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I used to sail HAL out of Norfolk Va and they stopped sailing from that port.  Does anyone know if HAL will ever come back?  I did ask Seth yesterday, but I did not get a reply.  Thank you.

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Yes, it used to be popular, don't know why not anymore, Carnival does a few cruises to Bermuda and the Bahama's, Newport News is big naval base nearby, that might have something to do with it.

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I'm not sure if I would want to sail from there long term but it seems like a great choice during the Florida stance on requiring vaccintions.

 

Roy

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I miss sailing out of Norfolk. I did three cruises on the Maasdam out of there.  Also a Celebrity cruise to Bermuda. I seem to remember that Norfolk spent a lot of money on a new/updated terminal and most cruise ships pulled out of there not long after it opened. 

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Just like the same question just down the board about San Francisco, with the fleet reductions,  hard to imagine some if the more complicated ports getting a HAL ship homeported there any time soon.

 

Glad we could discuss this here without political bashing...

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It was the Maasdam, I recall, that offered cruises from Norfolk on a seasonal basis.  The terminal is great.  The city and region itself is tourist/cruise guest friendly.  Lots to do and experience pre- and post-cruise.  But.....

 

The parking situation at the terminal is a negative.  There are parking garages "in the vicinity", but not like Port Everglades or Port Miami.  When I was last there, the traffic situation arriving/departing the terminal was congested.  

 

There were many Maasdam cruises that arrived late and therefore sailed late because of the sea conditions off the Outer Banks.  The ship had slow her speed because of the sea conditions.  

 

Nevertheless, I have sailed from Baltimore on Carnival Pride and everything worked as planned.  If there was a "will and a way" on the part of HAL to offer cruises from the Tidewater ports, it could be done.  The reduction of the size of the fleet as well as the elimination of the smaller vessels may have a negative impact on any consideration of this.  Maybe the Volendam and the Zaandam could use Baltimore as a turnaround port.  Whether the Vista ships, et al., could get under the bridges across Chesapeake Bay to get to Baltimore?  Certainly, they could get to Norfolk.  But, King Neptune's sea conditions on some days might make the regularity of their schedules an issue as it was for Maasdam.

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I definitely enjoyed my one 11-night Maasdam cruise out of Norfolk.  We were living outside DC at the time so it was very convenient, and my parents flew down from Massachusetts to join us on their first (but definitely not last) HAL cruise.  My dad particularly enjoyed it because his first duty station after enlisting in the Navy was Portsmouth.

 

The first and last days of cruising were among the rockiest we've ever experienced, sailing along the outer banks-- my first experience with seasickness, in fact.  On the return, not only were the seas rough but there was a big storm system we had to plow straight through.  The rain was ridiculous, and the waves so high they closed all outside decks.  Our PS cabin got flooded because the sliding doors to the balcony didn't have a good seal; they deployed a small army of workers to keep mopping things up with towels, stationed three air blowers to keep the carpet from mildewing, etc.

 

On top of all that, what I remember most was getting a letter from HAL about a month later with a check for 1/3 the price of the cruise apologizing for the inconvenience we experienced.  We hadn't complained at all, just considering it part of what can happen when one chooses to cruise ("ship happens"), so were shocked to get that check.  I'm not sure today's HAL would have done that, but the goodwill they earned has reaped them huge dividends in our many bookings since!

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Going around the Outer Banks can definitely be an issue. The roughest seas I’ve ever experienced was two of those Maasdam cruises. On one of them it actually felt like the stern was coming out of the water on a downward wave with the propellers rotating in the air, thus vibrating the entire ship.  Now, I doubt that’s what was really happening, but that’s certainly what it felt like!

 

I know RCL sails out of Baltimore. Do they report the same problems coming by the Outer Banks?

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On 7/14/2021 at 8:35 AM, sassy~one said:

Norfolk is about 2 hours for me.  I'm on the Outer Banks. NC

 

Ah - we have a part ownership in a little house in Nags Head - love it!  Lucky sassy~one!

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We would also like having Norfolk as a port.    I have wondered why nobody has recently used that port as a base for cruises to Bermuda.

 

Hank

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3 hours ago, CM1984 said:

 

Ah - we have a part ownership in a little house in Nags Head - love it!  Lucky sassy~one!

I'm on Roanoke Island.  I do water classes at the Y in Nags Head a few times a week. Love where I live. Retired here oh about 16 years ago.  Thanks Debbie

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Norfolk has an issue that all cruise ship traffic is secondary to all military passage.   Also due to tidal issues around Norfolk the terminal itself is not accessible in non favorable tides.  Either a good deal of dredging, rework is needed or a far more flexible cruise schedule on when docking actions can be done.  Since both require money it is not perfect.

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20 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

It was the Maasdam, I recall, that offered cruises from Norfolk on a seasonal basis.  The terminal is great.  The city and region itself is tourist/cruise guest friendly.  Lots to do and experience pre- and post-cruise.  But.....

 

The parking situation at the terminal is a negative.  There are parking garages "in the vicinity", but not like Port Everglades or Port Miami.  When I was last there, the traffic situation arriving/departing the terminal was congested.  

 

There were many Maasdam cruises that arrived late and therefore sailed late because of the sea conditions off the Outer Banks.  The ship had slow her speed because of the sea conditions.  

 

Nevertheless, I have sailed from Baltimore on Carnival Pride and everything worked as planned.  If there was a "will and a way" on the part of HAL to offer cruises from the Tidewater ports, it could be done.  The reduction of the size of the fleet as well as the elimination of the smaller vessels may have a negative impact on any consideration of this.  Maybe the Volendam and the Zaandam could use Baltimore as a turnaround port.  Whether the Vista ships, et al., could get under the bridges across Chesapeake Bay to get to Baltimore?  Certainly, they could get to Norfolk.  But, King Neptune's sea conditions on some days might make the regularity of their schedules an issue as it was for Maasdam.

I think there is some hope for that.  I was on Enchantment of the Seas in 2013 and we docked next to the Eurodam.  I noted in a thread then that I was surprised at how close in height the 2 ships were.

 

I think the Vistas are a little shorter than the Signature so I have significant hopes for them.  I think Vistas have also visited Tampa where the bridge height is close to the ones to Baltimore.

 

Roy

 

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21 hours ago, carolyn22 said:

I know RCL sails out of Baltimore. Do they report the same problems coming by the Outer Banks?

 

That''s a good question.  Both Carnival and RCL sail from Baltimore and I don't recall reading any negative comments about guests' experiences around the Outer Banks.  I not even positive that I have ever read any reports about severe arrival/departure times at Baltimore.  

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We loved being able to drive to Norfolk the morning of our cruise (from central North Carolina). It was about a 3-hour drive. Charleston's about a 4-hour drive, although the one time we took a Carnival cruise from there it was a 6-hour drive since we detoured to pick up my mother-in-law. I would like to see HAL sail from there as well.

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I've sailed 3 times from Norfolk, all on Carnival; once just a 2-night CTN and twice to Bermuda.

 

Yeah, nice relatively short drive from Durham.  Nice terminal.  Friendly port employees.

 

First time, for the CTN, I drove up the morning of sailing where we had to park off-site and take a shuttle to the port.  Next time, drove up and did a park-and-cruise package at a hotel.  They had a shuttle to the port.  I think both of those sailings were the first on the ship from Norfolk so there was no traffic for picking up departing pax.

 

Last time, drove up and stayed downtown at a hotel where we could leave the car.  Taxi to the pier was a nightmare.  It was a weekday and the combination of downtown traffic and so many people trying to be picked up both by shuttles and by private cars created a massive jam.  We finally had the driver just let us out and we pulled our bags the rest of the way.

 

That's the only drawback I see with Norfolk as a port.  Maybe if they only did weekend sailings to avoid the traffic issues it would work.  I'd love to sail from there again.

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8 hours ago, NCTribeFan said:

Last time, drove up and stayed downtown at a hotel where we could leave the car.  Taxi to the pier was a nightmare.  It was a weekday and the combination of downtown traffic and so many people trying to be picked up both by shuttles and by private cars created a massive jam.  We finally had the driver just let us out and we pulled our bags the rest of the way.

 

That's the only drawback I see with Norfolk as a port.  Maybe if they only did weekend sailings to avoid the traffic issues it would work.  I'd love to sail from there again.

 

As I said in a previous post, it is the restricted area for traffic near the cruise terminal that is what I perceived would be a problem.  Maybe the City Fathers/Mothers, if they cared to do so, would figure out a way to solve this issue.

 

10 hours ago, VegasRealtor said:

Sailed out of Norfolk and Little Creek many times (U.S.Navy) - none of us ever looked forward to going through the Cape Hatteras area - almost always rough.

 

I think that I have a decent idea of the size of the ships that would sail out of Little Creek.  No stabilizers whatsoever and one would know that one was experiencing whatever King Neptune chose to provide for you at that time.  

 

(Thank you for your service in our Navy!!!!)  

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Back then, if someone would have ever mentioned "stabilizer", we'd have thought it sounded like some sort of drink - bet they could make it in our favorite bar on Luna Street in old San Juan...most of us needed to be stabilized!

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