Clues are beginning to surface that Jacksonville, Florida may soon be the homeport for another cruise line, in addition to the regular sailings offered by Carnival Cruise Line.
Between port authority board meeting reports and cruise line website updates, Norwegian Cruise Line appears to be making plans to set sail from the First Coast.
Norwegian Cruise Line May Offer Sailings From Jacksonville
Norwegian Cruise Line may soon offer homeport departures from JaxPort in Jacksonville, Florida, according to various clues and teasers about the port.
According to the Florida Times-Union, at the port authority’s board meeting on Monday, January 22, 2024, JaxPort CEO Eric Green hinted about a new cruise line expressing interest in JaxPort, but would not confirm which cruise line – other than it is not an expansion of Carnival Cruise Line’s operations.
“Our team has been busy in this area and we hope to have an announcement to share in the coming weeks,” Green said at the board meeting. “This is an added service coming from another cruise line.”
Additional time is needed for the cruise line to get approval for service, as several documents and proposals must be properly filed before an official announcement can be made. No additional meeting date has yet been set.
“We weren’t able to get it done for this meeting, but we’ll have a special board meeting in the next week or two so we can get that piece of business done as well,” said Daniel Bean, board Chairman.
Jacksonville Appears on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Website
While no officials from JaxPort have verified that it is Norwegian Cruise Line expressing interest, a new landing page has been spotted on the cruise line’s website with cruises from Jacksonville, Florida listed as “Coming Soon!”
At this time, there are no active homeport departures for Norwegian Cruise Line ships from the north Florida homeport, which is 165 miles (265 kilometers) north of the next closest Florida homeport, Port Canaveral.
The cruise line has made no official announcements about what ships might be homeported from Jacksonville, nor what itineraries might be offered. The Dames Point Bridge in Jacksonville, however, does pose a limit on vessels departing from JaxPort, as they must be less than 180 feet from the waterline to the highest point in order to sail safely under the bridge.
Currently, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Elation is the only ship homeported from Jacksonville. The 71,909-gross-ton, Fantasy-class vessel is one of the smallest in the Carnival fleet, and offers 4- and 5-night sailings to the Bahamas year-round. Carnival has been sailing from Jacksonville since 2004.
Several American Cruise Lines’ river boats also sail from Jacksonville with journeys along Florida’s rivers, but no other ocean cruise line offers Jacksonville-based itineraries. Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Crystal Cruises occasionally visit Jacksonville as a port of call.
It is possible that Norwegian Cruise Line could also offer Bahamas itineraries from Jacksonville, or might opt for itineraries to Bermuda or other Caribbean destinations, depending on the sailing length. Jacksonville could also be a starting point for fall foliage cruises that venture north to New England and the Canadian maritime provinces.
As cruise itineraries are planned out years in advance when they are made available for booking, it is unlikely that any Norwegian ships would be sailing from Jacksonville at least until late 2025, but redeployments and schedule shifts are always possible.