Originally Posted by brentmeister
1. What is the best time to disembark? First/Last off? 2. Are baggage claims/Customs similar to airport control? What can I expect? 3. On clearing Customs what is the best mode of transport to downtown Manhattan?
Quite honestly, arrival at Brooklyn was a disaster.
I would personally relax and disembark as late as possible. That doesn't work if you are catching a flight or have other time constraints. We were spending four days in New York and didn't want to arrive at a hotel at 8 am anyway -- in fact, our first commitment that day was a 2 pm show.
So we relaxed as long as possible and got off when we felt we were ready -- but I would delay another hour or two if possible.
But here's the thing, David. The problem was not baggage claim or customs.
Baggage claim is a long line of bags, sorted by bag tag color, among which you get to search for your bags. That's not really a problem. Nor is immigration or customs. We just walked through.
The problem was transportation. New York built the Brooklyn terminal for QM2 and then seems to have forgotten it was there. The line for cabs was about five hundred people long (no, I'm not kidding).
It was not a good end to a great trip.
Fortunately I'm used to doing business in New York and know how to get a black car -- fast. We were out of there within half an hour, which was a miracle. Traffic was a disaster and two car companies didn't have cars available at that time of the day, but I lucked out with a third company.
That said, I would
1.) take my time in disembarking, and make sure I'm relaxed when I leave the ship and not worried about the impending hour or two;
2.) book ground transportation in advance through Cunard (by the way, this might necessitate getting off early -- do it anyway, Cunard will treat you right and their transportation was at least there!). They offered coach service to Manhattan hotels; if that doesn't work for you book with 777 or Deborah's or another Manhattan car service;
3.) stay away from other people as much as possible, because they're getting hot under the collar and I want to maintain my serenity!
Good luck... after it all, it will be worth it!