A cruise to nowhere is a type of cruise itinerary that does not make any stops at ports of call, and instead sails out to sea and returns to the same port without visiting any destinations. These cruises gained popularity as a short getaway option, but they are no longer legal in the United States due to a federal law known as the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) enacted by Homeland Security’s Customs.

The PVSA requires foreign-flagged cruise ships to stop at a foreign port before returning to a U.S. port. This means that lawful permanent residents authorized to be on foreign flagged ships which do not visit any foreign ports, are not in compliance with this law and are not permitted to operate in the United States.

Table Of Contents

What is a Cruise to nowhere?

Why a Cruise to nowhere is popular

What can you do on a cruise to nowhere?

Why a shorter cruise can be a good idea

Who offers shorter cruises?

Cruise Time?

What is a Cruise to Nowhere?

A Cruise to Nowhere is a short two or three-day cruise that does not land on any destination port. Instead, a cruise to nowhere act like luxurious ocean hotels, places where you can relax and unwind without any vacation goals.

A cruise to nowhere had gained popularity as a cruising option for several reasons:

1) Short Getaways: Cruises to nowhere typically offer shorter itineraries, ranging from a few days to a week, making them ideal for travelers who are looking for a quick getaway or a short break from their routine. These cruises provide a convenient option for a weekend trip or a brief vacation without the need for lengthy time off or extensive travel planning.

2) Familiarity with Local Ports: Cruises to nowhere often depart and return to the same port, which may be in close proximity to the travelers’ home or easily accessible by ground transportation. This familiarity with local ports can be appealing to travelers who prefer the convenience of sailing from a nearby location and avoiding the complexities of international air travel.

3) Onboard Amenities and Entertainment: Despite not visiting any ports of call, cruises to nowhere typically offer a range of onboard amenities and entertainment options. Cruise lines and cruise ship crew members are known for their luxurious accommodations and service, diverse dining options, exciting activities, and world-class entertainment. Passengers can enjoy the various amenities and entertainment onboard the ship, including spa services, pool areas, fitness centers, live performances, and more, creating a memorable and enjoyable vacation experience.

4) Unique and Novel Experience: Cruises to nowhere offer a unique and novel experience of sailing on a ship without making any stops at ports of call. For travelers who have been on traditional cruises before, a trip to nowhere can offer a different and intriguing experience, exploring the ship and enjoying the onboard amenities provided by crew members without the typical port visits and only floating around in international waters.

What You Can Do on a Cruise to Nowhere

Even if you never set foot on international shores, sailing on a new cruise ship into international waters doesn’t have to be boring. New cruise ships are filled with plenty of activities and events to take part in, and also offers many services similar to a hotel:

  • complimentary room service

  • fitness center, outdoor track, pools

  • amazing food, both buffet and dining

  • spa service, saunas

  • theater shows, live bands

  • casino, karaoke, and bars

  • uncruise adventures including trivia game

Shorter Cruise to Start?

A short 2-3 day cruise can be a great option for someone who may be hesitant to spend an entire week on a cruise ship for several reasons:

1) Time Commitment: A shorter cruise allows for a smaller time commitment compared to longer cruises, making it more appealing for those who may have limited availability or prefer a shorter vacation. It can be a great option for a quick vacation getaway or a brief escape without the need for an extended period of time off work or other commitments. Still assigned the same crew member or cabin attendant as longer cruises, this helps create a stress free vacation.

2) Lower Cost: Shorter cruises on a new ship generally have a lower price point compared to longer cruises. They typically have fewer days onboard and may not visit as many ports of call. This can make a shorter cruise more budget-friendly for travelers who are looking for a cost-effective option or want to test the waters before committing to a longer cruise. Or it can have the reverse affect and let American citizens or whomever else splurge on luxury accommodations.

3) Ease of Planning: Planning a shorter cruise may be less complex compared to a longer cruise, as it involves fewer details such as flights, accommodations, and itinerary planning. This can be appealing for travelers who prefer a simpler and more straightforward planning process, especially if it’s their first time cruising.

4) Sampling Cruise Experience: For those who are new to cruising or may be unsure if they will enjoy a longer cruise, a shorter cruise can be a great way to sample the cruise experience. It allows travelers to get a taste of life onboard a cruise ship, experience the amenities and activities offered, and determine if cruising is a suitable vacation option for them.

5) Flexibility: Shorter cruises may offer more flexibility in terms of itinerary options, departure dates, and cruise lines. American cruise lines can provide travelers with more choices and allow them to select a cruise that aligns with their preferences and schedules.

Who Offers Short 2-5 Day Cruises?

Royal Caribbean Cruises


Royal Caribbean offers short 2-5 day cruises that are perfect for travelers who are looking for a quick vacation getaway or a taste of the cruise experience. These cruises typically depart from popular port cities in North America, such as Miami and Los Angeles, and may visit destinations such as the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, or other nearby coastal destinations. Royal Caribbean’s short cruises provide a range of onboard amenities, activities, and entertainment options, offering passengers a fun and convenient vacation option that fits into their busy schedules.

Carnival cruise line


Carnival offers short 2-5 day cruises that provide a fun and convenient getaway for those with limited time. These cruises typically offer a variety of on-board entertainment options, dining choices, and activities, allowing passengers to relax and have a good time. They are often budget-friendly and cater to a wide range of travelers, including families, couples, and groups. Carnival’s short cruises are typically found in popular cruise destinations such as the Caribbean (stops at half moon cay) Mexico, and the Bahamas, with departure ports located in various cities across the United States, including Miami, Port Canaveral, and Los Angeles.

Disney cruise line


Disney offers magical short 2-5 day cruises that are perfect for families and Disney enthusiasts. These trips are filled with Disney-themed entertainment, character meet-and-greets, and activities designed for all ages. On-board amenities include well-appointed staterooms, diverse dining options, and Disney’s signature service. Disney’s short cruises are typically found in popular destinations at port calls in the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Baja California. Departure ports for Disney cruises are primarily located in Florida, including Miami, Port Canaveral, and Tampa, as well as other ports in California and New York, providing convenient options for families across the United States.

Norwegian Cruise Lines Pride


Norwegian Cruise Line offers exciting short 2-5 day cruises that provide a flexible and freestyle cruising experience. Passengers can enjoy a variety of dining options, on-board entertainment, and activities tailored to their preferences by crew members ready to service. Norwegian’s short cruises are ideal for those seeking a quick getaway or a sampler cruise. These cruises can be found in popular destinations such as the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Bahamas. Departure ports for Norwegian’s cruises are located in various cities across the United States, including Miami, Los Angeles, and New York, offering convenient options for travelers from different regions.

Time to Cruise?

Even a short last minute schedule cruise from a familiar port city like San Diego or Long Beach can be a welcome respite for first timers or experienced cruisers alike. While these voyages are less money, they lack none of the ameneties and service that longer voyages might offer.

We recommend before you set sail to do your research and hop aboard once you have found the option that sounds perfect to you.