What is the status of U.S. cruise homeports?
As the U.S. starts its slow return to normal, keeping track of which U.S. homeports are open and hosting cruise ships is getting increasingly difficult. Some ports are technically open, but have no sailings planned; others are provisioning ships and processing crew members for vaccinations, but are not yet welcoming passengers.
To make sense of it all, we compiled a list of the major U.S. cruise homeports and their current cruise status.
The governor of Maryland lifted restrictions in May, allowing the Baltimore cruise port to officially reopen. However, no cruises are currently green lighted to sail from Baltimore. Port officials are working with cruise lines, such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean, and the CDC to restart sailings from this East Coast homeport.
Bayonne (Cape Liberty)
Royal Caribbean has finalized its summer schedule, and it does not include sailings from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, NJ. A spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey indicated that trial cruises might start by mid-August, with a regular schedule resuming by the end of August.
Royal Caribbean has canceled Freedom of the Seas’ New Jersey departures through late October and Oasis’ sailings through late August. Celebrity has not yet finalized its summer sailing schedule.
The port of Boston is technically open, but you won’t see any cruise ships there. With Canadian ports still closed to cruise ship traffic, Boston’s best hope for a return to cruise is for Bermuda sailings, but that season typically ends in the fall.
According to a spokesperson for the port, Flynn Cruiseport Boston is “having ongoing conversations with cruise lines and we look forward to a future cruise season in Boston. Although we have not had any sailings since 2019, we have kept [the port facilities] open for other uses, such as group exercise classes and blood drives.”
The port of Galveston is not only open, but the CDC has given Carnival permission to resume sailing from the port, and Carnival has confirmed cruises on two ships. Sailings depart as early as July 3 on Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze. Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas is also scheduled for weeklong Western Caribbean sailings from the Texas homeport, starting August 15.
The Port of Los Angeles never closed during the pandemic, though cruise lines have ceased to depart from its passenger terminals. Cruise ships do refuel and restock at the port, but no cruise line has announced new 2021 sailings from L.A.
Freedom of the Seas, Carnival Horizon, and Symphony of the Seas are all approved for test cruises from the Miami cruise port. Freedom of the Seas will depart on a two-night test cruise on June 20 and Allure will depart August 1, with revenue sailings beginning July 2 and August 14, respectively. Carnival has not yet announced the dates for its simulated voyages on Horizon.
No ocean cruises have been confirmed from New Orleans, but river cruise lines American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruises Lines have resumed Mississippi River sailings at reduced capacity and with health-and-safety protocols, such as vaccination requirements.
New York (Manhattan and Brooklyn)
According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, "At this time, there is no timeline for cruise resumption at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal."
A spokesperson for the Manhattan cruise terminal did not reply to our request for information, but no cruises are planned for that homeport at this time.
The port of Palm Beach might not get a lot of cruise traffic, but it is open for business. Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line will resume its two-night Bahamas cruises aboard Grand Classica, sailing roundtrip from Palm Beach, on July 2, 2021.
Port Canaveral is open for cruise ship business, and test cruises are already scheduled from the Florida port. Disney Dream sets sail on June 29, and Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas departs July 27.
Carnival also has the CDC’s green light to run simulated voyages from Port Canaveral, but it has not yet announced a ship. However, new ship Mardi Gras arrived in port on June 4.
Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas will begin 3- and 4-night Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral, starting August 23, and Allure of the Seas will run weeklong Caribbean cruises beginning August 8. The line’s Explorer and Adventure of the Seas have also been seen in port; Explorer’s crewmembers came ashore for Covid vaccination.
The Fort Lauderdale cruise port is open, and has been hosting vaccination clinics for crew aboard cruise and cargo ships. It will host revenue sailings on Celebrity Edge, beginning June 26, with fully vaccinated guests. Celebrity Equinox has also been approved to sail from Port Everglades with vaccinated passengers.
Sister line Royal Caribbean has confirmed summer Caribbean cruises from Port Everglades on Odyssey of the Seas, starting July 3, 2021.
The Port of San Diego is open, assisting with cruise ship maintenance and provisioning. In addition, it has partnered with Sharp HealthCare to vaccinate crewmembers from Holland America and Princess ships.
San Diego’s cruise season typically runs September through May or June, and according to a statement on the port’s website, “The Port is optimistic that cruising will resume out of San Diego in the fall for our 21-22 season.”
No cruises are currently sailing to or from San Juan, but the Puerto Rico port has been welcoming cruise ships for refueling and provisioning. Recently, crew from Norwegian Joy came ashore to get vaccinated; another Norwegian ship is scheduled to arrive in the next few weeks to vaccinate its crew at the San Juan port.
Discussions are underway between the port authority, Department of Health, and several cruise lines about a return to cruise. “If we are able to sign said agreements in the next coming weeks, we will be seeing the first transit calls as soon as August and hopefully homeporting operations by Q4,” a spokesperson for the port told Cruise.blog.
Six cruise lines have announced plans to resume cruises to Alaska from Seattle, with the first departing in mid-July. In the meantime, the port is working to add health and safety measures to the port, including touchless amenities and arrangements for social distancing.