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Cruises to New York (Brooklyn, Red Hook)

New York (Brooklyn, Red Hook) (Photo:IM_photo/Shutterstock)
New York (Brooklyn, Red Hook) (Photo:IM_photo/Shutterstock)

About New York (Brooklyn, Red Hook)

Both Cunard and Princess Cruises regularly turn ships around in Red Hook, Brooklyn, on the Buttermilk Channel, which separates Brooklyn from Governor's Island. Red Hook is a neighborhood in South Brooklyn, named for the red clay soil and the point of land projecting into the East River. Though it may not look like much now to the discerning traveler, Red Hook is the definition of "up and coming" -- high-end condos are being built, IKEA has arrived, and the Beard Street Pier walkway has potential to be a major waterfront attraction with postcard-perfect views of the New York Bay and Statue of Liberty.

The allure of sightseeing amid the skyscrapers of Manhattan is strong, particularly for first-timers, and the Red Hook port is close enough for cruisers to take advantage of all the Big Apple has to offer (for more info, read our New York port profile. But, don't pooh-pooh the idea of kicking around Brooklyn before or after your cruise.

While Brooklyn may seem, at first glance, to be a lot like Manhattan -- with heavy traffic, sizzling nightlife and diverse people, cultures and cuisines -- it is a destination in itself. With 2.5 million inhabitants, it is the largest New York City borough in terms of population; if it were its own city, it would be the fourth-largest in the United States. And, it has its own personal identity. You'll find residential areas of brownstones and corner stores, trendy streets packed with bars and clubs, and a bustling downtown area where women in business suits and pumps walk alongside hipster artists in jeans and sneakers.

Indeed, Brooklyn is defined by its diversity: African-American history is prevalent in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park boasts its own Chinatown, and in Flatbush, you'll feel like you are in the islands, mon. (Brooklyn boasts the largest Caribbean population outside of the actual Caribbean.) Even if you don't have time to visit a variety of Brooklyn's neighborhoods, you can take in this cultural dissonance simply by strolling along Smith Street. Known as Brooklyn's "restaurant row," Smith Street is lined with funky shops and ethnic eateries, with options for all budgets and tastes -- French, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Asian....

In the words of one Brooklyn resident, "Sure, you can take a subway into Manhattan for the night, but why would you want to?"

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Why go to New York (Brooklyn, Red Hook)?

Pros:

If you explore the neighborhood, it's a melting pot of eccentric eateries and hipster hangouts

Cons:

It's a bit convoluted to get to the actual port; book a shuttle with your cruise line

Bottom Line:

Red Hook has a ton to offer an explorer with time to dig in; otherwise, sail-away is the star

New York (Brooklyn, Red Hook) Cruise Port Facilities?

The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is near a commercial strip, which is located along Van Brunt Street, three blocks from the terminal via a pedestrian gate. The B61 bus operates along the street to downtown Brooklyn. The terminal has vending machines, telephones and bathrooms.

Cobblestones peek through on Columbia and Van Brunt Streets, the two main thoroughfares. The neighborhood features an eclectic mix of shops, galleries, bars and restaurants, though at this point in time, few major points of interests are within walking distance of the pier. One of the more interesting foodie events in the region is also right in the neighborhood: In the summertime, usually from June through September, the Red Hook Ball Fields (at Clinton Street and Bay Street) are a magnet for foodies from around the New York City area. Join the crowds to sample Latin and South American cuisine, which you purchase from food trucks and eat at picnic tables. On a sunny day, it's the place to be in Brooklyn.

Good to Know?

Red Hook is not as centrally located as the Manhattan cruise ship terminal, so you'll want to spend the money on a car service, rather than taking public transportation, in order to see the key sites of NYC in a compressed amount of time. While there are increasingly nice hotels in Brooklyn, first time visitors to New York City will want to overnight in Manhattan before or after their cruises in order to be close to museums and historic sites. Passengers who are just docking there for the day should consider cruise-sponsored shore excursions that drive to the key attractions.

Getting Around?

Red Hook may not be the most central location in Brooklyn, but you still have plenty of options for getting around. The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is accessible by taxi or private limousine service, as well as by car and bus.

If you're driving, follow signs from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel or the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to the cruise ship terminal. There is ample parking at the terminal (see above).

For local travelers who don't wish to drive to reach the port, Cruise Shuttle Express provides transportation to Brooklyn's cruise terminal for passengers from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Cost varies depending on pick-up location.

While in port, taking a taxi or car service is your best bet; Red Hook lacks a subway line and is separated from neighboring Cobble Hill by a major highway. A ride from the pier to the downtown area of Brooklyn should be just less than $10. Consider calling Arecibo, a popular Brooklyn Car Service, at 718-783-6465.

If you wish to take a bus, you can catch the B61 at Van Brunt Street and Seabring Street, heading toward downtown. The cost is $2.25, and you can use the bus to get to subways that will carry you into Manhattan and throughout Brooklyn. Go to hopstop.com for directions, maps and times.

The NY Water Taxi also connects Red Hook to Brooklyn Heights, Wall Street and Midtown Manhattan, but the service is limited to certain times of the year, and the pier is a hike from the cruise terminal, particularly for passengers with luggage.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the U.S. dollar. International visitors will find it easy to access cash at numerous ATM machines. Exchange bureaus so common in Europe are not in the U.S., but major banks do provide exchange services. Banks are generally open from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., but many are open later and have Saturday-morning hours. For current exchange rates, visit XE.com.

Language?

Language It's English. If you're hoping to hear the stereotypical Brooklyn accent, you may be out of luck, since so many people living in Brooklyn these days are transplants from elsewhere.

Where You're Docked?

Brooklyn Cruise Port Address:
72 Bowne St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

The passenger ship terminal is located in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, opposite Governor's Island on the Buttermilk Channel. From your ship, you'll be able to see Manhattan, Staten Island, Lady Liberty and even Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Parking is available at a rate of $23 for the first day and $20 for each additional day. You do not need to make a reservation for parking. The facility features pay-on-foot machines: When you return from your cruise, pay with cash or credit card at one of the machines. Porters are available to help you with your luggage. You can get additional information at nycruise.com.


New York (Brooklyn, Red Hook) Cruise Reviews

Norwegian Jade
Alandiben
Sail Date: Apr 2019
Pain to travel to Brooklyn from Jersey easier at Manhattan terminal.... Read More
Carnival Sunrise
Casino Player
Sail Date: Oct 2019
We got to the ship by private car service. We got dropped off, checked in luggage, then processed to board the ship.... Read More
Carnival Sunrise
foilman2002
Sail Date: Sep 2019
This is the point of embarkation so no sightseeing. A little tricky to actually get to, but the embarkation process was very smooth and quck.... Read More
Carnival Sunrise
musicleader
Sail Date: Sep 2019
This was our embarktion port, very different to Baltimore,... Read More
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