We were at the terminal at about 1100. The place was empty. Got the VIP checkin and waited about 20 minutes for the bus.
Now coming back ... that was a different story.
SS Norway (12 times) '85 - '97; Radiance OS 06/01; Island Princess 11/04, Grand Princess 11/04/05, Golden Princess 7/21/06, Golden Princess 2/24/07, Explorer of the Seas 12/23/07, Island Princess 11/15/08
Can anyone tell me if there are hotels near this port which would provide shuttle service to the port? It doesn't appear common here, or at the least, they don't advertise it. I would appreciate comments on good hotels close to the port, as well as other tips for this port, if anyone has any. Also, how hard is it to get into NYC from these areas? I would love to spend the day before my cruise in NYC. Thanks!!! Pam
For a hotel, pick any at Newark Airport (marriott and Hilton I would recomend). Although they do not have a direct shuttle service, you can take a cab. It is maybe a 15 minute ride.
As far as getting into the city, again, a cab from any hotel will take you right in. If you wanted, you can take a train or subway, but a cab will be direct.
In addition, there are 2 hotel's (newer) in Elizabeth (I beleive on is a courtyard) right in the parking lot of a LARGE mall (Jersey Garden's). There is also a restaurant there. It is about the same distance to the port and NYC as the newark hotel's.
Stay around the Newark Airport. If your hotel has a shuttle to the airport you can take the monorail to NJ Transit. Their trains go directly to Penn Station in NYC, which is 8 blocks south of Times Square. Trains run around the clock, you will just need to see which ones stop at the Airport stop.
The ports in Manhatten are used by NCL and Carnival. The port in Brooklyn is used by Cunard and Princess. These only have a couple of docks, so it would make for a very busy Saturday/Sunday when the ships are in. Port Liberty is closest to Newark airport, so it may help with those flying in.
How easy is it with handicapped person in your party when boarding?
My mother is 81 and needs will need a wheelchair to get around.
If driving in, drop her off first and get a wheelchair, along with dropped off luggage -- then park and come back and meet her. An assistant will push the wheelchair. You go through a small (hut) for check-in, then wait for a shuttle which is equipped to take a wheelchair/scooter and others (no main luggage) to the ship -- approx. 1/2 mile. Then small ramp to go up with wheelchair onto ship -- very easy. Debarkation also easy. Shuttle to ship is a MUST -- NO OTHER WAY.
I found it to be one of the smoothest boarding/embarkations of any cruise line, and I've been on 25 cruises! I also parked my car in the lot for the 5 nights and that was the fastest/easiest I've encountered. Hope this helps.
**Oh, one reminder - bring a small carry-on with a bathing suit, lotion, etc. essentials because if you leave your suitcase to be brought to your cabin, it will take HOURS....if it is a nice day and you want to sunbathe, take pictures, make sure you have everything you will need for the few hours with you.
Just got back from Bayonne May 17 Explorer Of The Seas. Very smooth easy boarding. The only probem we had, it was raining really hard when we dropped our luggage off and I asked the guys who pick up the lugguge if he could help me get our suitcases out of my bed of my truck we had 6 women and we were pretty dressed up with our hair done. There was a cover over the bed so you had to slide in to get the ones toward the front of the truck, he did get the ones right there by the end then responded do you have a hook to pull the rest out? Yeah like I carry hooks with me. He was already wet and dirty not a big deal and I tipped him $20.00 not manditory and there are signs everywhere but since he was getting them out of my truck I did it. I told him I didn't have a hook and he said oh well then you have to do it. I had to slide on my stomach in light pants and get dirty and wet not to mention a bad back. I told him I should take his tip back, he was very ignorant. So hope you don't have that problem there rude at the baggage department.
The Explorer embarkation and disembarkation on my first cruise with RCI were both nightmares--it was winter, there was snow, the ship was late going and coming, had to wait four hours after the first PAX disembarked before I could get off, no express walk off, there were fist fights on the dock. My last cruise (just got home two weeks ago) embarkation and disembarkation was smooth as silk--highly recommend Express Walk Off. I think a lot depends on the weather, if the ship is on time, etc.
I stayed at an airport hotel but recommend a towncar service to the port ($45 flat fee, plus tip) as opposed to a cab. On the way to the port for my first cruise the line of traffic was backed up to the light (where you turn in) and it took us 45 minutes to get to where you check in your bags. In a cab it would have been double that amount.