For a scenic cruise to nowhere, Philadelphia and its historic skyline are difficult to beat. In the coming years, as the city continues to grow its homeport business, look for cruises to nowhere and other short excursions to increase as well.
A cruise to nowhere is terrific for anyone looking to get away without having to travel far. Cruise to nowhere voyages typically last one or two days, during which time passengers get to experience the fun and luxury of cruise life.
The only difference between a cruise to nowhere and a regular cruise is the destination. As its name suggests, a cruise to nowhere doesn't visit a new port of call. Rather, the entire length of the cruise is spent at sea. In other words its destination is "nowhere."
Why Ships Sail to Nowhere
Theoretically, cruises to nowhere can sail out of any port. However, most sail from busier ports, such as New York, Baltimore, Norfolk, and Tampa. The main reasons why a company schedules a cruise to nowhere are:
- Repositioning: When a ship repositions, it means the vessel has received a new itinerary (in another hemisphere). During the time between the old and new itineraries, a ship may fill the time with a cruise to nowhere.
- Realigning a schedule: When a ship gets a new home, it has a period of time before it starts its regular sailings. During this time, a cruise to nowhere may be scheduled.
- Previewing a new ship: When a new ship debuts, it often sails a cruise to nowhere for media and cruise agents.
Given these reasons, it's not surprising that bigger ports sail the majority of cruises to nowhere. Philadelphia and its historic port however are steadily growing, and there's certainly a chance that the cruise to nowhere will soon sail out of Philly, too.
Cruise to Nowhere: Philadelphia Sailings
Checking CruisePhilly.com, the official site for the Port of Philadelphia, there are no upcoming cruises to nowhere scheduled for the 2009 season. Usually, cruises are scheduled a year or two in advance, but cruises to nowhere can pop up without much advance warning. Thus, it's a good idea to regularly check the cruise calendar.
Reasons people like cruises to nowhere include:
- Short getaway: The voyages last only one to two days, but in that time, passengers feel like they've truly gotten away. For regular cruise travelers, the cruise to nowhere is also a nice "cruise fix" to tide them over until a longer voyage can be made.
- Sample cruise: For people who have never been on a cruise, a short cruise to nowhere is ideal. It enables you to sample cruise life: activities, entertainment, dining, and relaxation. Cabin rates start at around $200 per person.
- Sea legs: For the uninitiated, cruise travel can take some adjustment. Getting your "sea legs" means you're able to handle the motion of the vessel while at sea. Before planning a longer voyage, a short one may help.
While Philadelphia doesn't see many cruises to nowhere, it does have a lively waterfront with a robust, local cruise industry touring the Delaware River. Though the cruise to nowhere experience is far different, a local cruise could help acclimate you to sailing. Lunch and dinner cruises take about three hours to complete, which is more than enough time for you to get your sea legs. Companies like Spirit of Philadelphia and Liberty Belle offer short excursions year-round.
The Philadelphia Cruise Terminal
While local vessels depart Philly's Penn's Landing, the major passenger ships sail out of the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal -- a historic port dating back to 1874. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the homeport has been recently refurbished to accommodate its spike in shipping business. A combination of 19th-century aesthetics and 21st-century technology, the port is set to compete with seaboard cities New York City, Baltimore, and Boston.
For More Information
For more on Philadelphia's cruise business -- both big and small -- visit the sites below. Also, remember to check the cruise calendar often for the rare cruise to nowhere Philadelphia-style. You never know when one might post:
- CruisePhilly: The official site of the Port of Philadelphia
- Cruise Critic: Overview of Philadelphia's homeport