If you’ve cruised out of Florida much over the years, you’ve most likely gone out of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Pot Canaveral, and maybe even Tampa. But another Florida cruise port just added another cruise line to their lineup of ships, Jacksonville.
The Jacksonville Port Authority, AKA Jaxport, board of directors approved Norwegian Cruise Line to provide passenger cruise service from Jacksonville, Fla., beginning in November 2025. The Norwegian Gem will homeport in Jacksonville, Fla. from November to April every year through 2028, offering seasonal cruises to The Bahamas and Eastern Caribbean.
When Norwegian Gem arrives, it will mark the first time Norwegian homeports in Jacksonville. More than 98 million people live within driving distance of the Jaxport Cruise Terminal.
Norwegian Gem will sail tropical getaways each year, offering three 12-day and two 11-day roundtrip Eastern Caribbean sailings from Jaxport, calling to the tropical destinations of Great Stirrup Cay, NCL’s private island in the Bahamas; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas and St. John’s, U.S. Virgin Islands; Antigua; Basseterre, St. Kitts; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and more. The ship will also sail a series of four- and five-day cruises to The Bahamas, calling to Great Stirrup Cay, Freeport, and Nassau, Bahamas. Sailings will be available to book beginning Feb. 15.
“Expanding our popular cruise program provides passengers throughout the Southeast U.S. and beyond with even more reasons to choose Jacksonville for their next vacation,” said Jaxport CEO Eric Green.
The cruise industry in Jacksonville, Fla. is responsible for nearly 800 jobs and more than $187 million in annual economic impact for Northeast Florida, according to a 2019 study. Sixty percent of travelers surveyed cited easy access to the port as the primary reason for cruising out of Jacksonville. And more than three-quarters of passengers surveyed said they would be “very likely” to return to Jacksonville for a future vacation.
Norwegian Gem’s amenities include a spa, pool with panoramic views, a variety of specialty restaurants and bars, entertainment, an arcade and casino, Splash Academy, Norwegian’s complimentary youth program, and more.
Norwegian’s Free at Sea offer provides guests with six free perks, including free unlimited open bar, free companion airfare, and more. Norwegian has an a lot of sailings to choose from across its 19-ship fleet as they sail to 450 destinations around the globe including Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and more.
Jaxport is a full-service international cargo and cruise seaport in Jacksonville, Fla. In addition to a passenger cruise terminal, the port also owns, maintains, and markets three cargo terminals and two intermodal rail yards along the St. Johns River. The Jaxport Cruise Terminal is located minutes from major interstates, including I-10 and I-95, with fast access to and from Jacksonville International Airport.