With ongoing COVID-19 uncertainty and fluctuating international travel advisories, many travelers are making fall plans with caution—and for many, it makes sense to stay close to home. One option growing in popularity? U.S. cruises that scratch that out-to-sea itch, yet leave from a port you can drive to, or only requires a short flight. Here, several upcoming voyages that sail roundtrip from American ports—that rival any sailing in far-flung locales.
Holland America Line: Classic California Coast
Sail seven days roundtrip from San Diego onboard the 2,650-passenger Koningsdam, and the ports you'll visit are California’s most beautiful: Monterey and San Francisco, with a toe-dip in colorful Ensenada, Mexico. An overnight in San Francisco gives you plenty of time to explore: Gawk at the 360-degree view from Twin Peaks, revel in virgin costal redwoods across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, tuck into fresh-caught seafood at the ever-lively Fisherman’s Wharf. Other offerings to check out include a tour in a semi-submersible sub off Catalina Island’s coast, and winery tours and tastings near Ensenada. Departs October 10 and October 31; prices begin at $499 per person.
Celebrity Cruises: Alaska Dawes Glacier
Catch one of the last U.S. cruises to Alaska, sailing eight days roundtrip from Seattle. This 2,218-passenger Celebrity Millennium voyage delivers high-energy vibes. Hop on a high-speed boat bear-searching in Ketchikan, fish for halibut just like Juneau locals. In Icy Strait Point, ascend a mountain via a ZipRider, then descend a 1,330-foot harnessed vertical drop at speeds more than 60 miles per hour. Consider booking The Retreat, all-suite accommodations with a private lounge and sundeck with dedicated attendants, and a swanky restaurant. Departs October 1; prices begin at $599 per person.
Princess Cruises: 15-Day Hawaiian Islands
Need to relax? Take a 15-day roundtrip San Francisco cruise to Hawaii on 3,080-passenger Ruby Princess. It offers nine blissful sea days, plenty of time for massages and other spa treatments, and big time exhales in The Sanctuary adult retreat. Boredom isn’t conceivable; attend cooking demonstrations, dance contests, and casino games on the ship, and watch original musical productions created by superstar composer Stephen Schwartz, of Wicked fame. Departs November 7, December 7 and 22; prices begin at $1,549 per person.
Norwegian Cruise Line: Caribbean - Harvest Caye, Cozumel & Roatan
Get the party started on 3,963-passenger Norwegian Breakaway, sailing seven days roundtrip New Orleans. Walk the plank on the largest ropes course at sea, giggle in the Headliners Comedy Club, spend me-time in the Mandara Spa. Outings include wandering ancient Mayan ruins in Costa Maya, Mexico, snorkeling in Honduras amidst the Caribbean’s best pillar coral and marine life, fishing for tuna, and riding trail horses. Departs December 5, 2021; prices begin at $519 per person.
Crystal Cruises: Luxury Bermuda Escape
Indulge in eight days onboard 848-passenger Crystal Symphony, cruising roundtrip from New York. Count on two full days and nights in breathtaking Bermuda, unwinding on pink sand beaches, and exploring UNESCO World Heritage Site St. George, the oldest continuously occupied British settlement in the New World, with 17th century architecture. Take a ferry to Hamilton, admiring its pastel-hued colonial buildings and posh boutiques. Onboard, dine at global superstar chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s restaurant Umi Uma & Sushi Bar. Multiple departures through November 19; prices begin at $1,999 per person.
Viking: Panama Canal & the Pacific Coast
This 18-day journey from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles on 930-passenger Viking Orion promises one action-packed ride through six countries. Marvel at the Panama Canal, tour a sacred pre-Columbian Mayan religious site, go deep into jungles by ATV, or fly to Chichén Itzá’s pyramids and temples in Mexico. Eye a tropical jungle in Nicaragua, ride a horse-drawn carriage through Cartagena’s old city, while an eco-bike adventure and a market-to-table culinary class await in Costa Rica. The ship affords many pleasures, with its greatly admired spa replete with a snow grotto, Manfredi’s superb Italian cuisine, and the beautiful Wintergarden, serving a delightful afternoon tea. Departs November 17; prices begin at $3,999.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler