What is "Cruise To Nowhere" and does it mean that a cruise ship is going nowhere? We give you the ultimate list of all cruise ships sailing the always very special "cruises to Nowhere" with departures from ports in the USA, Australia / New Zealand, Europe / England UK, Asia, South America. This review is integrated with Party Cruises.
Here you will find information on Cruise To Nowhere deals as itineraries/departure dates, prices, and ports. Itineraries are always roundtrips, without any call ports on the route. This internal link goes directly to the cruise schedule - if you wanna skip the intro info.
"Cruise to Nowhere" - what is, where to find it, why Nowhere cruise deals
What is a Cruise to Nowhere? Well, strangely enough, by definition, it's a unique itinerary on which a cruise ship is going to absolutely Nowhere! However, it will definitely not stay in the port all the time, instead, it will sail without any destination to a specific point at sea to allow its passengers to experience a very short but most romantic, exciting, and not always cheap cruise vacation on a floating resort at sea.
What are Cruises to Nowhere (the definition)? As a concise overview - it's an always round-trip special cruise itinerary with no other call ports than your disembarkation port, which happens to be the same as your embarkation port (the cruise ship port of departure).
Why take a Cruise to Nowhere? Three very big reasons - and the first one is that it is very short as duration (its cruise length is 1 or 2 night, rarely 3- or 4-night), so by this variable is more like mini cruise deals (but not all of them are round-trips, and they usually visit other ports). Being a short cruise is an important issue, considering your business schedule, right? The second one is it's from the category of very cheap cruise deals - the no-call-ports itinerary and the duration are major determinants of cruise prices - port charges, fuel consumption, etc. The third one is it's one of the very special types of cruises - rare to be found (as a number of sailings per year), offered by a very limited number of passenger ships (excluding trips by smaller boats and floating hotel-casino ship deals), extremely popular, departures only from the world's biggest cruise ports of the world's most developed countries - like USA, UK, Australia.
What is a Cruise to Nowhere as length and prices?
And finally, about the real deals - what is from where, when, and for how much. As to the cost of cruises to Nowhere, the prices are always per person (based on double occupancy), we will give you only the cheapest cruise rates in US dollars on the lowest cabin category by ship (it's usually an Inside stateroom), all prices are indicative and may change due to availability. So, compare sailing dates and prices, pick your port of departure, book it! Be aware, that availability is a strong issue on this one - early booking is a must! It really goes to Nowhere, but it is a so so so special deal - and we all like "special" very much!
It's usually 1- or 2 nights (2-3-day cruise deals), but some lines (like P&O, for example) offer longer itineraries of 3- and 4-nights, on which you'll have a themed cruise program pre-scheduled for your sailing (more often "Food & Wine", but also "Lifestyle", "Comedy", "Art", etc).
As to the price, one thing is absolutely sure - it's a cheap deal. Nowhere cruises are always cheaper than all other trips with itineraries including stops in ports of call. One of the main reasons for that is the sort length. The price really depends online and ship, but also on the time of booking (availability), cabin grades, departure port, and mostly on how much are you willing to spend while on board. What does the last statement mean? Well, your ship will have - absolutely for sure - a big Casino, a specialty (reservations only) fancy restaurant, lots of bars and lounges to buy expensive drinks and whatnot, and of course - a whole district of pretty lined-up duty-free shopping boutiques, where, as far the money spending is concerned, only the sky is the limit! As to all the rest on-board activities and amenities - they are all included in your rates (remember, all rates are based on double occupancy). But as a general rule, cruise prices on cruises to Nowhere rarely exceed the amount of US $200 per night per person. And this is a great deal, considering the type of your short cruise ship vacation and all that's included (plus the cabin, open-seating dining in the Main Dining Rooms, 24-hour room service, etc, etc).
What do you do on Cruises to Nowhere?
Remember these six words - "you spend money to have fun"! It could be your special romantic short cruise break or a weekend getaway dinner cruise to dining with your beloved one in a classy restaurant at sea, it could be your "gambling night" at sea, it could be your best "party cruise deal" ever to spend some quality fun time with your friends or colleges, or it could be simply your "me and the sea" special time to relax and enjoy the vastness of the ocean and the beauty of the modern cruise ship man-made miracle.
The long list of onboard activities includes also the trivia of games and contests, both fine and casual dining options (themed buffets), big and top-fun pools and pool contests (including kids-only pools), sports contests, fine art auctions, music and dancing experiences, huge-theatre excitement with nightly grand-style live show productions, movies, revues, comedians and magicians, Casino gambling tournaments and gambling lessons, ship tours (bridge, galley, etc), dance lessons, educational lectures, shopping sales promotions with special offers, and absolutely not the last are the fitness (and Yoga) classes and the Spa treatments in a huge Health&Spa center on board.
Who goes on Nowhere cruises and what the ships look like?
This type of cruise is perfect for first-time cruise travelers to sample the "life on board" - to get a sense of what a cruise and a cruise ship is like avoiding the big-money spending on a long and expensive trip. It's the perfect opportunity to sample new cruise ships (no matter new-built or newly refit/refurbished).
As to the "Nowhere ships" - they all are BIG. All cruise ships for Cruises to Nowhere are from very big to hugely-big - their owners and crew know best how to gather huge crowds and are absolutely the best in keeping these crowds happy. Still, most of the departures are from New York City - with its unlimited capacity to keep the ships full of passengers. Prior to 2017, the major player in the NYC market was NCL - with 2 new ships (launched in 2013 and 2014).
Why cruise ship lines offer Nowhere deals?
The very itinerary explains it all - on its short cruise break itinerary, the cruise ship will leave its port to sails on an ocean (or on a river, by smaller ships and river cruise boats), then will return to the same port. And all this for what reason.
I mentioned earlier something about a special "point at sea". This location allows the boat to open its duty-free stores and casinos for passengers to spend their time and mostly their money enjoying all there is to be enjoyed on a very big ship without being obstructed by the "law of the land" or distracted by ports of call.
At the same time, your ship will sail calmly on a looping course to take you back to your embarkation port, offering you the chance to have an unforgettable night (or two or three or four) of the best fun and special memories from a special vacation.
Most of these special round-trip itineraries are offered as departures from some of the largest USA cruise ports. Just follow the ship links from the table to see regularly updated indicative prices per person (double occupancy) to compare. These links will show you the ship's individual "itinerary-schedule-current position" page also showing the cheapest rates on the lowest cabin category currently available for booking.
|Companies / Ships||Regions||Itineraries / Themes||Departure Dates|
P&O Australia Pacific Explorer
P&O Australia Pacific Adventure (ex Golden Princess)
|NSW Australia||3 days "Comedy" from Sydney|
2020 (December 18), 2021 (February 12, March 12 and 19, April 23 and 30, May 14, June 11)
P&O Australia Pacific Encounter (ex Star Princess)
3 days "Comedy" from Brisbane
Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Spirit
Royal Caribbean Voyager Of The Seas
Princess Cruises Ruby Princess
Cruise to Nowhere USA
Cruises to Nowhere from US ports by major cruise companies and on larger ships will not be offered anytime soon. The news became fact in 2016 when the few passenger shipping companies offering such deals canceled all scheduled voyages which itineraries didn't include a foreign port of call. This new policy was implemented after a change made in the enforcement of the US embarkation law.
Under an act passed over 100 years ago, foreign-flagged vessels are not allowed to operate voyages leaving roundtrip from US ports without at least one port call in a foreign country. In a June 2015 statement, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency announced the reasons for the changes. D-1 visa holders (crew visas) were not eligible for working on "Cruises to Nowhere" as they are eligible to serve as crewmembers only if they intend to land in a US port (temporarily) and to depart from a US port with the cruise vessel. Although nowhere cruises do enter international waters, CBP maintains that crewmembers don't actually depart from the USA because "they don't land in a foreign port or territory".
Among the canceled sailings were Carnival's 2-night cruises from Norfolk Virginia (2016, on Carnival Sunshine) and NCL's 2-night cruises from NYC New York (2017, on Norwegian Breakaway). Still, the change applies only to foreign-flagged cruise ships, most of which have as flag states countries like Bahamas, Panama, Bermuda. By the new regulations, the only way for "Cruises to Nowhere" to be permitted is for the companies to employ an all-American crew for the vessel. Otherwise, each itinerary (long or short) must include at least 1 foreign port of call before the ship returns to the USA with the crew who are not American citizens. Currently, the only large-sized ocean cruise ship with an entirely American crew is NCL's Pride of America.
Cruise to Nowhere NYC
Operated as special voyages until 2017, the 1-2 night cruise to Nowhere NYC deals were inclusive of shipboard dining, entertainment, numerous activities, and modern amenities. The "nowhere" ships made their special itinerary out of New York City calling on no other ports. Ships simply sailed far enough from the US shore to start providing duty-free shopping and gambling for their party-loving passengers.
Package deals included pre- and post-cruise hotel stays and airport-ship transportation. These deals were perfect for first-timers to sample the onboard fun, including dining, Spa, Casino, staterooms, lounges and bars, activities, amenities, etc. Most NYC Nowhere cruises were by NCL's Norwegian Gem ship - offered when the liner adjusted its Bermuda schedule for the summer. Then joined Norwegian Breakaway, and just before closing the market - the Royal Caribbean "WOW ship" Quantum of the Seas (leaving from Bayonne NJ). Quantum's prices were comparatively high ($300 pp per day), but the ship is truly unique and new (launched 2014).
China Cruises to Nowhere
On May 8, 2019, China’s Ministry of Transport officially approved nowhere cruises leaving roundtrip from homeports Sanya and Haikou (Haidian Island). The deal allows China-based liners to operate on itineraries not visiting a foreign port.
However, the Ministry imposed as requirements that the cruise company must include a Chinese investor (with majority stake), the vessel to be not older than 30 years, and onboard gambling is forbidden. China-flagged ships are treated on an exclusive basis. Passengers' boarding documents and customs clearance on these voyages are simplified - only national identification cards (or entry/exit documents) are required, and travel agents can submit group customers' documents.
Singapore Cruises to Nowhere
In early-October 2020, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) began to develop new health and safety protocols that are expected to allow cruises to nowhere leaving roundtrip from Singapore.
The new proposal came after Singapore Airlines announced in September that they would offer 3-hour "flights to nowhere" (sightseeing roundtrips) from Singapore's Changi Airport. However, Singapore Airlines later cancelled the program due to active criticism from local environmental campaigners.
STB hired DNV-GL (Hovic Norway-based risk management company and accredited registrar and classification society) to create a compliance and certification scheme ("benchmarked against global health, safety and hygiene standards") to help shipping companies who want to restart voyages out of Port Singapore as the country was still in lockdown due to the Coronavirus crisis.
STB's Regional Director of the Americas (Rachel Loh) advised that cruise shipping companies would need to pass an audit for certification to return to cruising. His report added that ships would only be allowed to accommodate ~50% of their max passenger capacity for the first 3 months of operation.
There is no official date for when "Singapore cruises to nowhere" will commence but all operators homeporting in Singapore were eager to restart operations after voluntarily ceasing voyages since March 2020.