Avid Cruiser Voyages: The Cruise To Nowhere

Many of you are probably re-reading the title of this article right now but yes, this installment of Avid Cruiser Voyages deals with cruises that go, well, nowhere.

A Cruise to Nowhere doesn’t have any ports – but you’re still at sea. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Dubbed “Cruises to Nowhere,” these voyages are exactly that — an itinerary devoid of ports of call. But they differ from repositioning cruises in that they tend to operate round-trip out of the same port. One and even two night voyages are, at times, offered between ports like Vancouver and Seattle, but these are known as repositioning cruises due to the fact they begin and end in different ports.

Not every cruise line offers “cruises to nowhere,” but those that do tend to favor a handful of ports of embarkation: New York, Miami and Tampa are all popular ports for these voyages, though cruises to nowhere can be found as far away as Durban, South Africa in 2013.

A short “Cruise to Nowhere” might be the perfect opportunity to test out one of Norwegian Gem’s sumptuous Garden Villa suites. Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line.

In New York, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering voyages to nowhere aboard its Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jewel, and even the forthcoming Norwegian Breakaway in 2014. Fans of Carnival Cruise Lines can get in on the action on August 3, 2013, as Carnival Glory sails a two-night cruise to nowhere roundtrip from the Big Apple.

Further south in the Sunshine State of Florida, Norwegian is deploying its popular Norwegian Dawn on a two-night trip to nowhere from Tampa on November 15, 2013.  Disney Cruise Line  fans have reason to be excited as well: The line will be operating a special two-night cruise to nowhere from Miami on October 25 of next year aboard Disney Magic.

The big surprise for next year and beyond is just how many lines are choosing to operate voyages to nowhere departing from Sydney, Australia.

Like Sovereign of the Seas a decade earlier, Voyager of the Seas launched Royal Caribbean — and the industry ‚ into a new era of shipbuilding. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Cruising in Australia is red-hot, and cruise lines are eager to introduce their new ships in the region to the public. Throughout this year and next, Royal Caribbean  is operating a series of one-and-two-night cruises to nowhere aboard its 1999-built Voyager of the Seas, along with additional departures aboard Radiance of the Seas.

Subsidiary company Celebrity Cruises is taking things one step further, deploying Celebrity Solstice on one and three-night cruises to nowhere, with the single-night sailing happening December 9, 2012, and the three-night sailing departing on January 17, 2014.

If you’re in the mood for something further afield, Royal Caribbean is operating a two-night voyage that departs from Southampton, England on May 5, 2013 aboard Adventure of the SeasMSC Cruises is offering a similar voyage — but departing from Durban, South Africa — aboard the intimate MSC Opera on November 24, 2012 and February 15, 2013.

Celebrity Solstice will offer a handful of Cruises to Nowhere, departing roundtrip from Sydney, Australia. Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

With only one or two days onboard, cruisers obviously aren’t going to fly to Durban, South Africa for a cruise to nowhere. So why offer these types of cruises so far away? Simple: For those who live close (or can travel there cheaply), these short voyages offer an attractive way to experience a particular line or ship without shelling out the cash for a full voyage.

In many cases — like in Sydney, Australia and New York — it’s all about introducing a new ship. This is particularly true with Australian cruise passengers, many of whom would have traditionally had to fly thousands of miles in order to sail aboard Voyager of the Seas. Now, with it’s right in their backyard.

Cruises to Nowhere are also an attractive way for those who may be in a particular place for a land vacation to get their feet wet.  You might not fly all the way to Southampton, England just to sail for two days aboard Adventure of the Seas, but if you were there on business — or on a land trip — you might just consider extending your stay to test out something new.

We know we would. What about you? Would you cruise to nowhere?

Check out more Avid Cruiser Voyages:

Below, you’ll also find posts of Avid Cruiser Voyages that we think must be on every Avid Cruiser’s must-cruise list.