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Newport Cruise Port Guide

The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, would cost $200 million if built today. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, would cost $200 million if built today. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

The small city of Newport, Rhode Island, depends heavily on New England cruise visitors from September through early November every year.

Large ships anchor in Newport Harbor and tender passengers to Perotti Park. Small ships dock at the South Alofsin Pier at Fort Adams State Park.

Newport, on the southernmost tip of Aquidneck Island, is three hours north of New York City and 90 minutes south of Boston Massachusetts. It has a population of about 24,000 people.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

Newport has a colonial history going back to its founding in 1639. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was a popular summer destination for America’s richest people, who built huge mansions that are major attractions today.

One of the most famous wealthy families, the Vanderbilts, built two of the largest and most popular mansions in the city. Marble House took four years to build and was modeled after the Petit Trianon at Versailles. The Breakers, modeled after 16th century palaces in Genoa and Turin, is on a 13-acre estate overlooking a spectacular view of the coastline. If built today, the total cost of this National Historic Register mansion would be $200 million.

Four-hour mansion tours from excursion operators may cost around $75 per person with discounts for children.

Cruise visitors can take the famous Cliff Walk of more than a mile along Newport’s beautiful coast. The trail is both a nature walk and a way of viewing or visiting some of the famous mansions. Visitors can take the walk on their own or pay for a guided tour that will cost around $75 per person with discounts for children.

Other Attractions

Other attractions include National Registered Historic Landmark District in the city itself. The district offers colonial architecture with such buildings as the Quaker Meeting House, White Horse Tavern, Brick Market Museum, Old Colony House and Touro Synagogue.

Another attraction on the National Registry of Historic Places is the restored and picturesque Rhode Island Lighthouse, originally built in 1870.

One of the quickest, least strenuous and least expensive excursions is a driving tour of Newport that will take less than two hours and cost about $50 per person. The tour may drive by Trinity Church, Redwood Library and the Gothic Church of Saint Mary’s where Jacqueline Bouvier married Senator John F. Kennedy. Other highlights include Ocean Drive and the mansions on Bellevue Avenue.

Fort Adams, which dates back to 1799, is now a tourist attraction and state park. It is four miles southwest of Perotti Park, where cruise passengers disembark from their tenders.


Newport Rhode Island monthly temperatures
Newport monthly temperatures. © 2022 Scott S. Bateman

Average high temperatures reach into the low 80s Fahrenheit during summer and low 70s during the peak cruise month in September.

Daytime temperatures drop into the low 60s Fahrenheit in October and low 50s in November.

Rainfall averages a steady three to four inches a month throughout the cruise season.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
April 02, 2022

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