Cruise ships dock at four locations in New York. The most often used one, and recently renovated is the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. It’s located on the Hudson River, only a few blocks away from Manhattan, on the West side o2 12th Avenue, between 48th and 54th street. It’s a mile away from Times Square, 20 min walking distance, or you can take a taxi. There is a bus stop right outside the terminal, and the nearest metro station is 15 min walk, the bus can also take you there. Taxis seems to be the preferred option, however avoid travelling through Manhattan in peak times, traffic can often be at standstill. JFK Airport is 26 miles away, about 50 min by car, depending on traffic, Newark Airport is only 16 miles or 25 minutes away by car, and the La Guardia Airport is 14 miles away or about 35 minutes away by car. The travelling times seem not to respond to the distances, but to get to La Guardia you have to travel through the city and some heavy road traffic areas. Do allow extra time.
The second location where ships dock is at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in the Red Hood area, opposite Governor’s island. There is a magnificent view as the shop approaches to Manhattan, Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty. There doesn’t seem to be a good link with public transportation, with having to walk a few blocks to the nearest bus stop, served by only one bus line. Taxis are preferred option, very well organised and plenty of. Outside of the terminal it’s an easy 5 minute walk to Van Brunt Street, where there are a few restaurants to choose from. JFK International Airport is 25 miles, or 35 minutes away by car, Newark Airport is 16 miles, or 33 minutes away by car and La Guardia Airport is 12 miles or 30 minutes away by car.
There is a third cruise port as well, the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey. You will be rewarded with lovely views here as well. There are public transport links here, but the authorities at the port have banned people from walking into the port, they only allow motor vehicles to enter. So you would have to take a short taxi ride to the port itself. The nearest rail station is just outside of the cruise terminal. Newark Airport is the closest to this terminal, only 10 miles and 25 minutes by car. JFK is 32 miles away, about 1 hour 15 minutes, going through some areas with heavy traffic. La Guardia is similar distance, 34 miles, about 2 hour 20 minutes away by car.
The local currency is the American dollar (USD). All major credit cards are accepted everywhere. There are ATMs everywhere as well and exchanging money is very easy, however the rates at home in UK seem to be better than in the States, so do some research prior to travelling. The best exchange rates are considered to be the ones in the shops near Empire State Building. Although the prices of goods and services may seem low, bear in mind that tax is normally added at the till and it’s 8.875% in New York. It is not added to grocery shopping and to clothing items below 110USD.
Opening hours and bank holidays. As appropriate for a “city that never sleeps” opening hours are very generous. Most delis are open all week, some of them 24/7. The shopping malls are open 10 am to 10 pm, banks and post offices would be open 8 am until 6 pm, and some of them are open until midday Saturday as well. There are a few bank holidays in New York, and the banks and post offices will be closed, however most shopping malls and other outlets will work as normal.
Tipping culture is huge in New York. As a general rule, you should tip any service staff. Many of them are paid low hourly rates and rely heavily on tips. Between 15 and 20% of the bill at a restaurant is considered normal, but beware that some establishments include it in your bill, especially for larger groups. Hotel staff should also be tipped about a dollar per bag for the bellboy and about 2 USD per day for the housekeeper. Taxi drivers and spa saloon staff expects between 10% and 20% of the bill, if the service has been exceptional, feel free to leave more. Bartenders expect about a dollar per drink, more if the place is more upscale, and tour guides anything from 15 to 20%, depending on the length and the size of the group.
The local time in New York is GMT-5 hours and the dialling code is +1 845.
Things To Do
The Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island is an iconic image that greets you when as you enter the Big Apple via Hudson River. The copper statue is a gift from French to American people, designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel and it represents the Roman Goddess of Liberty. It was dedicated in 1886 and is now an international symbol of freedom and democracy.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (or lovingly called The Met from New Yorkers) is the largest museum in the United States, the second most visited art museum in the world and the fifth most visited museum of any kind worldwide. The museum was founded in 1870 and nowadays it is a permanent home to more than 5000 pieces of art. It is open seven days a week, open late Friday and Saturday evenings. We would highly recommend joining one of the guided tours in more than 15 languages that come free with your admission ticket. The museum is very large and there is absolutely no way you can see everything in one visit. The must-sees we recommend are the Temple of Dendur, the Paar room, the space designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Moroccan courtyard, the artwork called ‘Between Heaven and Earth’ by African designer El Anatsui, the first painting by Johannes Vermeer to enter the United States ‘Young Woman with a Water Pitcher’, the Modern art pieces by Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keefe, the ‘Kuoros’ sculpture by Isamu Noguchi, the Velez Blanco Patio and the Astor court.
No trip to New York is completed without going to the Observation desk at Empire State Building. The building is 443.2 metres tall, designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon architects and, once the tallest in the world is now the 28th tallest building in the world. Most people visit not only because of its impressive Art-Deco style or because of the permanent exhibitions showing the engineering and construction of the building, but because of the unparalleled views of New York from the Observation desk. Beware that the queues are always long, unless you go early in the morning, or late at night.
Times Square is also in our list of must-sees not only because it makes an excellent picture spot. It is known as ‘The heart of Manhattan’, ‘The Crossroads of the World’ and many more. It’s one of the world busiest pedestrian areas and one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions. It’s the hub of the Broadway Theatre District and a major New York entertainment centre. The dazzling lights from the abundance of billboards, the colourful costumes of the street artists dressed as Minnie Mouse or the Statue of Liberty, the beggars, the dancers and the masses of picture-taking tourist all contribute to the vibrant urban atmosphere.
There is a lot more we recommend seeing in New York, providing you have the time. From a world-renowned Museum collection – we recommend the American Museum of Natural History, The Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Tenement Museum and the Museum of the city of New York, through to walking along the trendy up and coming neighbourhoods of Williamsburg, St Marks Place and South Street Seaport to the well-known Brooklyn Bridge, World Trade centre, Broadway, Wall Street, Little Italy, China town, Central Park, Madison Square Garden and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. We also recommend visiting the Union Square Market, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, The High Line, Chelsea Market and the Strand bookstore.
All Cruises and Flight details are subject to availability and price variation. Final package price is available upon payment of deposit and confirming your ATOL & ABTA protected cruise holiday