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New York Cruise Port Guide

New York cruises offer a taste of the iconic metropolis, where it’s easy to jam-pack your day in port with activities and sightseeing. Immortalized in TV, film, and popular culture, New York City has a mythical, magical reputation that attracts millions of visitors every year. The key to visiting New York while on transatlantic cruises is to be strategic in planning your trip. 

The New York state of mind is busy, bright, and plenty of fun. Head to the top of the Empire State Building for an unbeatable photo op or take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Admire the Statue of Liberty and the hundreds of years of history everywhere you turn. The city’s loud, kinetic energy will sweep you up and maybe even make you a little dizzy in the midst of Times Square or as you enjoy a Broadway show. New York cruises aren’t complete without a New York slice, a cold beer, and a rooftop view. 

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Top Sights & Attractions for Cruises to New York

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building has been memorialized in movies and TV for decades, and a trip to the top is something you should experience for yourself at least once. Made up of 102 floors and coming in at over 1,200 feet tall, the observation deck offers an unbeatable view of the Manhattan skyline.

Ellis Island

Take a day trip to Ellis Island to discover the history of immigration in America during pivotal points in U.S. history. Spend the afternoon looking at historic immigration materials in the museum and learning about how the United States opened its doors to the world.

Brooklyn Bridge

Built in the late 1800s to connect Brooklyn and Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge is a marvel of human achievement and an architectural delight. A walk or ride over the Brooklyn Bridge, whether you’re in a taxi or on your own two feet, is pretty spectacular.

Times Square

It wouldn’t be a trip to NYC without a stop at the overwhelming, world-famous Times Square, a stretch of several blocks of bright, flashing billboards and crowds clamoring for neon photos.

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Top Things to Do in New York

Walk in Central Park

Central Park is one of the largest parks in a metropolitan area. Comprised of over a mile of green space and walking trails, it offers a killer view of lower Manhattan from certain vistas. When you’re craving some time in nature in the middle of this loud, humming city, head to Central Park for a walk, a picnic, or just to people-watch.

See the Statue of Liberty

Lady Liberty stands a watchful guard over New York City, and she makes for a great photo op, too. Hop on a ferry to get up close and personal. During NYC cruises, be sure to book your ticket in advance to skip the long lines and crowds. It’s one of New York’s biggest attractions for first-time visitors.

Go to a Broadway Show

Theater lovers will plan an entire trip to New York around a single Broadway musical or play. If you can snag tickets, you’ll be front and center to some of the biggest performers and talents in the world, whether you’re seeing an established, multi-run show or something artsy off-Broadway.

Pay Respects at the 9/11 Memorial

Built to honor the lives lost as a result of the tragic attacks on September 11, 2001, the 9/11 Memorial is a harrowing must-see experience during a trip to New York. It relays the significance of the terrorist attacks not only on the New York community, but the United States as a whole.

Top Food and Drink Spots Near the New York Cruise Port

New York offers nearly every type of cuisine in the world, whether you’re craving an authentic New York slice of pizza or prefer to stop at one of the halal food trucks scattered throughout Manhattan. There are dozens of restaurants along every block. Famous spots include Peter Luger Steakhouse in Williamsburg, Katz Delicatessen, Gramercy Tavern, and Grand Central Oyster Bar.

Culture & History of the New York Cruise Port

Native American groups have lived in the area now known as New York for thousands of years, and European settlement of the area didn’t begin until the 15th century. In the 1600s, the Dutch West India Company began a colony called “New Amsterdam” and expanded their living quarters into what we know now as Manhattan. The local population boomed, and the New Amsterdam area became known as a trade hub between the Dutch, Europeans, and the New World. By the mid-1600s, the British took control and kept it until after the Revolutionary War. During the 19th century, the melting pot of New York that the city is now famous for began to take shape as Ellis Island welcomed millions of immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany. All sorts of ethnic and faith backgrounds settled throughout the five boroughs. Today, New York symbolizes the promise of an America with open arms for all types of citizens, and New York’s food, attractions, and cultural institutions celebrate that diversity. 

New York Port Facilities & Location

The Manhattan cruise terminal is located on the Western side of Manhattan in Hell’s Kitchen, though it’s not located particularly close to a subway line. When you arrive, your best bet will be to walk to the nearest subway station, Columbus Circle. Remember to wear comfortable shoes in the city. You’ll have a city view and a view of the Hudson River when you arrive, which makes the experience extra photogenic.

Transportation in New York City

The options for getting around the five boroughs are plentiful, and New York has one of the most comprehensive public transit systems in the U.S. On NYC cruises, you’ll likely grab a Metrocard and use the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) subway system to get around. The subway operates 24/7 in New York, unless there’s specified track work on a line underground. If you’ve decided to stick to landmarks in a particular neighborhood, you’ll be able to get around on foot. The city’s famous yellow taxis are plentiful, and Uber and Lyft also operate here.

Shopping Near the New York Cruise Port

For a glimpse of New York’s famous shopping scene, it’s better to find a nearby subway station and hop over to Fifth Avenue and along Madison Avenue than to stick around the port where New York cruises dock. The windows at Macy’s and Bloomingdales attract thousands of eyes during the holiday season, and Manhattan is home to every luxury brand under the sun, from Chanel to Gucci and beyond. Soho boasts many of the biggest names in fashion, retail, and luxury. Of course, souvenir shacks with memorabilia of the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and the Chrysler Building aren’t hard to find.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

The U.S. Dollar (USD) is the official currency of NYC, and you’ll find ATMs are widespread. On New York cruises, most major credit cards are accepted as well, but it’s helpful to carry cash with you when you shop at bodegas. Many bars have a minimum purchase amount for credit or debit card use.

 

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New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the country's largest city since 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is a globally recognized symbol of the United States and its democracy.


Tip from Travel + Leisure

 

Miyake

At Miyake, in downtown Portland, chef-owner Masa Miyake serves some of the best sushi along the Atlantic. His menu focuses on local catches—sweet Maine shrimp and sea-urchin roe harvested just up the coast. And yes, there is lobster, prepared in incredibly imaginative ways.

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