Norfolk, VA

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Explore Norfolk, VA

Set sail as thousands of seafaring Americans have before you, when you book a Carnival cruise from Norfolk, a 400-year-old seaport. Revitalized Norfolk, Virginia is now the proud home of a sparkling waterfront filled with green parks, festive shopping malls, delicious restaurants, and even fascinating maritime museums and monuments. Before you cruise from Norfolk, you’ll find yourself near two colonial villages, miles of beaches, and a blooming botanical garden.

  • Watch artisans blow glass at the Chrysler Museum of Art.
  • Take a ferry to colonial Olde Towne Portsmouth village.
  • Ride the roller coasters at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.
  • Tour the Norfolk waterfront by boat from the NAUTICUS museum.
  • Search for antique jewelry and furniture in the Ghent neighborhood.

Things To Do

Local Attractions

Explore maritime, military, and colonial history before sailing on your cruise from Norfolk. As the nation’s largest naval base, Norfolk has a proud seafaring tradition. Walk the decks of a battleship, take a waterfront cruise to the base, and visit the final resting place of General MacArthur. Colonial Williamsburg and Olde Towne Portsmouth are both a short trip from Norfolk.

  • See Egyptian carvings and Modernist masterworks at the Chrysler Museum of Art.
  • Honor one of America’s great generals at the Douglas MacArthur Memorial.
  • Stretch out on the Virginia Beach oceanfront before your cruise from Norfolk.
  • Board the heroic battleship Wisconsin at NAUTICUS.
  • Dive into Norfolk, Virginia history on the self-guided Cannonball Trail.

Fun Facts

  • Abe Doumar is said to be the first man to put ice cream in a cone. He ran various incarnations of what is now Doumar’s Cones and BBQ—still operated by his relatives—in downtown Norfolk.
  • Norfolk is home to the world’s largest naval base, which you can tour by boat from NAUTICUS while in town.
  • The U.S. headquarters for NATO is located in Norfolk.

Within Walking Distance

Carnival cruises from Norfolk dock in the city’s vibrant waterfront. Next to the terminal is Town Point Park, featuring a stirring statue of a returning sailor and the Armed Forces Memorial. At NAUTICUS, The National Maritime Centre, the main attraction is the 887 ft.-long USS Wisconsin, an enormous World War II-era battleship that last saw action in the Gulf War. The adjacent Hampton Roads Naval Museum puts the Wisconsin’s storied history into perspective with a collection of model ships and maritime displays. NAUTICUS is also the departure point for two-hour cruises of the piers, shipyards, and waterways of Norfolk’s naval base. The Cannonball Trail is a great way to take in from scenic waterfront sights, like Half Moone Fort and the Wisconsin. Down cobblestone streets you’ll find historic sites like the Moses Myers House, home to the city’s first Jewish settlers, and the Beaux-Arts Wells Theater.

Around the Port Area

The best collection of fine art in Norfolk, Virginia is in the stately palazzo of the Chrysler Museum of Art, with works by Pollock, O’Keeffe, Renoir, and Matisse, along with some 10,000 glass objects. The museum is the centerpiece of the Ghent district of turn-of-the-century architecture and funky shops and restaurants.

On tree-filled MacArthur Square, the Neoclassical columns of the old city hall front the Douglas MacArthur Memorial. Inside is military paraphernalia from the general’s career in the galleries and the general’s final resting place, in a sober rotunda.

Beyond the Port Area

A bit further afield from where your Norfolk cruise embarks are the seasonal blooms of the Norfolk Botanical Garden: azaleas in spring, roses in summer and fall, camellias and hollies in winter.

Less than an hour away, Williamsburg is as famous for its theme park as its historic past. Loop the loop on the Loch Ness Monster coaster and celebrate Oktoberfest any time of year at Busch Gardens. In Colonial Williamsburg, you can step back into 18th-century Virginia at the living open-air museum, where artisans still forge metal and spin wool by hand. Top off a day in history with a plate of Welsh rarebit and a tankard of ale in “ye olde” tavern.

Ferries from the Norfolk, Virginia, waterfront connect to Olde Towne Portsmouth, a colonial-era village. The atmospheric streets and lanes lead to historic homes, 18th-century churches, and many art galleries and antiques stores.

Beaches in Norfolk

Caribbean Beaches

Just minutes away from Norfolk is Virginia Beach, the area’s best stretch for summer swimming, golfing, fishing, and sea activities. Live it up on the boardwalk and family-filled sands in the main resort area, or hike in the natural surroundings of False Cape State Park and Back Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Shopping in Norfolk

Shop in style in the million square feet of the MacArthur Center, where quality names like Coach and Nordstrom lead the pack of nearly 150 stores. With one-of-a-kind shops and popular restaurants perched right by the harbor, the Waterside Festival Marketplace helped revive downtown Norfolk a few decades ago—and it’s right next door to the Carnival cruise terminal. Granby Street, in Ghent, is the local antiquing center.

Travel Tips


  • The Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center, at 1 Waterside Drive, is the terminal for Carnival cruises from Norfolk, near much of the city’s waterfront action.
  • Norfolk’s weather is fairly typical for the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Summertime is hot, with highs in July averaging around 87 degrees, while winters, though somewhat chilly, are relatively mild.