Let's start with a song (adapted by me from "The Love Boat"): "Norfolk, exciting and new, come aboard, they're expecting you. It's the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center. It's the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center."
So, why the song and dance? Well, after many months of build-up, anticipation and press releases, the Norfolk cruise terminal is finally opening. On April 28, Royal Caribbean will ship off to Bermuda, followed by more cruises to the Bahamas and Nowhere. (Just don't get on the wrong boat or you could end up sipping margaritas in the Middle East -- this is a navy town after all.)
For cruisers, the new $36 million facility means no more slogs to departure ports in Miami or Fort Lauderdale or Galveston, Tex. Now, it's just 3.5 hours away by car, and if you make it in less, you can spend your pre-departure time getting in the mood on a tour of the Battleship Wisconsin.
Even if you're stuck on land, the center is being touted as a destination unto itself. The Half Moone Vista will display facts about the original fort--in the mid-1700s, the marina was used as a fort to protect the maritime industry--and the Bermuda Room will present artifacts that show the historic link between Virginia and Bermuda. Outside, the Promenade Deck overlooks the Elizabeth River and the Lido Deck offers views of downtown Norfolk. (Sorry, no afternoon shuffleboard on the Lido.)
Curious? Go check out the terminal on Sat., April 7, when the facility will be open for tours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. There will also be food, giveaways and music. Of course, you already know the tune. For more information: Norfolk Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-368-3097, www.norfolkcvb.com.
By Andrea Sachs |
April 4, 2007; 9:55 AM ET
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