Take a cruise from one of New York's several cruise ports to visit the Caribbean, New England, Canada, and Britain, as well as some popular European travel destinations. While you're at the ports, be sure to check out the shopping, dining, and history as well.
Overview of New York's Cruise Ports
There are three New York cruise ports if you count the one in Bayonne, New Jersey. That port is often considered an extension of the New York ports because of its proximity to the Big Apple.
New York's Manhattan port is located on the Hudson River, just a mile away from Times Square and Central Park. Weekends in the area can be cramped because of the heavy traffic resulting from several cruise ships departing around the same time, so leave early to make it to your cruise on time.
Cruise lines that sail from Manhattan include:
- Norwegian - Destinations include such places as Bermuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Martinique, and Canada/New England. An 11-day Eastern Caribbean cruise starts at $449 per person and visits St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, and Antigua.
- Carnival - Destinations include Florida and the Bahamas, New England and Canada. An example is a four-night Bermuda cruise that gives you a couple days at sea and one in Bermuda. Rates start at $584 per person for interior cabins.
- Holland America - Destinations include New England and Canada seasonally. A one-way, 10-day Colors of Canada and New England cruise stops in Boston, Massachusetts; Bay Harbor, Maine; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, PEI; and Quebec City, Quebec starts at $1,699 per person.
- Disney - Destinations include their private Castaway Cay, as well as other Caribbean destinations like Nassau, Antigua, and San Juan. Look for themed itineraries for Halloween and Christmas too. The seven-night Very Merrytime Bahamian Cruise includes stops in Castaway Cay, Port Canaveral, and New York starting at $3,587 for two people.
- Crystal Cruises - Destinations include the East Coast, Canada, and the Caribbean. A 14-day Colonial Charms itinerary starts at $4,240 per person and stops in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Bahamas, Jamaica, Aruba, and Puerto Rico.
- Silversea Cruises - Departures to New England, Canada, and the Caribbean are available once or twice a year. An example is the 11-day New York to Bridgetown cruise, which starts at $3,690 per person (for early booking bonus) and stops in Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, Guadalupe, Dominica, Grenada, and Barbados.
Paid parking is available above the piers. Cruise parking rates start around $35 per day (up to 10 hours), and $40 a night for up to ten nights. Extended parking is also available for about $400 for 11 to 30 nights. Taxes are included and there is no up-charge for large vehicles like SUVs. Reservations are not accepted and payment can be made by Visa or MasterCard.
Embarking and Disembarking
Passengers embarking will arrive at street level where the cruise vessel is. You'll see signs identifying the ships in port, which are posted on pillars nearest the proper berth. Use passenger elevators at the head of each pier, or escalators on the south side of the entrance area. Those disembarking will be directed to the baggage hall where your baggage is sorted and placed. Once you pick up your bags, you'll pass through customs for customs declarations and then you can head off to buses, private shuttle vehicles, and parking.
Passengers arriving by private car should park and then visit the luggage drop-off on second level where check-in is. Otherwise, you won't be able to drop off bags and park without exiting the terminal. Also, there is no luggage storage available at the terminal.
While you're in Manhattan, be sure to check out Broadway, the museums, the nightclubs, and the restaurants.
The Brooklyn Bridge is little more than a mile north of the Brooklyn cruise terminal. The Brooklyn cruise terminal was built in 2006, so it's much newer than the Manhattan one, which was built in the 1930s.
Two main cruise lines sail from the Brooklyn port:
- Princess Cruises - Visit the Panama Canal en route to Los Angeles, California, or enjoy passage to Canada and New England. A 7-night Canada and New England itinerary starts at $1,011 with stops in Rhode Island, Boston, Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.
- Cunard- Destinations including St. Lucia, Barbados, Antigua, St. Kitts, Canada, Jamaica, Aruba, San Francisco, French Polynesia, Hawaii, California, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, and Hong Kong are served. An example itinerary on the Queen Mary 2 (QM2) is a 21-night Transatlantic, New England and Canada itinerary, starting at $3,899 per person. Stops include Halifax, Quebec, Rockland, Saguenay Fjord, Nova Scotia, Sept-Iles, Corner Brook, and Southampton.
Unfortunately, there aren't many accommodations at the Brooklyn terminal building. Passengers are limited to the essentials, such as bathrooms, seating, and vending machines.
Paid parking is available on the south side of the terminal where the overnight rate runs $25 per day. Short term parking for up to four hours is available for $20. If you prefer to avoid leaving your car at the terminal, use a Brooklyn car service or taxi instead.
Embarking and Disembarking
Embarking passengers will enter the terminal and are directed towards security, screening, and the check-in area. Disembarking passengers will pick up their baggage and enter the terminal building where they are directed to buses, private shuttles, and parking. If your car is parked, you have the option to retrieve your vehicle first then pick up luggage and the rest of your travel party.
If you're arriving by private vehicle, drop off luggage and passengers curbside then proceed to the parking lot. Like Manhattan, there is no luggage storage at the terminal.
While you're in Brooklyn, check out Coney Island, the Botanic Gardens, or the Brooklyn Museum. From the Brooklyn cruise terminal, you can see Staten Island, the Statue of Liberty, Upper New York Bay, Lower Manhattan and Governors Island.
Cape Liberty, Bayonne, New Jersey
The Cape Liberty cruise port is located in Bayonne, New Jersey, on the New York Harbor. It's only seven miles from New York City and offers easy access to popular shopping and dining areas.
Cruise lines departing from Cape Liberty include:
- Royal Caribbean - Destinations include exotic ports of call in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. An example itinerary is the 7-night Bahamas Cruise that stops in Florida, and then CocoCay and Nassau in the Bahamas. Prices start at $544 per person.
- Celebrity Cruises - New England, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean are among the options here. Choose a 14-night Canada and New England cruise that starts at $1,699 per person with stops in Boston, Maine, Quebec, Saguenay Fjord, and Halifax.
There's plenty of parking at the port terminal, so you don't need to worry about your vehicle while sailing. Rates run $20 a day. Oversized vehicles and RVs that take up more than one spot will be charged double and there is a height restriction of 7'4". There is an adjacent lot that is open for those vehicles with height restrictions.
Embarking and Disembarking
The check-in process at this port is known to be chaotic. Be patient and be prepared to ask for directions. Express walk off is available for passengers disembarking; however, no porter service will be available so you must be able to carry it from your stateroom to your planned mode of transportation at the terminal. Any items that were confiscated can be retrieved after CBP inspection area, just before exiting the terminal. Don't lose your confiscated item voucher.
Passengers can carry their luggage directly on board, with elevators available for passengers with excess luggage. There are no carts in the terminal and luggage that doesn't fit through the screening machine must be checked with the porter delivery service. Maximum dimensions are 23" x 16".
While in port, consider visiting the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island.
Booking a cruise ship is not like booking an airplane. The dates you leave are more or less dictated to you by the cruise line. If you want a place on any of the above cruises, plan your trip thoroughly and book as soon as you can so you're sure to set sail on the exact cruise you've always dreamed of.