By Michael ColemanÂ
As cruise ship travel continues to grow, so too is the opportunity for vacation-challenged local residents to enjoy short cruise getaways.
Carnival, for instance, the worlds largest operator, offers the industry’s broadest two- to five-day short cruise program. Look for cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Miami, Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, Tampa, Mobile, New Orleans and Galveston; voyages to Mexico from San Diego; and Baja cruises from Long Beach. Carnival also has seasonal cruises to Canada from New York, to the Bahamas from Charleston and Fort Lauderdale, and special two-day trips from Fort Lauderdale and New York.Â
Costa offers a variety of short cruises in Europe, ranging from three to five nights. Each provides the opportunity for travelers to not only sample the Costa brand but combine a cruise with a European land vacation. In 2009, itineraries will include a three-night Italy, Spain, Corsica cruise from Savona on the Costa Serena with stops in Barcelona and Ajaccio. Another option is a five-night Costa Atlantic sailing through Italy, France and Spain, from Savona, with stops in Porto Torres, Ibiza (two days), Alicante and Villefranche.Â
Norwegian Sky has just entered the Miami market and offers three- and four-day trips to the Bahamas. The ship departs on Mondays on four-day sailings to Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, the company’s private island. On Fridays, the ship sails three-day weekend getaways with full-day stops in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, returning Monday morning. NCL also offers a number of weekend cruises on Norwegian Spirit from New York, Norwegian Jade in Europe and Norwegian Pearl in Miami this fall.Â
Princess Cruises, meanwhile, offers a series of West Coast-based cruises on several ships. These include three-night getaways between Los Angeles and Vancouver on Coral Princess, Golden Princess and Island Princess in September; a four-night itinerary on Island Princess May 7, 2009 featuring Los Angeles, Victoria and Vancouver; a two-day journey between San Francisco and Vancouver on the Star Princess, May 7, 2009; and overnight sailings between Seattle and Vancouver. Golden Princess also offers a four-day Alaskan cruise between Vancouver and Seattle featuring Ketchikan departing May 5, 2009.Â
Closer to home, Royal Caribbean has tapped seven ships to offer short cruises. Enchantment of the Seas features Western Caribbean itineraries of three- to six-nights roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. Grandeur of the Seas sails on five-night Western Caribbean trips from Tampa as well as five-night Bermuda itineraries from Baltimore and Norfolk. Jewel of the Seas offers a five-night journey to Canada/New England from Boston. Majesty of the Seas sails on three- and four-night voyages to the Bahamas from Miami. Monarch of the Seas features Baja Mexico, from Los Angeles, or the Bahamas, from Port Canaveral, and Navigator of the Seas travels to the Caribbean and the Bahamas on two- to five-night trips from Fort Lauderdale. Sovereign of the Seas also sails to the Bahamas on short cruises from Port Canaveral.