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Guide to Cruises From Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville is known for many things – fishing, boating, beaches, the Jaguars – but did you know it’s also one of the best Florida ports to book a cheap cruise?

Cruises from Jacksonville, Fl, provide the ideal combination of beachfront and urban adventure. Jacksonville has 22 miles of calm beaches, spectacular eco-adventures, world-class public art, deep-rooted history, intriguing attractions and the best restaurant scene in Florida, making it one of the nation’s most value-friendly travel destinations. When you book a Carnival cruise from the gorgeous port of Jacksonville on the St. Johns River, you get the best of both worlds: a laid-back beach town, a bustling city and the perfect launching spot for your adventure to a Caribbean paradise.

Carnival cruise ships depart from Jaxport Cruise Terminal, an easily accessible location with ample parking, right off I-295.

Carnival Cruises out of Jacksonville

Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) manages the Carnival Elation and Carnival Spirit, the two cruise ships operating out of Jaxport in Jacksonville. These ships have so much to offer, not the least of which is being one of the cheapest ways to get to The Bahamas fast. So head to your muster stations and get ready to set sail!

Carnival Elation

The Carnival Elation is a Fantasy-class cruise ship built to celebrate the muses who inspire the arts. Guests can expect this ship to inspire you to have tons of vacation fun. As you head toward your destination, you’ll find several spots to visit for a tasty bite — options like the taco-‘n-burrito goodness of Blue Iguana Cantina, the burgers-‘n-fries combo of Guy’s Burger Joint, plus all the rotating goodness of Lido Restaurant. Just bring an appetite and get ready to try them all! Carnival Elation also features multiple bars, from the mystical Alchemy Bar to the friendly poolside rivals RedFrog Rum Bar and Blue Iguana Tequila Bar. Don’t forget everybody’s friend, the always-swinging Duke’s Piano Bar. Some of these experiences have an extra fee, but it’s always worth it.

VIDEO: How To Spend a Day at Sea on a Carnival Cruise Ship

Where does the Carnival Elation sail?

Carnival Elation itineraries range between four, five or seven days, stopping in Freeport, Nassau, Bimini and/or the Princess Cays in The Bahamas and/or Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay, before returning to Jacksonville.

Room Types on the Carnival Elation

  • Ocean View: which provides the best view of the sea that lies ahead of the ship
  • Interior: an affordable way to cruise if you are on a budget
  • Balcony:  As the name implies, a balcony that serves as your own personal outdoor oasis.
  • Suite (Grand Vista Suite): This is the biggest room on the ship. Located on the uppermost deck, it has everything you can think of: floor-to-ceiling windows, a balcony, a soaking tub, VIP check-in, etc.

Every room also includes a television, climate control, a dedicated room steward and a safe for your valuables. Read more about the Carnival Elation.

Is the Carnival Elation a kid friendly ship?

If you have kids, get ready for the Parent of the Year award because the Carnival Elation has so many activities to keep them engaged and happy. With activities like Zumbini, which has excellent music educational content, or Camp Ocean, which brings out all their survival skills and teaches them about marine animals, they are going to love it.

Sailing on the Carnival Spirit from Jacksonville

Occasionally, the Carnival Spirit sails out of Jaxport. With 12 decks spanning over 294 meters, this is a bigger ship than the Carnival Elation.

There’s a lot of fun to be had, and there’s something for everyone; little ones, the lovebirds, or the entire family. There’s a mini-golf course, a two-deck fitness center, a jogging track, a Serenity Adult-Only Retreat, a pool, and more. And staying cool isn’t tricky at WaterWorks – after all, you’re surrounded by waterslides like Green Thunder — and you can always cool down or warm-up with a plunge in our domed swimming pool. Keep the kids engaged with three age-appropriate youth programs that provide a variety of activities and opportunities for them to meet new people.

How Much is a Cruise From Jacksonville, Florida?

Jacksonville has some of the most affordable cruise prices in the world, with some of the easiest itineraries and quickest routes to island paradise. Pricing varies depending on the duration and destination of the cruise. A 5-day cruise on the Carnival Spirit starts at just $219; $159 on the Carnival Elation. This excludes taxes, fees and port expenses charged per person, but even still, it’s one of the cheapest vacations you can take. And all your food and activities are included!

If you have been looking for that perfect vacation idea, we hope you’ve found it in cruising because the experience is simply unforgettable. 

Do I Need a Passport to Cruise from Jacksonville?

Carnival Cruise Line suggests that guests sail with a current passport to decrease wait times while returning to the United States. If a passport is not available, a state-issued driver’s license AND an original or certified copy of a birth certificate are sufficient to show U.S. citizenship; however, this slows down the debarkation procedure. Passports are really the gold standard for cruising.

VIDEO: Is a Disney Cruise Worth the Price?

Parking at Jaxport Cruise Terminal

Jaxport provides secure parking for Jacksonville cruise passengers. The well-lit and secured parking space on the Jaxport property is located near the Cruise Terminal building. It is patrolled 24 hours a day by Jaxport security. Jaxport also has designated disabled parking areas.

One of the cool things about the terminal is paying for cruise parking online in advance. If you would rather book your parking ticket on ground, they also accept cash and major credit cards.

Pricing for parking passenger vehicles is $17 per day. And for oversized recreational vehicles is $34 per day (Oversized refers to any vehicle that takes up two regular-sized parking spaces.)

Free parking is available for drivers with a state-issued disabled veterans plate and those with a Florida Toll Exemption decal that is permanently affixed to their vehicle. Also, persons in vehicles adapted to accommodate a disabled driver, such as hand/foot controls and fitted ramps, are eligible for free parking.

Cruising is more than just a vacation. It’s an unforgettable experience you’ll be reliving for a long time!

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