Ships are again porting out of Norfolk, with Royal Caribbean and Carnival lines originating Bahamas and Burmuda itineraries out of the city. The Silver Shadow, AIDA Luna and Carnival Splendor will run regularly from the port. Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas sailed from Norkolk on May 7th but the line does not expect regular service to return until November. Other ships such as “The World,” a ship whose passengers are actually full-time residents and the Insignia from Oceania Cruises.
Norfolk is an obvious choice for cruise lines but the complications of air travel and lack of easy drive-and-cruise support has hindered the ports development. That aside, the actual cruise terminal is among the most beautiful and boasts the rare sight of cruise ships docked next a massive battleship. The U.S.S. Wisconsin was permanently docked next to the terminal as the anchor of a museum, shopping and eating complex. One of the four Iowa class battleships the “Whisky” served in World War II, Korea and the Gulf War. Until 2009 she was kept in reserve in the event her dozen massive sixteen inch guns were needed again. Cruise aficionados will find it interesting to note that the historic ocean liner, SS United States shares the same basic hull design and propulsion plant as the Iowa class battleships. This was long a closely held secret when the long inactive ocean liner was technically a possible troop ship.