Baltimore, Maryland, affectionately known as Charm City, isn’t just famous for its mouthwatering crab cakes and the picturesque Inner Harbor. It’s also a strategic departure point for some of the most enchanting cruises you can embark on! From lavish suites on a grand ship to cozy cabins on a more intimate one, Baltimore’s cruises have you covered. So, ready to set sail and dive into the details?
What Are the Best Cruise Ships That Depart From Baltimore?
When it comes to setting sail from the Charm City, travelers have several reputable cruise lines to choose from. The Port of Baltimore is a bustling departure point, serving as a gateway to exotic destinations like the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, and various Caribbean islands.
Royal Caribbean International’s Vision of the Seas
Vision of the Seas, a part of Royal Caribbean’s Vision Class, is known for its friendly atmosphere and a wealth of activities and amenities. The ship presents an intimate environment that fosters a sense of community among passengers.
Amenities include multiple pools and whirlpools, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a spa, a rock-climbing wall, an outdoor movie screen, and various dining options. Entertainment is plentiful, with Broadway-style shows, a bustling casino, and live music venues.
The 5-night Bermuda cruises from Baltimore are a highlight, allowing travelers to explore the pink-sand beaches and azure waters of Bermuda. The itinerary typically includes ample time at sea to enjoy the ship’s facilities and one or two days in Bermuda, offering a perfect mini-vacation.
With various sail dates available, passengers can choose a time that suits their schedule, with pricing varying by cabin type. Interior rooms are the most cost-effective, with prices starting as low as $548 per person, while those looking for ocean views can expect to pay a starting price of $668. Balcony rooms and suites, offering premium views and additional space, range from $1,328 to $2,021, respectively.
The experience of Vision of the Seas can differ based on the time of year. Summer and early fall voyages often attract families, while spring and late fall might appeal to couples or those seeking a quieter experience. Pricing also fluctuates with demand, often increasing during peak travel periods like summer and holidays.
For those looking to indulge in longer voyages, Vision of the Seas offers 7-night and longer itineraries, including trips to the Bahamas, Canada, and New England. These journeys provide more days at sea and additional port stops.
Extended itineraries offer great value, with per-night pricing often being lower than shorter trips. For instance, an 8-night Bahamas cruise can cost as low as $426 per person for an interior room, which breaks down to just $53 per night. Suites, offering the most luxury, can range up to $2,326 for the same itinerary, averaging $290 per night. If plans change, guests have the option to cancel their booking, subject to Royal Caribbean’s cancellation policies and fees.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norweigan Sky
Norwegian Sky, a gem in the cruising world, offers a combination of modern luxury and classic charm. Completely refurbished in 2022, this vessel caters to 2,004 passengers and 899 crew members, ensuring a personal and attentive experience. Picture yourself undertaking its 9-night Eastern Caribbean voyages from Miami, with dates including May 5th, 14th, and 28th, 2024, starting at $749, and a slightly higher fare of $799 for its June 6th journey.
The ship radiates a fresh vibe with fully renovated staterooms, diverse dining options, and revitalized bars and lounges, not to mention the allure of a full-service Starbucks at sea. Onboard Norwegian Sky, the range of amenities caters to every age and interest. Families can revel in the youth-friendly kids clubs, a video arcade, and a dedicated kids pool, while adults can indulge in 10 tempting restaurants, half of which are specialty venues, and a full-service spa.
Accommodation-wise, the ship offers a choice of four cabin categories – Inside, Oceanview, Balcony, and Suite – providing a comfortable retreat after a day of adventure, with Suites offering a luxurious expanse of up to 835 square feet.
But what truly sets Norwegian Sky apart is its unique departure points, including Baltimore, making it one of the best cruises sailing out of the historic city. Departures from Miami, New York City, the Dominican Republic, and Quebec City further add to its appeal, offering diverse itineraries across the Bahamas, the Caribbean, New England, and Canada.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sun
Norwegian Cruise Line’s 11-night Canada – New England cruise is a spectacular option for travelers wishing to explore closer to home. Setting sail from Baltimore, this itinerary delves into the rich history and stunning natural beauty of destinations like Boston, Portland, Halifax, and Quebec City.
Fall departures are especially popular for witnessing the vibrant autumn foliage. Norwegian’s freestyle cruising concept allows guests a flexible dining experience, and the ship’s amenities include Broadway-style entertainment, a casino, and a range of bars and lounges.
Carnival Cruise Lines’ Legend
Carnival Cruise Lines is renowned for its fun-filled, laid-back cruising style, and the 12-night Transatlantic voyage is no exception. This epic journey typically begins in Baltimore, making its way across the Atlantic to various European ports.
Passengers can expect to visit destinations like Lisbon, Le Havre (Paris), and London (Dover), depending on the specific itinerary. Onboard, guests are treated to Carnival’s signature entertainment, including live shows, themed parties, and an array of dining options. This voyage is a favorite among those looking for a relaxed yet extensive exploration of European destinations.
Carnival Cruise Lines’ Pride
Carnival Pride offers its own set of affordable options, with budget accommodations that don’t skimp on experience. Interior cabins are a wallet-friendly option, while upgrades to ocean-view rooms or rooms with a balcony are often available for a few hundred dollars more, providing that quintessential sea view without a hefty price tag.
Carnival Pride boasts features from the line’s Fun Ship 2.0 enhancement program, including popular eateries like Guy’s Burger Joint and entertainment venues such as the RedFrog Pub. These enhancements are included in the cruise fare, meaning guests can enjoy a wide range of dining and entertainment without worrying about additional costs. Guests often rave about the variety and quality of options on the Carnival Cruise Line’s Drink Menu, highlighting it as a standout feature.
Both ships emphasize the variety of onboard activities available, suitable for all ages. From stage shows and live music to fitness classes and trivia contests, the options are designed to keep guests entertained. Importantly, most of these are included in the base fare of the cruise, ensuring that cruisers can have a full itinerary of fun without stretching their budgets.
Watch for all-inclusive deals, particularly in the 0/1-3 months before sailing, that bundle dining, entertainment, and sometimes even beverage packages, all for one lower price. Additionally, residents of Maryland and nearby states can sometimes snag discounts, making these a smart choice for locals looking for an economical getaway.
Royal Caribbean International’s Grandeur of the Seas
Grandeur of the Seas is well-regarded for its value-for-money packages, offering a range of affordable options. Particularly for double occupancy bookings, guests can find interior staterooms and even some with ocean views at competitive prices, especially during the off-peak seasons.
These packages often include a main dining room and buffet access, daytime activities, and nighttime entertainment. Special promotions throughout the year can also encompass additional perks like onboard credits or discounted excursions. Notably, the food offered on a Royal Caribbean cruise is often praised for its variety, with options ranging from casual snacks to fine dining experiences.
The ship itself boasts a host of amenities that appeal to families and budget-conscious travelers. These include a rock-climbing wall, an outdoor movie screen, a variety of pools, and a kid’s program that keeps younger cruisers engaged at no extra cost. The ship’s layout and programming are such that guests can enjoy a full cruise experience without the need to spend extra on premium attractions.
Tips for Cruising Out of Baltimore
Venturing on a cruise from Baltimore offers a wealth of options, whether you’re traveling with family, a group of friends, or on a budget. To make the most of your journey, consider these insightful tips:
- Pre-Cruise Exploration: Arrive early in Baltimore to explore the city’s attractions, including historical sites and local parks like Fort McHenry. This not only enriches your travel experience but also helps manage any unexpected delays in ship arrivals.
- Anticipate Delays: Be prepared for potential delays due to factors like weather or unforeseen events. Having a flexible schedule and a backup plan can alleviate stress and keep your family entertained during any waiting periods.
- Health and Safety First: Check the health ratings of your chosen cruise via the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program. A high rating is a good indicator of the ship’s commitment to cleanliness and passenger well-being, essential for a safe and enjoyable experience.
- Match the Cruise to Your Group: Choose a cruise based on your travel party. Families might prefer ships with kid-friendly activities, while groups of friends may enjoy cruises with diverse entertainment options. Budget-conscious travelers should look for all-inclusive packages and off-season deals.
- Customize Your Experience: Tailor your cruise choice to your personal preferences. Whether it’s relaxation, adventure, culinary experiences, or the intimacy of a smaller ship like the Norwegian Sky, ensure the cruise aligns with your expectations.
- Essential Pre-boarding Prep: Have a mandatory restroom break and finalize luggage arrangements before getting in the port’s queue. This simple step can prevent discomfort and confusion during the boarding process.
- Stay Calm and Positive: Remember to take a moment to breathe and relax amidst the excitement and chaos of boarding. Trust in your preparations and look forward to the wonderful vacation ahead.
Baltimore unlocks a world of diverse cruise adventures, from the luxurious Royal Caribbean voyages to Carnival’s family-friendly journeys. These cruises offer exceptional value, marrying comfort with exploration.
Delve into the array of itineraries, accommodations, and onboard experiences to find your sea legs. Ultimately, the right cruise is a balance of itinerary, budget, and personal preferences, awaiting your discovery.
What is the #1 rated Cruise Line?
Norwegian Cruise Line has consistently been ranked as one of the top cruise lines in the industry. Known for its innovative ship designs, extensive onboard amenities, and versatile itineraries, it caters to travelers looking for both relaxation and adventure. Their Freestyle Cruising concept offers guests the freedom to dine without set times, attend Broadway-caliber shows, and enjoy a range of entertainment options, making it a favorite among many cruisers.
Which cruise ship has the best service?
Disney Cruise Line excels in family service, creating magical experiences that many find worth the investment, especially for those seeking a family-oriented vacation with a touch of Disney magic. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises prioritize luxury and attentive service. Holland America Line offers classic elegance, while Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line provide a relaxed, fun ambiance. MSC Cruises emphasizes Mediterranean-style service, blending warmth and sophistication. Each line uniquely caters to travelers’ distinct preferences and desires.
How do I choose the best cruise deal?
To secure the best cruise deal, consider off-season cruises for reduced prices. Booking early can yield promotions, while late bookings offer last-minute discounts as well in some cases. Older ships typically charge less than newer ones. Travel agents can highlight exclusive deals. Finally, repositioning cruises, where ships change regions, provide cost-effective unique itineraries.