After being closed for days following Hurricane Sandy's assault on the Northeast, Manhattan welcomed back its first ships this morning. Norwegian Gem, based year-round in Manhattan, and Caribbean Princess, a temporary transplant from its still-shuttered Brooklyn homeport, offloaded passengers. Both are now embarking guests for their next scheduled cruises. (Brooklyn is expected to remain closed until the weekend.)
According to a statement from NYCruise, which manages the two city ports, Brooklyn's parking lot experienced "significant flooding due to the hurricane. All cars in the parking lot show signs of water damage incurred during the storm.
"When car owners return to retrieve vehicles, the Port Authority is recommending that all vehicles be towed out of the lot," NYCruise's statement added. "Attempting to start the vehicles will risk starting a fire, and owners will not be permitted to attempt to jump start the vehicle due to the risk of fire. The Port Authority Police will be present to provide a police report of the damage at the time of pickup. To retrieve a vehicle, either the registered owner or a tow company with a notarized letter from the registered owner must be present."
Cruise Critic is attempting to get a clearer picture of the damage to cars parked at or near the port of Manhattan (as a Cruise Critic reader correctly pointed out, the port parking lot is elevated). Several cruise ships, including Norwegian Jewel (Nov. 4) and Carnival Miracle (Nov. 6), are scheduled to end cruises in the port over the next few days.
We've reached out by phone to the Port Authority of NY & NJ for additional information.
Across the river in New Jersey, reports indicate that Cape Liberty's parking lot also suffered serious damage. Royal Caribbean passengers currently on Explorer of the Seas October 28 cruise are expected to return to the port Sunday when the ship concludes a Bermuda cruise. Brilliance of the Seas pulled into Cape Liberty earlier today, concluding a Canada cruise that began October 22 in Quebec.
Cruise Critic reader concernedmom, whose son is on Explorer of the Seas, was told by a staffer at Central Parking, Cape Liberty's lot, that there was "significant" damage to cars. "They will have extra attendants and the manager available when the cruise ships return to port."
Still, Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez tells Cruise Critic that "guests driving to the port [for upcoming cruises'] have no problem parking in the lot."
Concernedmom, who said she'll be picking up her son Sunday, offered some additional advice to those in the same position: "You should be prepared because there is no power, which means no gasoline. Bottom line, if you can get someone to help you get home, they should come prepared. Also, if you need to leave your car there, you may need garbage bags to remove personal items, which may be wet. Water and some granola bars as you may be there a while. Remember, it is only a car. People in that area lost their homes, some their jobs, and some their lives. Take care and be safe."
--by Dan Askin, Senior Editor