6 Cities That Should Be Cruise Ship Home Ports

When I find myself looking through cruise itineraries, most ships depart from the typical ports: Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, or New York City/Bayonne. Occasionally, I find a few itineraries departing from smaller or more “local” ports throughout the country, yet, I’m still surprised to see some major cities or metro areas are without a cruise ship. So, in order to shed light on this important issue, I’ve compiled a short wish list of ports that I believe should be shown a little more love when it comes to ship scheduling.

Disclaimer: I, Mike Faust, do not claim to be a cruise ship scheduling expert and acknowledge that my findings/results are subject to harsh criticism from actual cruise ship scheduling experts.

Boca Raton, FL 

See, we’re already going off the rails. This one is a personal wish. I happen to live under a mile from the Atlantic Ocean in Downtown Boca and I’d just really like to have the opportunity to step out my front door, walk down Palmetto Road, and walk right into the terminal. One can dream. #BocaBoat

West Palm Beach, FL 

Okay, maybe a little more reasonable. For being a “major” Floridian city, I’m always surprised that not one cruise line (and no, I don’t count Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line as a cruise line) has based a ship here. Sure, you have Port Everglades to the south and Canaveral to the north, but with a large metropolitan area and a leisure heavy airport, I’m surprised it hasn’t been tried. Surely you could schedule a smaller ship to sail Bahamas cruises from WBP?

Houston, TX 

A city and her (soon to be) empty terminal. While Houston is currently home to two cruise ships, the painful breakup is on its way. After April 2016, Houston will be left without any cruise ships, while Galveston continues to party it up with her conga line of cruise ships. As America’s fourth largest city and with major flight operations around the corner at IAH and HOU, I find it surprising that Galveston continues to steal cruise traffic from a lively and busy city. Personally, I love traveling through big cities and would much rather stay in, explore, and cruise from Houston than Galveston.

Fort Myers, FL 

I’m showing some more Florida bias, but I’ve still always wondered about Fort Myers. Sure, they don’t have the port to support cruise ships, but its location is somewhat beneficial for shorter sailings. 3 night cruises to Key West or Cozumel, anyone?

Portland, OR 

Overshadowed by San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver, this unique city rarely sees a cruise ship. She has the ability to handle large cruise ships, but no cruise line has yet made it a home. She’s not as strategically located for Alaska, Hawaii, or Mexico sailings as her neighbors, but then again, Baltimore isn’t close to the Caribbean, is she? Maybe cruise ships are too mainstream for a hipster city like Portland. Would it help if we replaced the carpet aboard a cruise ship with your PDX airport carpet?

Chicago, IL

Who said a Great Lakes cruise isn’t more fun than a Caribbean cruise? Well me, but I lived in Cleveland for 18 years, so I’ve earned my right to criticize the region. However, there is still a market for cruises around the north and only a few specialty cruise lines have tapped the market. The Great Lakes may be too shallow for a cruise ship, but I say we all grab a shovel and start digging. I’m sure my fellow cruisers around the Great Lakes would be thrilled to see a glistening cruise ship versus a cargo tanker pulling into port each morning.

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Mike Faust

Mike Faust is an avid world traveler, often found traversing city streets in Asia and Europe rather than his home city of Boca Raton. Mike has touched down in 39 countries, set sail on 35 cruises, and flown over 400,000 lifetime miles.