The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings. Got questions? Email

Friday, August 29, 2008

Drive to your cruise ship

As airlines cut back on the number of flights and passenger dissatisfaction grows, the idea of driving to a cruise ship, unpacking once and enjoying entertainment, meals and sightseeing at various ports of call is becoming more popular.

Instead of the traditional south Florida departures many of the major cruise lines have redeployed their fleets to alternative U.S. ports. Cruise ships now depart from ports in Baltimore, Charleston SC, New York City, Jacksonville FL, New Orleans and many other coastal cities. Many of these locales are within an easy days drive from the Tri-State and even with $4.00 a gallon gas they offer an affordable alternative to air travel.

I allow myself a minimum of 6 hours travel time by air unless I catch a great deal out of Huntington’s Tri-State or Charleston’s Yeager airports. My calculation includes a 2 to 2 1/12 hour drive to the airport, an hour plus to check once you arrive there then a couple of hours travel time. Add in another 6 hours of drive time and now many of these east coast ports can be reached within a 12 hour car trip.

When I fly departing on schedule and arriving at my destination in time to catch the ship is always my main concern. With driving you control the pace of your trip instead of the airlines. I always recommend departing so you arrive the day before the ship departs. Spend the night in a local hotel then mid day head over to the ship relaxed instead of stressed out from a day of hectic air travel.

Concerning group cruise travel (20 plus travelers) I have priced out a few departures and discovered that motor coach transportation is cost effective. The bus has frequently been around $100.00 per person cheaper than air and again allows for plenty of pre-departure time lee way.

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