7 Cool Cruises that Sail from the U.S.

by John Roberts

7 Cool Cruises that Sail from the U.S.

by John Roberts

While cruising on the other side of the world has its appeal, sometimes it's nice to stick relatively close to home. Here are seven popular sailings in Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and elsewhere that you can embark on without having to fly out of the continental United States.

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Waikiki Beach in Honolulu / iStock / eddygaleotti
Ohe'o Gulch in Maui
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1. Hawaii out of L.A.

No need to board a plane to explore the "Aloha State" and its diverse islands. After four leisurely days at sea, you'll arrive in paradise, where you can hike, explore volcanoes and waterfalls, relax on the beach, take a surfing lesson, or enjoy a luau.

Who Goes There? Princess Cruises, Holland America, Carnival Cruise Line, and Crystal Cruises all offer itineraries to Hawaii from Los Angeles. Cruises typically make calls at up to five islands during a weeklong sailing. Some longer voyages begin in L.A. and travel the Hawaiian Islands circuit before venturing on to even more exotic locations, including Tahiti.

No need to board a plane to explore the "Aloha State" and its diverse islands. After four leisurely days at sea, you'll arrive in paradise, where you can hike, explore volcanoes and waterfalls, relax on the beach, take a surfing lesson, or enjoy a luau.

Who Goes There? Princess Cruises, Holland America, Carnival Cruise Line, and Crystal Cruises all offer itineraries to Hawaii from Los Angeles. Cruises typically make calls at up to five islands during a weeklong sailing. Some longer voyages begin in L.A. and travel the Hawaiian Islands circuit before venturing on to even more exotic locations, including Tahiti.

Humpback whale
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2. Alaska out of Seattle

For many, this is truly a bucket-list journey. If you're cruising to Alaska to experience the wild beauty of “The Last Frontier,” you have the option of departing from Seattle. On the voyage, you may spy humpback whales, feast on fresh-caught salmon, glimpse brown bears hunting in flowing rivers, and marvel at massive glaciers.

Who Goes There? Major cruise lines with ships that cruise round-trip from Seattle to Alaska include Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Carnival, Holland America, Norwegian, and Oceania.

For many, this is truly a bucket-list journey. If you're cruising to Alaska to experience the wild beauty of “The Last Frontier,” you have the option of departing from Seattle. On the voyage, you may spy humpback whales, feast on fresh-caught salmon, glimpse brown bears hunting in flowing rivers, and marvel at massive glaciers.

Who Goes There? Major cruise lines with ships that cruise round-trip from Seattle to Alaska include Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Carnival, Holland America, Norwegian, and Oceania.

Curaçao
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3. Southern Caribbean out of Fort Lauderdale

For years, the Caribbean has reigned as the world's most popular cruise region. For the most consistently sunny weather, gorgeous sand, and serene settings, head to the Southern Caribbean. Choose itineraries that include the ABC islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire, as well as stops in Antigua, Grenada, St. Kitts, and St. Lucia.

Who Goes There? Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Celebrity Cruises offer sailings from Fort Lauderdale.

For years, the Caribbean has reigned as the world's most popular cruise region. For the most consistently sunny weather, gorgeous sand, and serene settings, head to the Southern Caribbean. Choose itineraries that include the ABC islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire, as well as stops in Antigua, Grenada, St. Kitts, and St. Lucia.

Who Goes There? Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Celebrity Cruises offer sailings from Fort Lauderdale.

Centennial Bridge over the Panama Canal
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4. Panama Canal out of San Francisco

To travel the Panama Canal's 48 miles is to journey through history. Sailings from San Francisco along this 102-year-old feat of engineering generally take more than two weeks and visit ports in California, Mexico, and Central America (including Costa Rica, Panama, and Guatemala) before wrapping up in Fort Lauderdale or even New York.

Who Goes There? Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Celebrity, Regent Seven Seas, Cunard, and Crystal offer these epic journeys.

To travel the Panama Canal's 48 miles is to journey through history. Sailings from San Francisco along this 102-year-old feat of engineering generally take more than two weeks and visit ports in California, Mexico, and Central America (including Costa Rica, Panama, and Guatemala) before wrapping up in Fort Lauderdale or even New York.

Who Goes There? Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Celebrity, Regent Seven Seas, Cunard, and Crystal offer these epic journeys.

Portland Head Light
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5. Canada and New England out of NYC

Lobster lovers, leaf-peepers, and history buffs delight in these cruises that travel along the Northeast's rocky coastline to Boston and Bar Harbor, where they can explore the region's commercial fishing heritage and place in American history. Ports also may include Newport, Rhode Island; Portland, Maine; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Quebec City, Canada. Expect charming lighthouses, clam chowder, lobster rolls, and local blueberries.

Who Goes There? Norwegian, Carnival, Cunard, Crystal Cruises, Holland America, Celebrity, Silversea, and Princess offer sailings from ports in Manhattan and Bayonne, N.J.

Lobster lovers, leaf-peepers, and history buffs delight in these cruises that travel along the Northeast's rocky coastline to Boston and Bar Harbor, where they can explore the region's commercial fishing heritage and place in American history. Ports also may include Newport, Rhode Island; Portland, Maine; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Quebec City, Canada. Expect charming lighthouses, clam chowder, lobster rolls, and local blueberries.

Who Goes There? Norwegian, Carnival, Cunard, Crystal Cruises, Holland America, Celebrity, Silversea, and Princess offer sailings from ports in Manhattan and Bayonne, N.J.

Jobson Cove Beach
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6. Bermuda out of Baltimore

The climate on this picturesque island never reaches extremes, which makes it an ideal place to fully immerse yourself in its history and natural wonders. Explore the fortified English colonial town of St. George — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — or try scuba diving, snorkeling, and cave exploration.

Who Goes There? Carnival and Royal Caribbean sail itineraries out of Baltimore with multiple days docked at King's Wharf in Bermuda.

The climate on this picturesque island never reaches extremes, which makes it an ideal place to fully immerse yourself in its history and natural wonders. Explore the fortified English colonial town of St. George — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — or try scuba diving, snorkeling, and cave exploration.

Who Goes There? Carnival and Royal Caribbean sail itineraries out of Baltimore with multiple days docked at King's Wharf in Bermuda.

Big Sur
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7. Pacific Coast out of San Diego

Hop on a cruise that explores the scenic coastal regions of California, the Pacific Northwest, and British Columbia, Canada. This is also an excellent way for wine enthusiasts to enjoy tours and tastings in regions that are world-famous for their vineyards.

Who Goes There? Holland America, Celebrity, and Crystal offer several sailings from San Diego that visit destinations including Monterey, Santa Barbara, Catalina Island, Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver.

Hop on a cruise that explores the scenic coastal regions of California, the Pacific Northwest, and British Columbia, Canada. This is also an excellent way for wine enthusiasts to enjoy tours and tastings in regions that are world-famous for their vineyards.

Who Goes There? Holland America, Celebrity, and Crystal offer several sailings from San Diego that visit destinations including Monterey, Santa Barbara, Catalina Island, Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver.

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