Port Report: Cruise Terminals Across the U.S.
Think getting on a cruise is tough? These five drive-up ports make it easy.
Mobile Alabama Cruise Terminal, in downtown, operating year-round (251/338-7447, shipmobile.com).
Cruise Lines: Carnival Cruise Lines.
Regular Departures to: The western Caribbean.
Upcoming Departures: Three- and four-night sailings to Cozumel, Mexico, leave in September and October on the Carnival Holiday with a nine-hole golf course on deck.
Parking: The 500-space parking deck is adjacent to the terminal; cost is $15 per night, including taxes.
Latest News: Carnival will offer new six-night cruises to Mexico with stops in Jamaica and Grand Cayman in 2010 on the Carnival Fantasy . The 10-deck ship just got a multimillion dollar renovation, including a brand-new water park.
Port of New Orleans, less than two miles from the French Quarter on the Mississippi River, operating year-round (504/522-2551, portno.com).
Cruise Lines: Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line, American Canadian Caribbean Line.
Regular Departures to: Mexico and the Caribbean.
Sample Itinerary: Seven-nights on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Spirit, with stops in Costa Maya, Mexico, and Belize City, leaving January through April 2010. The 13-deck ship has a walloping 11 restaurants and 10 bars and lounges.
Parking: There are two parking structures with more than 1,000 spots, including a structure by the Riverwalk Marketplace shopping area; parking costs $16 per night, including taxes.
Latest News: This November, Carnival inaugurates the newer, larger Carnival Triumph with a weeklong Caribbean itinerary. The Triumph has a 22-foot LED screen on an upper deck.
And one to watch...
The Port of San Diego, already a huge power in the cruise industry (almost 300 ships docked there in 2008), will open a new $21 million cruise terminal in late 2010. The 52,000-square-foot structure has a glass façade and is designed to use less water and energy, which will likely gain it LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certificationthe standard bearers in sustainable design.
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