I have a small group of family/friends also doing a pre cruise stay this Sept. We found pretty decent rates at the Hotel Beacon It is upper West but right near the subway. It is really great if you can share a 2 bedroom suite with 5-6 people.
As for transfers, I found Black Cars email firstname.lastname@example.org
at a flat rate of $85. for up to 5 persons to transfer from Newark to the hotel in Manhattan..
If you need more info feel free to eme
rdonte @ cox . net