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Guide To New York Cruise Port

Updated on July 22, 2011
Manhattan Cruise Terminal and Skyline
Manhattan Cruise Terminal and Skyline

Let's Go New York

In 1626 a Dutch trading colony, New Amsterdam, was established on Manhattan Island. New Amsterdam was overrun by the English in the mid 17th century and renamed New York. Over the following hundred years New York grew and prospered, as a center for trade between America and England.

The 1775-1783 American War of Independence began when the colonists revolted because of the heavy levies enforced by the English government. New York was occupied by English soldiers throughout the rebellion, and was only surrendered to American control in 1783.

For 7 years after the end of the war, New York was the United States’ capital city, until superseded by Philadelphia.

New York grew in population and as a commercial hub throughout the 19th century. The number of immigrants swelled dramatically in this century, as a result of the Great Irish Famine.

New York continued to grow all through the 20th century to become a world center for business, commerce and trade. A highlight of the century was the building plan which led to the emergence of Manhattan’s awe-inspiring skyscraper skyline.

All through the history of New York its shipping docks located on the Upper Hudson Bay have been central to the success of the city. A big part of the ports’ importance lies in the large numbers of immigrants that have come to New York by boat. In the nineteenth century, Castle Garden was created as the first US immigration center, before being replaced by Ellis Island in 1892. In the early 1900s, many migrants would arrive at Chelsea Piers, on  Manhattan Island’s west bank, and were then transported to Ellis Island for documenting. However Chelsea Piers was unable to cater for big cruise liners, and longer piers were constructed between West 44th and 52nd streets in the 1930s, making the New York City Passenger Ship Terminal, often called ‘Luxury Liner Row’. But increased restrictions on migrant numbers led to a sharp drop in the number of liners criss-crossing the Atlantic.

However the cruise line companies bounced back when the New York City Passenger Ship Terminal reinvented itself in the 1970s as the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. As the demand for cruises grew, two more cruise terminals opened for business in the Hudson Bay. The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook opened 2004 and Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal in Bayonne, opened in 2005.

Empire State Building, Manhattan
Empire State Building, Manhattan

Sightseeing In New York

Empire State Building
New York’s famed Empire State Building rises over a quarter of a mile above the heart of Manhattan. The promenade and pavilion at 1050feet high, gives you a fabulous birds-eye view of the city. The Empire State Building is a half-hour walk from the cruise terminal.

Central Park
Take the time to visit to Central Park, a huge green space in the middle of Manhattan's concrete jungle. The best things to see would include the Great Lawn, Belvedere Castle, the Botanical Gardens, the Zoo and the Bethesda fountain.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
This world famous museum, founded in 1870, displays a vast number of works of art from all around the world. Make sure you see Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses, Vermeer’s Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, the medieval tapestry The Unicorn in Captivity and Rembrandt’s Aristotle with a Bust of Homer. The museum is situated to the side of Central Park between E81st and E82nd streets.

Brooklyn Bridge
Finished in 1883 Brooklyn Bridge which crosses the East River is Brooklyn’s most famed icon. There is a pedestrian pathway the length of the bridge, which you can reach at the junction of Adams & Tillary or by a staircase on Prospect St. As you stroll along Brooklyn bridge you can appreciate fantastic views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Hudson Upper Bay .  

Statue of LibertyThe Statue of Liberty is one of the most celebrated statues of the United States and New York. Fabricated in Paris by  Frédéric-Auguste  Bartholdi, with help from Gustave Eiffel, this towering monument to freedom was a present from the French people to honor  the centenary of American Independence. Tickets to the base area may be reserved or purchased at the statue. Tickets to the statue’s stairway and crown have to be reserved, as access is restricted to 240 people each day.

Horseshoe Bay Beach, just one of the beautiful beaches in Bermuda, a popular cruise destination for NY cruises
Horseshoe Bay Beach, just one of the beautiful beaches in Bermuda, a popular cruise destination for NY cruises

Cruise Routes From New York

Popular all-year itineraries are the Bahamas and the eastern Caribbean. These destinations offer warm temperatures even in winter, with sunshine-filled days and mild evenings.

In summer, cruises to Bermuda generally include a one-night stopover, so passengers can experience the nightlife. More itineraries in the summer months are northward-bound cruises following New England and Canada, stopping at historic and charming ports-of-call. Another possibility during summer and fall is a transatlantic cruise to Europe. For a full calendar of cruises from New York, see New York cruises.

Manhattan Cruise Terminal
Manhattan Cruise Terminal
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
Cape Liberty (Bayonne) Cruise Terminal
Cape Liberty (Bayonne) Cruise Terminal

New York Cruise Terminals

NYC offers 2 cruise ports, the Mathattan Cruise Terminal beside the Hudson River on the west bank of Manhattan Island, and seven miles southwards Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on the eastern side of Hudson Bay on the Red Hook shoreline of Brooklyn. Also nearby is Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal, on the mainland shoreline of the Bay, at Bayonne, New Jersey.

Manhattan Cruise Terminal
The Manhattan Cruise Terminal is located next to West 44th through West 52nd streets on the west Hudson River coast of Manhattan . The cruise port covers three docks, 88, 90 and 92. A terminal building sits above each pier.  Terminal services include VIP areas, newsstands, cafes, seating areas, check-in areas, rest rooms and customs and immigration.  There's a parking area on the roof of the cruise terminals. Manhattan Cruise Terminal is primarily used by NCL, Carnival and Holland America cruise ships. For the port authority website see New York City Development Corporation.

Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
Situated across from Governors Island in Red Hook, the Brooklyn cruise terminal is a new facility on pier 12. Because of its history as a trade port, the terminal surroundings have a commerical docks feel. The terminal has vending machines, check-in desks, restrooms, immigration and customs.   Next to the terminal is parking area with a capacity of 500 cars. Brooklyn Cruise Terminal hosts Princess Cruises and Cunard Cruise Line ships.

Bayonne Cruise Terminal
Cape Liberty cruise terminal is located at the Peninsula in Bayonne Harbor. Inaugurated in 2004, the cruise port was formerly the Bayonne Navy base. The terminal contains customs, a snackbar, check-in desks, immigration and restrooms.  The cruise terminal is around half-a-mile from the dock, so passengers are transported by shuttle buses from the cruise terminal building to their ship. Convenient passenger parking is located adjacent to the terminal building. RCCL and Celebrity Cruises ships use Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal.

Directions to the Cruise Ports

Manhattan

By Air
The nearest airports to the Manhattan Cruise terminal are Newark International, John F. Kennedy and La Guardia. LaGuardia is the nearest, 7 miles away. Taxis are readily available at each airport.  Some cruise lines organize a transfer coach.

By Car
Cars enter the cruise terminal from the north at the intersection of 55th Street and 12th Avenue. Car parking is available at each of the three cruise terminals.
From North/Yonkers
Travel south on the Highway 9A, exit to the right at 55th Street.
From East/Jersey City
Travel through the Holland Tunnel, follow the signs for 9A. When you reach the shoreline turn right onto Route 9A.  Carry on for about 1 mile then follow the sign for the Ship Terminal.
From West/Long Island
From the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, head west on 34th Street to reach 12th Avenue. Make a right and carry on north to the cruise ship port.

By Train
Grand Central Station and Penn Station are the nearest train stations from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.  Taxis are on hand at both. Another option is to catch the subway to Columbus Circle, and walk onwards to the cruise terminal.

Brooklyn

By Air
JFK, New Liberty and LaGuardia airports are all about 11 miles from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. Cabs are available at each airport.  Often cruise lines lay on a shuttle coach transfer.

By Car
Cars access the terminal at the intersection of Imlay Street and Bowne Street.
From the North/Manhattan
Drive through the Battery Tunnel, Intestate 478 into Brooklyn. Take first exit in Brooklyn Hamilton Avenue. Make a left-U-turn at the intersection of Hamilton Avenue with Clinton Street, then continue following westbound Hamilton Avenue. Make a left at Van Brunt Street, and after 2 blocks, turn right onto Bowne Street to reach the cruise terminal.
From the South/Elizabeth
Travel across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Keep on Gowanus Expressway towards Brooklyn.  Exit at Exit 26. Go down Hamilton Avenue to the end, make a left turn on Van Brunt and travel 2 blocks to make a right onto Bowne Street to enter the terminal. 

By Train
Grand Central Station and Penn Station are the nearest train stations from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.  Cabs are on hand at both stations.

Bayonne

By Air
Newark Liberty Airport is the nearest airport to Bayonne  terminal - about 5 miles away. Both John F. Kennedy and La Guardia are around 25 miles in distance. Cabs are readily available at each airport.  Often cruise lines arrange a shuttle bus transfer.

By Car
From NJ Turnpike (North/East)
Leave the New Jersey Turnpike, I78, at Exit 14A.  Join the 440 South.  After about a mile, then make a left into Cape Liberty Terminal Boulevard.
From Staten Island Expy (South/West)
Turn onto 440 heading north. Drive across Bayonne Bridge and continue on 440. Turn right into into Cape Liberty Terminal Boulevard

By Train
The best-located station is the HBLR station at 34th street.  Take a taxi onward to the cruise terminal.  Note that no public transportation goes to the cruise terminal itself, and pedestrians have restricted access to the port.

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    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Excellent write up. Very thorough

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