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jun 13 2011

Why cruise ships almost never stay in port overnight

The Norwegian Jewel has an overnight stop in Venice. (Courtesy BellaBim/Flickr)

Last Friday, Adam Goldstein, the CEO of Royal Caribbean, used his blog to respond to the following question from a customer: "Why don't you plan stops on certain ports for the whole night?"

Here's what he had to say:

Thank you for your feedback. You are right, a day might not be sufficient time to experience all there is to see in some of the wonderful cities that we visit around the world....

Many factors go into this including operational considerations such as how far the port is from other ports and if we stay later would we still be able to reach the next port of call. Usually if we spend more time in one port then we will spend less time in another port. Or in the case of an overnight it could mean not including another port on the itinerary. The Deployment team has to balance these considerations.

Royal Caribbean is far from alone in rarely staying overnight in ports. All the major cruise lines try to visit as many ports as possible.

There are exceptions of course. Goldstein points out that a few Royal Caribbean itineraries include overnight stays in a port, such as St. Petersburg, offered by Jewel of the Seas; Venice, offered by Voyager of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas; and Istanbul, offered by Vision of the Seas. Cruises visiting out-of-the-way Bermuda also tend to include overnight stays.

But, as I said, those are exceptions. Almost no Caribbean itinerary includes an overnight stopover. Not offending the locals may be one reason that ships skip port. For instance, the government of the Cayman Islands opposes gambling, and cruise lines would be quite unhappy to have to shut down their casinos while in port, losing precious hours of profit. In other Caribbean countries, there may be concerns about the nighttime noise level coming from the cruise ships.

At the end of the day, the reason why cruise ships almost never stay in port overnight is because most passengers don't seem to mind spending nights at sea.

What do you think? Would you like to stay overnight in one port on your next cruise? Or do you like the way cruise ships schedule their itineraries now? Please vote in our poll. And feel free to sound off in the comments.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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