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What are No-Fly Cruises?

By Matt Brady
Updated Feb 23, 2024
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No-fly cruises are maritime vacations that don't require air travel. As a term, no-fly cruise doesn't so much refer to any change in how the cruise industry operates; instead, it simply refers to a traveler's decision to book a cruise that doesn't necessitate air travel. In pinched economic circumstances, people have found that no-fly cruises can be a great way to enjoy a vacation on the ocean, while saving money by avoiding costly air travel. Even when the cost of a no-fly cruise isn’t cheaper than airfare, travelers may still opt to embark on a cruise for the luxury of avoiding the stress of air travel.

Of course, a traveler must live near a port in order to take advantage of no-fly cruises. One living in Colorado in the U.S., for example, will have to drive at least a thousand miles to reach the nearest cruise terminal. In that case, the cost and stress of a round-trip flight to a cruise port might be less than those associated with a lengthy road trip.

The cruise industry has been steadily ramping up the availability of round-trip cruises. Whereas one-way cruises usually require air travel to return home, round-trip cruises take travelers all the way to a destination point and back. Such no-fly cruises are generally shorter in length than one-way cruises, but there are longer round-trip cruises that can last for up to a few months.

No-fly cruises have been steadily growing in popularity, particularly in the UK, where any inhabitant can drive to a major cruise terminal within a day. The UK, made up of multiple countries, is really a very large island, which means that people living there have quick access to numerous ports offering a diverse selection of cruises. Travelers shipping from Southampton, England, for example, could take a quick, three-night jaunt over to Antwerp, Belgium. If time allowed, they could opt for something longer, such as a month-long cruise to the Caribbean and back.

One other major benefit of no-fly cruises is that a traveler doesn’t have to fuss with baggage as one would in an airport. When flying, travelers must often check at least some of their baggage at the airport; the baggage is then transported by the airline to the traveler's destination. Most of the time, the transportation of baggage goes off without a hitch, but horror stories abound of situations in which luggage has been lost, sent to the wrong destination, or mishandled in some other way. No-fly cruises eliminate all of that hassle, as travelers have total control over their baggage.

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