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New York (Brooklyn, Red Hook) (Photo:IM_photo/Shutterstock)
3.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Melissa Paloti
Cruise Critic Contributor

Port of 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.

About New York (Brooklyn, Red Hook)


Pro

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

Con

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


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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?"

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.

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.

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.

Shopping

Take home a Brooklyn Bridge print or postcard. Foodies will want to check out the shelves at Jacques Torres' chocolate shop at 66 Water Street.