New York, the Big Apple
New York was first inhabited by Europeans in the early 17th century, when a Dutch outpost called New Amsterdam was set up to collect beaver furs. New Amsterdam was taken by the English in 1664 and renamed New York. Disputes between the colonies and the English government led to the American War of Independence of 1775-1783. New York was home to English soldiers throughout the war, and was only surrendered to American control at the end of the war. New York continued to grow all through the 19th and 20th centuries to become a world center for industry, commerce and trade. The 20th century also saw the emergence of Manhattan’s amazing skyscraper filled skyline.
All through the history of New York its shipping docks situated on the Upper Bay have been key to the city’s success, important not just for goods, but also for passengers. Large numbers of migrants came from Europe and elsewhere seeking a better life. In 1855, to better control the influx, Castle Garden was set up as the first US immigration center, before being replaced in 1892 by Ellis Island. Immigrants would arrive at Chelsea Piers, on Manhattan Island’s west bank, and were then ferried back to Ellis Island for documenting.
However Chelsea Piers was incapable of hosting larger cruise liners, and longer piers were built between West 44th and 52nd streets in the 1930s, making the New York City Passenger Ship Terminal, or ‘Luxury Liner Row’. But quick and convenient air travel finished off the era of the magnificent transatlantic liner.
The cruise industry came back to life when, in the 1970s, the New York City Passenger Ship Terminal relaunched itself as the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. Demand for cruises rose and two further cruise terminals opened in the Hudson Bay. The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook opened 2004 and Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal in Bayonnne, opened in 2005. Today the number of cruises from New York on offer is more than 250 each year.
New York City has 2 cruise ports, the Mathattan Cruise Terminal beside the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan Island, and 6 miles to the south Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on the eastern side of Upper Bay on the Red Hook coastline of Brooklyn. Also nearby is Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal, on the west coastline of Upper Bay, at Bayonne in New Jersey. (Apologies to New Jersey residents for annexing Bayonne Terminal to New York!)
Manhattan Cruise Terminal
The Manhattan Cruise Terminal is situated between West 44th and West 52nd streets on the Hudson River shoreline of Manhattan Island. The cruise terminal has three piers, 88, 90 and 92. A terminal building sits atop each pier. The facilities at the terminal include check-ins, customs and immigration, seating areas, VIP areas, restrooms, snack-bars and newsstands. All three of the cruise terminals have a car parking lot on their roofs.
Piers 88, 90 and 92 offer a total of 5 cruise ship berths.
Manhattan Cruise Terminal is mainly used by Holland America, Carnival and NCL cruise ships.
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
Situated across from Governors Island in Red Hook, the Brooklyn cruise terminal is a new facility on pier 12. Thanks to its previous use as a goods port, the terminal surroundings have a very industrial looking feel. The terminal contains check-ins, customs and immigration, food vending machines, and restrooms. There is an adjacent parking area able of holding 500 cars.
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal has 1 cruise ship berth, pier 12.
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is mainly used by Cunard and Princess Cruises ships.
Bayonne Cruise Terminal
Cape Liberty cruise terminal is located on a peninsula in the Upper Bay of New York Harbor, formerly the site of a Navy base. The first cruise terminal was opened in 2004. The terminal is a long narrow tent structure with check-in desks, customs and immigration, a snack-bar and restrooms. Parking is available on-site.
In 2014 Royal Caribbean and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey opened a second cruise terminal at Bayonne. The building is a modern state-of-the-art facility, with a large space for check-in, customs and immigration, and luggage processing. A car park for 950 cars sits adjacent to the terminal.
Just past the terminals is the 9/11 Tear Drop Memorial, which many will wish to visit.
The terminal has 1 cruise ship berth.
Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal is home to Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean ships.
Cruises From New York
Popular all-year cruises from New York include the Bahamas (Nassau and Freeport), and the Caribbean (Antigua, St Kitts, Dominican Republic and St Maarten). This far south you’ll escape the chilly New York winter, as you voyage into warmer weather.
During the summer, cruises to Bermuda generally stay two days, so passengers can savor the exciting nightlife. Also available in summer are northward-bound cruises along the eastern coastline of New England and Nova Scotia, with charming and historic ports-of-call.
Another idea during summer and fall is the classic transatlantic cruise to Europe.
Things To Do Near Manhattan Cruise Port
Empire State Building
Manhattan's famed Empire State Building rises over a quarter of a mile above the center of the city. Ride the lift to the Observatory and wander around the airy promenade, 1050ft above the city’s bustling streets.
In the center of Manhattan island sits iconic Central Park, a huge landscaped park conceived and built in 1857. Highlights would include the Botanical Gardens, Belvedere Castle, the Great Lawn, the Bethesda fountain and the Zoo.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
This famous museum, founded in 1870, has a vast array of artworks from all around the world.
See Vermeer’s Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, Rembrandt’s Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses and the medieval tapestry The Unicorn in Captivity. The museum is located on the edge of Central Park between East 81st and 82nd streets.
Brooklyn Cruise Port Things To Do
The area around the terminal building is very industrial, so a cab or coach ride is needed to get to the nearby sights.
Spanning nearly 1600ft across the East River, Brooklyn Bridge, when completed in the late 19th century, was hailed as an amazing feat of engineering. There is a walkway the length of the bridge, which can be reached at Tillary/Adams streets or by a staircase on Prospect St between Cadman Plaza East and West. As you walk across the bridge you will be treated to marvelous views across Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Upper Bay .
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Botanic Garden grew out of an ash dump in the later years of 1800s, when the New York State administration allocated 39 acres for a garden. Wander around the Aquatic House, the Tropical Pavilion, the Desert Pavilion and the Bonsai Museum. Also in the garden are a garden store, a café and a gift shop.
Bayonne Cruise Port Things To Do
Again the area around the terminal building is very industrial, so a cab or coach ride is needed to get to the nearby sights.
Liberty State Park
The waterfront area that is now enjoyable Liberty State Park used to be a busy transportation center. At the park’s northern side stands the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, where immigrants, after having being through Ellis Island, would catch a train to venture out to their final destination. A two-mile waterfront path offers visitors a panoramic view of the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. A all year round ferry service is available from Liberty State Park to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Statue of Liberty
For the immigrants that flocked from Western Europe to the US, the Statue of Liberty was the first glimpse they had of the United States. A gift from the French people, the sculpture, originally entitled Liberty Enlightening the World, was fabricated in Paris, and completed in 1894. It was then taken apart and transported to New York where it was rebuilt on Bedloe's Island to be at last inaugurated in 1886. Tickets to the base area may be booked or bought at the site. Tickets to the stairway and crown have to be booked, as access is restricted to only 240 visitors per day.
Traveling to New York's Ports
If you've booked one of the many super cruises from New York, you've a wide range of travel options to reach your cruise terminal. But make sure you know which cruise terminal your ship departs from!
LaGuardia Airport is the closest to the Manhattan cruise terminal, at a distance of around 7 miles. Newark International and John F. Kennedy airports are a little further away, at around 9 miles. Cabs are available from all three airports. Some cruise lines organize a bus transfer.
Car access to the terminal is from the north at the junction of 12th Avenue and 55th Street. Parking is available at each of the three cruise terminals.
From the North
Travel south on the Highway 9A, exit to the right at 55th Street.
From the East
Travel through the Holland Tunnel, follow the directions for Route 9A. On reaching the waterfront turn right onto 9A. Carry on for 1 mile then follow the sign for the Ship Terminal.
From the West
On exiting the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, drive west by 34th Street to reach 12th Avenue. Head right and continue north to the ship port.
Penn Station and Grand Central Station are the nearest stations to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. Cabs are on hand at both. Alternatively take the subway to Columbus Circle, and walk from there to the cruise terminal.
LaGuardia is the nearest airport to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, at a distance of about 9 miles. John F K and Newark Liberty are only slightly further away. Taxis are readily available at each airport. Some cruise lines lay on a shuttle coach.
Vehicles access the cruise ship terminal at the junction of Imlay Street and Bowne Street.
From the North
Drive through the Battery Tunnel, I478 into Brooklyn. Leave at Exit 26 into Hamilton Avenue. Make a U-turn at the junction of Hamilton Avenue and Clinton Street, then return along westbound Hamilton Avenue. Turn leftwards at Van Brunt Street, and after 2 blocks, make a right onto Bowne Street to reach the terminal.
From the South
Drive across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Keep on Interstate 278 in the direction of Brooklyn. Exit at Exit 26, Hamilton Avenue. Continue along Hamilton Ave to the end, make a left turn onto Van Brunt and travel 200 yards to make a right onto Bowne Street to enter the cruise terminal.
Grand Central Station and Penn Station are the nearest stations from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. Taxis are available at both.
Newark Liberty Airport is the best airport to reach Bayonne cruise port at a distance of about 5 miles. John F. Kennedy and La Guardia are both about 25 miles away. Cabs are readily available at each airport. Often cruise lines arrange a shuttle bus transfer.
From the North/East
Leave the NJ Turnpike, Interstate 78, at Exit 14A. Head onto 440 South. Continue for a mile, then make a left into Cape Liberty Terminal Blvd.
From the South/West
Turn onto 440 heading north. Drive across Bayonne Bridge and continue on 440. Make a right into into Cape Liberty Terminal Boulevard.
The best-located train station is the HBLR station at 34th street. Catch a taxi onward to the cruise terminal. Be warned that no public transport goes to the cruise terminal itself, and pedestrians are prohibited from the cruise terminal.Cruise Port Map
(click on image for larger image)
Cruise Port Location(s)
@ googlemaps.com Manhattan Cruise Terminal
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
Cape Liberty Cruise Port
Port of New York and New Jersey
Port of New York and New Jersey
Current Marine Traffic
@ marinetraffic.com New York City Marine Traffic
Anything you'd like to say about New York City as a cruise port?