In addition to San Juan, more Caribbean ports are homeporting. Barbados was recently chosen as Commodore Cruise Line's homeport for the Enchanted Isle, which the cruise line is bringing back to the Caribbean.
The 731-passenger ship will be sailing alternating weekly itineraries calling at St. Thomas, Antigua, Martinique, Grenada and Trinidad as well as St. Croix, St. Maarten, Guadeloupe, Dominica and St. Lucia.
Star Clippers is repositioning the Star Clipper to Barbados for alternating week-long sailings to the Windward and Leeward islands starting in January.
Already sailing from Barbados is Windstar Cruises' Wind Star which also does alternating weekly cruises.
Cruise line executives cited the airlift to Barbados from the United States as well as direct airlift from Europe coupled with a modern airport and comprehensive cruise facilities and hotels for pre- and post cruise stays.
Figures recently released by the Barbados Tourism Authority reported that 286,993 cruise passengers visited the island from Jan.-July 1994, compared to 254,430 in 1993 during the same period, accounting for an 8.5 percent increase.
Meanwhile, Guadeloupe has been chosen to homeport Costa Cruise Lines' Costa Allegra for a series of winter Caribbean cruises.
Paquet Cruises also originates a series of cruises from Guadeloupe. Club Med meanwhile operates from Martinique during the winter season.
The two French islands have excellent air connections to Europe.
Aruba has been a successful homeport for Seawind Cruise Line and Dolphin Cruise Line.
Starting next spring, Seawind will offer a new, alternating seven-day program from Aruba with the 624-passenger Seawind Crown calling at Antigua, Guadeloupe, Barbados and Dominica; and at Curacao, Grenada, Barbados and St. Lucia, respectively.
Regency Cruises has operated seven-day partial Panama Canal transit cruises from Montego Bay, Jamaica, for nearly a decade.
Other islands that are used for homeporting include St. Thomas by Seabourn Cruise Line and Cunard Sea Goddess; Antigua by Renaissance Cruises and Sea Cloud; St. Martin by Star Clipper and Windjammer; and Grenada, also by Windjammer.
Freeport on Grand Bahama Island may have the infrastructure to become a major homeport alternative to South Florida. According to Eulie Scott, Director of Marketing, Freeport can homeport two to three large cruise ships at the same time and handle as many as eight visiting ships at any one time. Freeport also has the airport capability to handle any aircraft.
Today, Freeport is a regular port-of-call for one day cruises and three- and four-day cruises from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Pam Beach and Port Canaveral.
In addition, Freeport is working with Jacksonville, Florida, to develop one-day cruise service between Jacksonville and Freeport.