If you live in the New York area, you are lucky to live within driving distance of several cruise terminals. I’ve been on over a dozen cruises and many were cruises out of New York. I like cruising out of New York because it is an easy way to vacation. However, there are pros and cons of cruising from New York but taken as a whole, I’d say the pros outweigh the cons. Here are the pros and cons of cruising from New York.
The Pros of Cruising from New York
Your Vacation Starts Now
One of the main reasons why I love to cruise from New York is that it is a convenient way to vacation especially if you are traveling with kids. Your vacation starts the moment you get on the ship. There is no waiting 2 hours at the airport and no transfer from the airport. All you have to do is get past check-in at the cruise terminal and voila- your vacation starts! Once you are on the ship, you can get lunch, start exploring the ship and relax by the pool.
Boarding Tip: I suggest boarding early. Some cruise lines ask you to reserve a check-in time, I suggest picking an earlier time slot. That way after you board, you can get in and have lunch there. If you board late, you should eat prior to boarding because many of the eateries close down mid-afternoon.
Packing Tip: After you board, your check-in luggage will not be delivered to your room until later in the afternoon. It’s a good idea to pack an overnight bag with essentials that you carry on board. This is especially important when traveling with kids. I usually pack a change of clothes, bathing suits, flip flops, toys/devices, toiletries, snacks, and medication.
Parking is easy
Parking is easy at the cruise terminals. The parking lots are located adjacent to the cruise terminal. This makes it easy logistically. I suggest dropping off all the passengers and luggage first. Then have the designated driver park and meet you at the terminal. Parking at Cape Liberty Cruise terminals is $22/day, Manhattan Cruise Terminal parking is $40/day and Brooklyn Cruise terminal is $25/day.
Tip: Depending on where you live and how long your cruise is, it may be more economical to take an Uber than to park.
You don’t need to take the plane
This is one of the main reasons I love cruising out of New York. Especially if I’m traveling with kids. The one hour drive to the cruise terminal sure beats the plane ride out of JFK or Newark. Just think of the time you save- no more going to the airport 2 hours prior to boarding!
Tip: Often times, it is more economical to cruise out of New York because you save on plane tickets and you save on the transfer. Plus you may also save on hotel expenses if you have to fly in the day before.
You can bring everything you need
One of the best things about cruising from New York is that you can pack to your heart’s content! Go ahead- bring the floaties, bring your snorkel gear, bring your golf bag, pack those shoes, let your kids bring all the toys they want! The only caveat is that they all need to fit in your car and your stateroom. One thing to note is that you are not allowed to bring wine or liquor on board the ship, if you do, they will confiscate it and give it back to you at the end of the cruise.
Packing tip: Bring insulated water bottles. I always fill our water bottles with ice and water and bring it to our stateroom in case anyone gets thirsty in the middle of the night.
Lots of Cruise Lines to Choose From
Lucky for us, there are many types of itineraries to choose from when cruising from New York. You can go up north to Canada and New England, you can head across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or you can cruise south to sunny Caribbean. Almost all the major cruise lines depart from New York. You have your pick of premium cruise lines like Viking, Seven Seas, Regent, Oceania or family-friendly cruise lines like Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruise, Royal Caribbean.
Easy way to travel with a big group
If you are traveling with friends, grandparents, in-laws or another family. Cruising is an easy way to travel. What I love about it is that your meals and activities are set. You can go your own ways during the day and meet up for dinner. And there is something for everyone. Most cruise lines have kids programs and entertainment- even for teenagers. For adults, there are so many activities to choose from- spa, gym, shopping, casino, pool and activities planned by the cruise director. Plus many of the newer ships have impressive facilities such as ropes course, water slides, bumper cars, mini-golf, trapeze school, Indoor skydiving, etc.
The Cons of Cruising from New York
Many Days at Sea
Most cruise itineraries out of New York have a lot of sea days. That is because you have to incorporate the time needed to get to your destination and back. Spending your days at sea may or may not be a bad thing. It really depends on whether or not you enjoy sea days. When traveling with kids, I personally like sea days. They are easy days where I check the kids into the kids club and use those sea days to leisurely explore the ship, join a few activities or just lounge around. I like not having to think about meals and to just show up at the restaurants to eat. The downside of sea days from New York is that if you travel during the colder months, you really can’t use the outdoor pool because you start hitting colder temperature as you sail closer to New York.
I went through a period of time where I avoided cruises from New York because seasickness was a deal breaker for me until I learned to manage it. My experience with cruising on the Atlantic Ocean is that without a doubt, you will hit choppy waters. The water is much worse than sailing the Caribbean Sea or the Mediterranean Sea. I’ve found that cruising North to New England and Canada is much worse than cruising South to the Caribbean. However, believe it or not, seasickness is actually easy to manage. Years of cruising out of New York and talking to crew members has taught me how to deal with my seasickness. The trick is to know when you are sailing the Atlantic Ocean and to take anti-seasick medication on those days. The ship will provide complimentary medication but I always bring my own because sometimes they run out! Also, if you are traveling with kids you should bring Dramamine for Kids. My 9-year-old was seasick on our recent Bahamas cruise out of New York and the chewable Dramamine worked like magic. Another trick is to always keep something in your stomach the entire length of your vacation- whether or not you are sailing the Atlantic Ocean. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way and you don’t want to get yourself into a bad situation where you are too sick to eat. Avoid the downward spiral by drinking plenty of water, eating big meals and snacking a lot. I find carb-heavy food most effective so it’s really a great excuse to eat during your vacation! Skip the salad and go for the pasta!
Tip: The newer and bigger cruise ships often have state of the art stabilizers. I only cruise on these big, new ships when I cruise out of New York because they are more stable and less rocky in the Atlantic Ocean.
Booking Tip: If you are prone to seasickness, you should book staterooms located mid-ship, lower deck with balcony. I like balcony rooms because you can open the door and get fresh air. The lower deck and mid-ship rooms are less rocky.
As an Amazon Associate, Suburbs 101 earns from qualifying purchases.
You may also be interested in:
About Suburbs 101
Suburbs 101 is an online lifestyle guide for the New York Suburbs of Westchester County, Long Island, Fairfield County and Northern New Jersey. Get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to live in the New York suburbs through our weekly interviews with local suburbanites and features on Food, Fashion, Home, Travel, and Local Events. Be sure to Follow Us on Instagram, Like Us on Facebook and subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter.