I went into the city yesterday to see the New Freedom of the Seas (amazing) and also saw the Dawn. After checking out a lot of things I hope the following information is helpful for people wanting to stay in New Jersey and park long term cheaper than the docks.
Sheraton Suites on the Hudson (Lincoln Harbor)
500 Harbor Boulevard, Weehawken, New Jersey 07087
You can see your ship from this hotel. There is ample free parking at the hotel. Next door you will find Ruth Chris Steakhouse, Houlihans, a CVS pharmacy, and other handy stores. The Chart House which is super nice and a little pricey is two blocks away with spectacular views. The Chart House is an excellent place to watch the ships leave port on the Jersey side. On the NY side the new ferry terminal is the next best place to view ships leaving. (Which I did to watch the Freedom of the Seas leave and then from NJ I watched the Dawn depart).
This hotel is a good base if you plan to go in the Manhattan area 34th to 42nd street, Times Square etc. huttle buses (numbers 156, 158 & 159) across the road run about every 10 minutes and get you to Port Authority in NY in 15 minutes for $2.30. They stop running at midnight. There is also a light rail station that takes you to Hoboken where you can take the Path Train into the World Trade Center.
There is a ferry right in front of the hotel that runs weekdays, for a $5.75 for the ferry (if bought at the hotel or at the main terminal it costs $5.25) and departs every 20 minutes, with the last direct ferry departing Manhattan at 11:00 p.m. The hotel operates a courtesy bus but you must remember to call them on the return journey to tell them what ferry you are on so they are there to pick you up.
The other option is Port Imperial Ferry in Weehawken for $6.50, www.nywaterway.com
ferry (5 minutes from the hotel by shuttle ride).
TIP: If you are driving in, and would rather stay in Manhattan, park long term at the ferry ($9 per day - I just called the terminal) and take it over to the docks for your trip (it is outdoor parking).
NY Waterway's red, white, and blue buses are NY landmarks which will deliver you directly to the West 38th Street ferry terminal from locations all over Manhattan: 57th Street, 49th Street, 42nd Street, 34th Street, plus uptown and downtown (hold onto your ferry stub).
The buses stop at all NY city bus stops along these routes. Just wave down our bus (like hailing a cab) and hop on to reach our cruises. Remember - it's free! For route information, call 1-800-533-3779 or check out all the info provided on their website.