Cruises Out of Norfolk, Virginia

Embark on a Dream Voyage: Cruises Out of Norfolk, Virginia

by Christian Petzold - updated May 16, 2023

Ahoy, traveler! Prepare to embark on a thrilling adventure as we set sail on a cruise out of Norfolk, Virginia. Let us be your compass as we navigate the world of cruise lines, stunning destinations, and the enchanting city of Norfolk. 

Why Norfolk, Virginia is Your Gateway to Paradise

Welcome to Norfolk, a charming harbor city with history, culture, and the perfect spot to launch your dream vacation. With its state-of-the-art cruise terminal and easy access, Norfolk is a hidden gem among departure ports. This picturesque city on the banks of the Elizabeth River is an ideal starting point for your cruise, offering a delightful blend of Southern hospitality, maritime heritage, and urban energy.

Set Sail with Renowned Cruise Lines

From luxurious ships to family-friendly vessels, Norfolk has got you covered. Join the party with Carnival Cruise Line, relish in Royal Caribbean’s grandeur, or savor the freestyle cruising of the Norwegian Cruise Line. Whichever you choose, unforgettable memories await. 

1. Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line is synonymous with fun, and Norfolk is no exception. With a host of activities, from water parks to comedy clubs, there’s something for everyone on board. Plus, you’ll find various dining options, ensuring even the pickiest eaters are satisfied.

2. Royal Caribbean International

Step into luxury and innovation with Royal Caribbean. These ships boast state-of-the-art amenities like ice-skating rinks, zip lines, and even surf simulators. You’ll find relaxation and excitement in equal measure with numerous dining venues, Broadway-style shows, and spa retreats.

3. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line is renowned for its freestyle cruising concept, which means no fixed dining times, no formal dress codes, and plenty of freedom to enjoy your vacation as you, please. Add to that a diverse range of entertainment options, innovative ship features, and mouth-watering cuisine, and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect cruise experience.

4. Other Notable Cruise Lines

While the big three cruise lines dominate the market, other options exist. For a more intimate experience, explore the offerings of smaller lines, such as Oceania Cruises or Regent Seven Seas Cruises. These luxury lines provide upscale amenities, gourmet dining, and personalized service.

Explore Idyllic Destinations

Let Norfolk be your stepping stone to blissful shores. Discover the Bahamas’ crystal-clear waters, the Eastern Caribbean’s sun-soaked beaches, Bermuda’s pastel paradise, or Canada and New England’s breathtaking foliage. The world is your oyster!

1. Bahamas Cruises

Just a short sail from Norfolk, the Bahamas offers a world of turquoise seas, powdery white sands, and vibrant marine life. Explore the bustling city of Nassau, snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of CocoCay, or soak up the sun on Grand Bahama Island. With their laid-back charm and natural beauty, the Bahamas are the perfect escape from the daily grind.

Grand Bahama Island

2. Eastern Caribbean Cruises

The Eastern Caribbean is a sun-seekers paradise, with its warm climate, azure waters, and lush landscapes. Discover the rich history and colorful culture of San Juan, Puerto Rico, dip in the natural pools of St. Thomas, or stroll through the pastel-colored streets of St. Kitts. With its diverse mix of British, French, Dutch, and Spanish influences, the Eastern Caribbean offers a unique blend of experiences that captivate your senses.

3. Bermuda Cruises

With its pastel-colored houses, pink sand beaches, and crystal-clear waters, Bermuda is a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation. Visit the historic town of St. George’s, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, explore the Royal Naval Dockyard, or tee off at one of the island’s world-class golf courses. With its warm hospitality and enchanting beauty, Bermuda is a destination that will steal your heart.

Horshoe Bay Bermuda

4. Canada and New England Cruises

For those seeking cooler climes and stunning natural beauty, look no further than Canada and New England. These cruises offer an unparalleled opportunity to witness the magnificent fall foliage as it blankets the region in vibrant red, orange, and gold hues. 

Wander through the cobblestone streets of Québec City, explore the rugged beauty of Bar Harbor, or immerse yourself in the history of Boston. A perfect blend of natural splendor and cultural richness, Canada and New England cruises will leave a lasting impression.

cobblestone streets of Québec City

Cruise Through the Seasons

Spring blossoms or winter wonderlands, Norfolk offers cruises year-round to satisfy your wanderlust. Rejuvenate with spring and summer getaways, marvel at fall’s vibrant hues, or indulge in the warmth of winter escapes. The choice is yours.

Spring and Summer Cruises

As the cold of winter fades and the warmth of spring and summer sets in, cruises from Norfolk offer the perfect opportunity to celebrate the change of seasons. Venture to sun-soaked Caribbean islands, unwind on Bermuda’s pink sand beaches or explore the rich history of coastal cities in the Eastern United States. No matter your preference, spring and summer cruises from Norfolk provide endless possibilities for adventure and relaxation.

Fall Foliage Cruises

Autumn brings a kaleidoscope of colors to the shores of Canada and New England, and there’s no better way to experience this breathtaking display than on a fall foliage cruise from Norfolk. Wind your way through picturesque ports, quaint seaside towns, and majestic landscapes in vibrant hues. Along the way, indulge in local culinary delights and explore the region’s rich history and culture.

Winter Holiday Cruises

Escape the winter chill and embark on a sun-drenched voyage to the Caribbean or the Bahamas on a winter holiday cruise from Norfolk. These cruises offer the perfect opportunity to celebrate the festive season while basking in the warmth of tropical paradises. With many onboard activities and celebrations, winter holiday cruises are ideal for creating unforgettable memories with loved ones.

Preparing for Your Cruise from Norfolk

Make your journey stress-free with our handy guide on getting to the port, convenient parking options, cozy accommodations, and essential travel documents. We’ve got your back so that you can focus on the excitement ahead.

Getting to the Port

Norfolk is easily accessible by air, road, and rail. Norfolk International Airport is just a short drive from the cruise terminal, with various ground transportation options, including taxis, shuttles, and rental cars. Amtrak’s Norfolk station is nearby if you prefer to arrive by train. Additionally, the city’s central location along the East Coast makes it an easy drive for those living in the surrounding areas.

Parking and Transportation Options

The Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center, Norfolk’s state-of-the-art cruise terminal, offers convenient parking options just steps from the embarkation area. With both short-term and long-term parking available, you can leave your vehicle with peace of mind while you sail away on your dream vacation. Additionally, many local hotels offer park-and-cruise packages, allowing you to park your car at the hotel and take a shuttle to the terminal.

Accommodations Near the Port

With various hotels to suit every budget, finding the perfect pre-or post-cruise accommodations in Norfolk is a breeze. There’s something for everyone, from luxurious waterfront hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts. Many hotels also offer cruise packages, including transport to the port and complimentary parking.

Documents and Travel Requirements

Before setting sail, ensure you have all the documentation for your cruise. This typically includes a valid passport or birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID. Be sure to check visa requirements for the countries you’ll be visiting and any health and vaccination guidelines. It’s always a good idea to make copies of your important documents and keep them in a separate location in emergencies.

Exploring Norfolk Before or After Your Cruise

Whether you arrive early or linger post-cruise, Norfolk’s enchanting attractions beckon. Immerse yourself in history at Nauticus, explore the Chrysler Museum of Art, or unwind in the lush Norfolk Botanical Garden. Remember to indulge in delicious cuisine and vibrant nightlife.

Historic Sites and Attractions

Step back in time as you delve into the rich maritime history of Norfolk. Visit Nauticus, a maritime-themed science center and museum, and marvel at the USS Wisconsin, a retired battleship open for tours. Wander through the cobblestone streets of the historic Freemason District, or take a guided walking tour to uncover the city’s storied past.


Museums and Cultural Experiences

Norfolk’s vibrant arts and culture scene offers many experiences to engage and inspire. The Chrysler Museum of Art boasts an impressive collection of over 30,000 works spanning over 5,000 years. Experience the city’s performing arts at the stunning Harrison Opera House or the historic Attucks Theatre. For a unique cultural outing, visit the Glass Studio at the Chrysler Museum and witness live glass-blowing demonstrations.

Chrysler Museum of Art

Dining and Nightlife

Savor the flavors of Norfolk’s diverse culinary offerings, from farm-to-table fare to fresh seafood. The city’s dining scene is a melting pot of flavors, influenced by the region’s agricultural bounty and coastal location. After a delicious meal, venture out and experience Norfolk’s lively nightlife, including craft breweries, waterfront bars, and live music venues.

Outdoor Activities and Parks

With its stunning waterfront location and numerous parks, Norfolk is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Stroll through the 175-acre Norfolk Botanical Garden, with its beautifully landscaped gardens, serene waterways, and picturesque trails. Or, rent a kayak and paddle through the historic Hague district, taking the city’s charm from a unique perspective.

175 acre Norfolk Botanical Garden

Helpful Tips for Cruising from Norfolk, Virginia

We’re here to help you make the most of your cruise. From the best booking times and packing essentials to travel insurance and maximizing your onboard experience, our insider tips ensure smooth sailing from start to finish.

Best Time to Book a Cruise

When it comes to booking a cruise, timing is everything. Early booking can often secure the best rates and cabin selections, while last-minute deals can offer significant savings for flexible travelers. Keep an eye on promotions and sales to get the best value for your dream cruise.

Packing Essentials

Packing for a cruise can be daunting, but with some planning, you can ensure you have everything you need for a stress-free vacation. Consider the destinations you’ll be visiting, the duration of your cruise, and any special events or activities on board. Pack comfortable clothing for lounging on the deck, swimwear for poolside fun, and more formal attire for elegant evenings. Remember essentials like sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and medications.

Find out what you need to pack for your next trip.

Travel Insurance

Investing in travel insurance can provide peace of mind and financial protection in the event of unforeseen circumstances. From trip cancellations and delays to medical emergencies and lost luggage, travel insurance can cover a range of situations that may arise during your cruise. Be sure to carefully review the policy terms and coverage to ensure it meets your needs.

Discover why you need cruise travel insurance and how it can benefit you.

Maximizing Your Onboard Experience

Plan and familiarize yourself with the ship’s layout, amenities, and daily activities to make the most of your time on board. Take advantage of the many dining options, and be bold and try something new. Participate in onboard activities and entertainment that pique your interest, and make time for relaxation and self-care. Most importantly, be open to new experiences and let the magic of cruising sweep you away.

Your Dream Cruise Awaits

Norfolk, Virginia, is your ticket to a world of wonder. So, pack your bags, grab your sunglasses, and embark on the journey of a lifetime. With its convenient location, diverse cruise offerings, and enchanting local attractions, Norfolk is the ideal departure point for your dream cruise. Bon voyage, dear traveler!

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