

The port is used mainly by Carnival as a seasonal homeport for cruises to the Bahamas and Cuba cruises; a handful of other ships make one-off port stops here on repositioning cruises.

Traffic around the port can get hairy on cruise ship turnaround days, especially if there's a festival on at the adjacent Town Point Park. Plan accordingly, and consider getting dropped off or picked up a short walk from the terminal.

Getting Around?

On Foot: Many of Norfolk's best-known attractions -- including Nauticus, downtown and the Waterside District -- are within walking distance of the pier.

By Taxi: Taxis are available at the pier if you want to venture further, say to the artsy area known as Ghent. You can also use Lyft and Uber here to get a ride where you need to go.

By Bus: Hampton Roads Transit bus service, light rail and ferries link destinations in the greater area. The MacArthur Square stop is an easy walk from the cruise terminal.

By Car: For excursions beyond the downtown area, a car is necessary. There is a Hertz office downtown and an Enterprise in the Neon District, but they are offices and not lots, so you'll need to reserve in advance, and they'll have a car waiting for you.

By Bike: Norfolk is bike friendly with waterfront trails (like the Elizabeth River Trail) and plenty of bike parking downtown. Pace Bike Share offers a bike-sharing program; download the app if you want to rent bikes to explore the city.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Currency is the U.S. dollar. There are ATMs scattered throughout downtown Norfolk, including directly across from the cruise terminal on Boush Street.

Language?

English is spoken in Norfolk, often with a friendly Southern lilt.


Norfolk Cruise Reviews

babysteps
Sail Date: Mar 2019
We did not stop at Norfolk; due to weather we stopped at Port Canaveral instead.... Read More
Royal Princess
theron
Sail Date: Oct 2018
Although I did not take an excusion, I did walk around downtown Norfolk...and visited the small but well done Navy Museum in the Nautacus building next to the ship. Intereswtingly...and importantly...the museum's... Read More
Crown Princess
onyourmark
Sail Date: Oct 2017
Norwalk, VA – we arrived at 11am, went to Waterside complex and MacArthur Place mall. In the afternoon we took the Paddlewheeler ferry to Portsmouth and back, then the Tide light rail for some sightseeing. Be... Read More
Crown Princess
jbearit
Sail Date: Oct 2017
We went to the Chrysler Museum and the USS Wisconsin. Both were very interesting and I was pleased with the variety of exhibits at the Chrysler.... Read More
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