New Yorkers have it easy: When they want to head out on vacation, they have access to three major airports. But did you know that three important cruise terminals also call this area home? If you live in the tri-state area, consider cruising out of Manhattan Terminal, Brooklyn Terminal, or Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey. Here are six fantastic cruises that embark from (or close to) the Big Apple.
1. BOOK A TRANSATLANTIC VOYAGE
New York has a long tradition of being homeport to many illustrious cruise liners like Cunard’s flagship, Queen Mary 2. Transatlantic voyages are beloved by travelers who enjoy the ship experience more than ports of call. QM2’s seven-night Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing embarks from Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and spends six days at sea before docking in Southampton in the United Kingdom. So how do people keep themselves busy for six days at sea? Queen Mary 2 is a veritable city at sea with a world-class Canyon Ranch Spa, a planetarium, 3D cinema, and theater for Broadway-style shows. Onboard activities range from the casino to a golf simulator to acting workshops to enrichment lectures from leaders in the fields of art, science, and history. Dining aboard QM2 is an art unto itself, and travelers make time for indulgent afternoon tea and evening meals at Todd English Restaurant or in the main dining rooms of the Queens Grill, Princess Grill, and Britannia class. Queen Mary 2 celebrates her 10th anniversary in 2014; book passage from New York on the May 16 voyage and take part in the official onboard celebration. Later in the year, musician James Taylor and his band will perform throughout QM2’s August 27 eastbound crossing.
Dates: May 16; June 13; July 6 and 28; August 27; September 27; October 28; November 19.
Cruise Fares: From $999 per person.
2. CRUISE TO BERMUDA
Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey should be on your radar if you live in the tri-state area. It’s easy to get to the port and there is parking, so your car will be waiting for you when you return from your cruise. The Celebrity Summit from Celebrity Cruises is just one ship that sails out of Cape Liberty. Join a seven-night Bermuda voyage that departs Bayonne, spends two days at sea followed by days at Kings Wharf in Bermuda. Your seventh night is at sea before returning to New Jersey. There’s a ton to keep you busy aboard Celebrity Summit, plus the cruise line offers some fun excursions—like a dolphin encounter and a glass-bottom-boat cruise—when you get to Bermuda.
Dates: May 4, 11, 18, and 25; June 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29; July 6, 13, 20, and 27; August 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31.
Cruise Fares: From $554 per person.
3. SEVEN-DAY BAHAMAS & FLORIDA BREAK
This itinerary on Norwegian Breakaway is a perfect family vacation, with three sea days to explore this massive vessel, plus daylong calls on Port Canaveral (for Orlando’s theme parks and area beaches) and, in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau. Accommodating nearly 4,000 passengers, Breakaway is a new and impressive ship. AquaPark—with two pools, four hot tubs, and five multi-story waterslides—is the most popular spot on the ship during the day; in the evenings, everyone flocks to their favorite dining spots. There are 29 unique places to grab a bite, including Ocean Blue from Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, a French Bistro, a churrascaria, noodle bar, and more.
Dates: February 2, 9, 16, and 23; March 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30; April 6, 13, 20, and 27; October 5, 12, 19, and 26; November 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30; December 7, 14, 21, and 28.
Cruise Fares: From $499 per person.
4. EXTENDED EASTERN CARIBBEAN GETAWAY
Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas heads to the Eastern Caribbean out of Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey several times this year. The nine-night voyage includes four sea days and calls on San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Samana, Dominican Republic; and Labadee, Haiti. A 10-night version of the cruise visits the Dominican Republic and St. Thomas along with Philipsburg, St. Maarten and Basseterre, St. Kitts. Cruisers also enjoy five sea days on that itinerary.
Dates: January 31; March 2 and 11.
Cruise Fares: From $929 per person.
5. THE BAHAMAS & EASTERN CARIBBEAN
The Carnival Splendor also sails to the Eastern Caribbean, but it embarks from New York City. There are three eight-night itineraries to consider. Version one is a round-trip out of New York, which calls on Grand Turk as well as Half Moon Cay and Nassau in the Bahamas. A second itinerary visits St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, and St. Maarten. You’ll return home from San Juan. The third option, also a round-trip out of New York, visits Grand Turk, San Juan, and St. Thomas.
Dates: April 10, 18, and 26; May 4, 12, 20, and 28; June 9, 17, and 25; July 7, 15, and 23; August 4, 12, and 20; October 16 and 24.
Cruise Fares: From $509 per person.
6. A LUXURY TOUR OF NEW ENGLAND & CANADA
Luxury line Crystal Cruises sails out of Manhattan twice this year in search of New England and Canadian ports. Here’s a look at the options in 2014: Crystal Symphony departs New York on June 1 for a five-night trip with calls on Newport, Rhode Island; Boston; Bar Harbor, Maine; and Halifax, Nova Scotia. On October 16, sister ship Crystal Serenity embarks Manhattan for a 10-night jaunt to Newport, Boston, Portland and Bar Harbor in Maine plus Nova Scotia’s Halifax and Sydney before disembarking in Quebec City.
Dates: June 1; October 16.
Cruise Fares: From $1,215 per passenger.
Andrea M. Rotondo is a freelance writer based in New York City. She covers cruise news and luxury travel trends for Fodors.com and writes for a variety of outlets, including her website Luxury Travel Mavens. Follow her on Twitter: @luxtravelmavens.