At Six Regional Ports, Get Out to Sea Without Taking to the Air

Sunday, October 7, 2007

You just wanted to go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and sky, and all you asked was a tall ship and a star to steer her by. What you got instead was airport hell, delays and cancellations, serpentine security lines -- perpetual frustration.

That in a nutshell, with apologies to John Masefield, is the unpoetic reality of cruising today, when nautical nirvana is too often bracketed by nightmarish flights to and from the ship's departure city. And there the story might have ended, were it not for six nearby ports coming to our rescue, several of them nearly new and all within comfortable driving distance of the District.

If you haven't been to the docks of Norfolk, Baltimore or Brooklyn recently, or the piers of Philadelphia, Manhattan or Bayonne, you may be harboring the notion that the only excursions these towns offer are dinner cruises and those one-night trips to nowhere. It's okay. We were skeptical, too. Then we started hearing about sailings to Nova Scotia and New Zealand, Bermuda and Bonaire, Singapore and Samana.

And all you've got to do is park the car, gather your bags and stroll up the gangplank.

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