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Guide to cruises from New York

In:
08 Dec 2021

Royal Caribbean offers cruises from the northeast corridor via Cape Liberty, New Jersey that is a convenient option for anyone that wants to cruise from New York and the surrounding area.

Royal Caribbean celebrates largest cruise ship to sail from New York area for the first time | Royal Caribbean Blog

While other cruise lines sail from Manhattan or Brooklyn, New York, Royal Caribbean opted to sail from across New York harbor at Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Royal Caribbean sails year round from Cape Liberty, offering residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania a convenient port that most people can easily drive to and board a ship.

Whether you live in the area, or are looking to fly in for a cruise from the Big Apple, here is what you need to know about cruises from New York.

New Jersey, not New York

Friday Photos - September 27, 2019 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Traditionally, cruise lines would sail from Manhattan, but costs and port restrictions made that option unappealing to Royal Caribbean.

Instead, Royal Caribbean has its own cruise terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey at Cape Liberty.

Located just minutes from Newark International Airport, Cape Liberty is an easy to get to cruise port without the need to deal with New York City traffic or bridges.

At 125,000 square feet, the cruise terminal can handle even the largest Royal Caribbean cruise ships, including the Oasis Class ships.

The terminal is adjacent to a September 11th memorial, known as the Tear Drop Memorial.  Passengers can walk to the memorial from outside the cruise terminal. It is also a great spot to get a photo of your ship.

Despite not departing from New York City, passengers still enjoy a great view of New York harbor, including views of the New York City skyline, the Statute of Liberty, Ellis Island, and an opportunity to sail under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

How to get to Cape Liberty

Depending on if you fly into the area or drive, there are a few ways to get to the cruise terminal.

The address of the Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal is 4 Port Terminal Boulevard Bayonne, N.J. 07002-5038

Flying to New York/New Jersey

Royal Caribbean subsidizing flights from New York to Bermuda for summer 2021 cruises as low as $99 | Royal Caribbean Blog

There are three major airports serving the New York/New Jersey area: Newark (EWR), La Guardia (LGA), and John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airports.

The easiest option is Newark, because it is located just 10 miles to the west of the port. Without traffic, it is a short 20 minute car ride to the cruise port. 

Oasis in Bayonne this morning! - Royal Caribbean News and Rumors - Royal Caribbean Blog

The other New York airports will require a longer commute to the port, as well as additional tolls to cross bridges over to New Jersey. Depending on traffic conditions, the trip can take an hour or longer.

The simplest way to get to the port is by car service. Lyft, Uber, or taxis are all available to take you from any of the airports to the cruise terminal.

Public transportation will only get you part of the way there, and the final segment of the trip will rely on private car. For that reason, I recommend simply booking a ride sharing service or taxi, and going directly to the port.

Driving directions

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

By car, there are a few different ways to get to Cape Liberty, depending on the direction you are coming from.

From Newark International Airport (9 miles):

  • Exit the airport, following signs to the NJ Turnpike.
  • Take the NJ Turnpike to exit 14A.
  • Pay toll at exit and continue straight (after traffic light onto bridge) onto Route 440.
  • Follow signs for Route 440 South.
  • Continue on Route 440 South to Port Terminal Blvd.
  • Turn left at Port Terminal Blvd. (there is a traffic light at the intersection).
  • This is the entrance for the "Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor" or the old "Military Ocean Terminal Bayonne."
  • Continue straight and approach the guard gate.
  • Continue past the guard gate and follow the signs to the cruise terminal.

From NJ Turnpike north or south:

  • Take the NJ Turnpike to exit 14A.
  • Pay toll at exit and continue straight (after traffic light onto bridge) onto Route 440.
  • Follow signs for Route 440 South.
  • Continue on Route 440 South to Port Terminal Blvd.
  • Turn left at Port Terminal Blvd. (there is a traffic light at the intersection).
  • This is the entrance for the "Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor" or the old "Military Ocean Terminal Bayonne."
  • Continue straight and approach the guard gate.
  • Continue past the guard gate and follow the signs to the cruise terminal.

From NYC, via the Lincoln Tunnel:

  • Take the Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey.
  • Follow I-495 West to the NJ Turnpike/I-95.
  • Take the NJ Turnpike south to Exit 14A - Bayonne. Follow directions above from Exit 14A.

From NYC, via the Holland Tunnel:

  • Take the Holland Tunnel to New Jersey.
  • Take the NJ Turnpike west to exit 14A. Follow directions above from Exit 14 A.

From the West, via I-80:

  • Take I-80 East to I-95 South
  • Take the NJ Turnpike south to Exit 14A- Bayonne. Follow directions above from Exit 14A.

From the west, via I-78:

  • Take I-78 East directly to the NJ Turnpike.
  • Take the NJ Turnpike east to Exit 14A- Bayonne. Follow directions above from Exit 14A.

From the east/Staten Island/Long Island:

  • Take the Verrazano Narrows Bridge into Staten Island.
  • Take I-278 West.
  • Take Route 440 North to and over the Bayonne Bridge.
  • Continue on Route 440 North approximately 3 miles.
  • Make a right into the Bayonne Ocean Terminal.
  • Continue straight and approach the guard gate.
  • Continue past the guard gate and follow the signs to the cruise terminal.

From the Bronx/Connecticut/New England:

  • Proceed to and across the George Washington Bridge.
  • Follow signs for the New Jersey Turnpike/I-95 South.
  • Take the NJ Turnpike south to Exit 14A - Bayonne. Follow directions above from Exit 14A.

From Westchester County:

  • Take I-684 South to I-287 West
  • Take I-287 West to I-87 South.
  • Follow signs to and over the George Washington Bridge.
  • Take the NJ Turnpike south to Exit 14A - Bayonne. Follow directions above from Exit 14A.

From Rockland County:

  • Take the Palisades Parkway South to I-80 West.
  • Follow signs for the New Jersey Turnpike/I-95 South.
  • Take the NJ Turnpike south to Exit 14A - Bayonne. Follow directions above from Exit 14A.

Parking

Cape Liberty | Royal Caribbean Blog

There is a parking garage adjacent to the cruise terminal at Cape Liberty to park your vehicle for the duration of the cruise.

Parking fees are $25 per day including all taxes.

Cash and major credit cards are accepted. No reservations are necessary and parking is guaranteed.

The height restriction of the garage is 7’ 4”. There is an open lot adjacent to the parking garage to accommodate vehicles with height restrictions.

Be sure to bring your parking stub with you when boarding the ship, because you’re going to need it when walking to your car after your cruise. You must pay your parking fee at the machine that is outside the garage. There is a walk up kiosk.

Where to stay the night before

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One of the most common questions about taking a cruise from Cape Liberty is where to stay the night before the cruise begins.

It is always a good idea to fly in at least one day before your cruise to avoid travel delays impacting your ability to get on the cruise ship.

If you are going to fly in the night before the cruise and have no interest in doing any tourist attractions before the cruise, consider staying at a hotel near Newark Airport. Be sure the hotel is near Newark Airport, and not the city of Newark, because the quality of hotel and surroundings is substantially different.

Rapid COVID-19 tests now available at New York airports | Royal Caribbean Blog

Jersey City is another option to stay the night before the cruise because it is closer to the cruise port than Manhattan (New York City), but I'm not especially fond of this area for two reasons: A hotel in Jersey City is not going to be much cheaper (if at all) than Manhattan hotels, and if you want to be closer to the port, Newark Airport hotels are much closer.  Moreover, if you plan to do any sightseeing in New York, staying in New Jersey is a real hassle in terms of transportation.

Many cruisers who want to do sightseeing will spend the night in a Manhattan hotel. There are many hotels in New York City. Be sure to book one in Manhattan, and not one of the other boroughs.  Moreover, pick a hotel below 125th street to ensure you are close enough to the landmarks and hot spots tourists like to visit.

Regardless of where you stay, my advice is book refundable hotel fare because New York and New Jersey hotel prices are quite volatile.  Watch the prices and cancel and rebook when a new sale appears.

Hotel recommendations

Over the years, RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers have stayed at various hotels in the area and offered their recommendations.

Keep in mind one person's experience can be vastly different from your own, so take these recommendations as a suggestion, and not a guarantee of anything.

  • Newark
    • Embassy Suites by Hilton Newark Airport
    • Country Inn & Suites Newark Airport
  • Jersey City
    • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Jersey City
    • Sonesta Simply Suites Jersey City
  • Manhattan

You can get other recommendations from our readers on the RoyalCaribbeanBlog message boards.

Which Royal Caribbean ships sail from New York/New Jersey?

Royal Caribbean changes cruise ship itineraries due to Snowstorm Jonas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean offers cruises from Cape Liberty throughout the year, although there tend to be more ships sailing in the summer months.

Depending on the year, there can be different ships offering cruises to destinations in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas, or Canada/New England.

Most recently, Anthem of the Seas has been the cruise ship spending most of her time in Cape Liberty.

In 2022-2023, Royal Caribbean will offer cruises across two ships: Adventure, Anthem and Oasis of the Seas.

20 Adventure of the Seas tips, tricks and secrets | Royal Caribbean Blog

Adventure of the Seas will return to Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey to sail a combination of itineraries to Bermuda, the Caribbean and Canada. 

Adventure will sail 9-night Eastern Caribbean sailings that visit ports such as St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, Bermuda and Royal Caribbean’s private destination, Labadee. In addition, there is the option of 4- and 9-night cruises heading up the east coast to visit Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; Boston; Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine.

Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas will sail from UK in Summer 2021 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Anthem of the Seas will sail from Cape Liberty in Winter 2022 before she departs to Europe in the summer. She then returns in October 2022 to offer 7-night cruises to The Bahamas that include full days in Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay

Guests looking for extended time in the tropics can opt for one of Anthem’s 11-night southern Caribbean sailings to San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. John’s, Antigua; Castries, St. Lucia; and Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis.

Photos: Oasis of the Seas departs New York Harbor for first time | Royal Caribbean Blog

Oasis of the Seas will take over for Anthem of the Seas in summer 2022 when she sails from Cape Liberty and offers cruises to Canada, The Bahamas, and Eastern Caribbean.

Oasis of the Seas will kick off her Northeast cruises beginning on May 1, 2022 and then offer a variety of itineraries:

  • 7-Night Perfect Day, Bahamas
  • 5-Night Canada 
  • 9-Night Eastern Caribbean

What time should I schedule my flight home after my cruise from Cape Liberty?

Picking the right time for your flight home is a balancing act of how much time you want to waste waiting in the airport versus rushing off the ship in a frenzy to make your flight in the first place.

There are a couple factors when choosing your flight time home:

  • Which airport you are departing from and its proximity to Cape Liberty
  • What time you think you will disembark the ship
  • What time the ship will be cleared by local authorities to allow disembarkation to begin
  • Traffic

How long it will take you to get off the ship and through customs is an inexact science, and depends on how fast/slow authorities clear the ship, if you have luggage to pick up, and how many other passengers want to get off the ship at the same time you do.

Then you have to figure out how much time it will take to get to the airport, and how busy those airports are with their own check-in lines. 

Newark is absolutely the best option, as you should be able to get there with a short commute (20 minutes by car).  Getting to La Guardia or Kennedy can take as long as 90 minutes (or more).

A good rule of thumb is to not schedule any flights before noon if flying home from La Guardia or Kennedy, and no earlier than 11am from Newark.

It's better to be at the airport and bored than stressing out about potentially missing your flight because of delays along the way.

Royal Caribbean will homeport Oasis of the Seas from New York City area in 2020

In:
12 Dec 2018

For the first time ever, an Oasis Class ship will offer sailings from the New York City area when in 2020 Oasis of the Seas spends the summer offering cruises from Cape Liberty, New Jersey.

Royal Caribbean's 7-night 2020 itineraries for Caribbean and Canada were posted to the website yesterday, and it shows Oasis of the Seas arriving to Cape Liberty on May 6, 2020 and staying through October 25, 2020.  Oasis of the Seas will return to Florida on November 4, 2020.

When Oasis arrives in Cape Liberty, she will offer a quick 4-night Canada Getaway cruise on May 6 before offering 7-night sailings down to the Bahamas, with stops in Port Canaveral, Nassau and CocoCay.  On August 1, 2020, she will offer an 8-night sailing that adds a stop in Miami.

Oasis will sail one New England & Canada sailing on June 21, 2020 when she offers a 6-night cruise to Portland, St. John and Halifax.

Adventure of the Seas will also sail from Cape Liberty and alternate between 5 and 9 night itineraries to Bermuda and the Caribbean.  Adventure of the Seas will also offer a nine-night New England/Canada sailing a few times during the summer and fall 2020.

Royal Caribbean now offers shore excursions to Elizabeth, New Jersey

In:
15 Dec 2017

Guests sailing on a Royal Caribbean cruise out of Cape LIberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey, will have the option to take shore excursions to one of New Jersey’s oldest and most historic cities, Elizabeth.

A new partnership between Royal Caribbean and EMI Global offers passengers the option to book a post-cruise excursion in and around Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is known for its historical precedence of being the starting point for New Jersey (est. 1664) and home of America’s founding fathers, like Alexander Hamilton, Elias Boudinot , Marquis de Lafayette and many others. Additionally, Elizabeth is noted for its rich ethnic diversity, representing more than 50 countries and 37 language groups, authentic cultural cuisine, and as being the 5th best City for Shopping in America due, in part, to being the location of New Jersey’s largest outlet and value retail center, The Mills at Jersey Gardens, a Simon Center.

Guests can get more information about these shore excursions at www.GoElizabethNJ.com/RCCLExcursions.

Royal Caribbean replaces Rhapsody of the Seas with Vision of the Seas in Cape Liberty

In:
02 Jun 2016

Royal Caribbean announced today it has changed deployment plans for which ship will be based in Cape Liberty, New Jersey, by replacing Rhapsody of the Seas with Vision of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean had announced in April that Rhapsody of the Seas would be based in the New York City area with Anthem of the Seas, but all of these previously announced Rhapsody of the Seas sailings have been canceled.

From May 20, 2017 through the end of October, Rhapsody will offer a variety of exciting 7-night round trip sailings from Venice, Italy.

At the conclusion of the Mediterranean season, Rhapsody will return to Tampa, Florida as planned and begin sailings on November 19, 2017.

On August 22, Vision of the Seas will offer a 16-night Transatlantic sailing from Copenhagen, Denmark to Cape Liberty, New Jersey with several calls in Denmark, Norway, Scotland and Iceland.

On September 7, Vision will offer a 13-night open jaw sailing from Cape Liberty, New Jersey to Quebec City, Canada.  The sailings departing from Cape Liberty on September 20, October 1, and October 11 will replace the previously planned sailings offered on Rhapsody and include calls in Boston, Massachusetts, as well as multiple ports in Maine and Nova Scotia.

Vision’s current fall Europe itineraries, including those departing from Venice, Italy from August 22, 2017 through November 17, 2017 will be canceled.

To accommodate guests booked on the affected sailings, Royal Caribbean will provide vacationers with a full refund of their cruise fare, the opportunity to re-book on another Royal Caribbean ship as well as an onboard credit to use during the newly booked sailing. In addition, vacationers who purchased airfare through Royal Caribbean will receive a full refund. Guests purchasing their own airfare will be given a refund for their airline change fee. All refund transactions will be automatically processed back to the original form of payment within four to six weeks. Commissions for travel agents will be protected for all cruises that are fully paid.

Guests requesting more information are asked to contact Royal Caribbean International’s customer service team at 1-800-256-6649 or their travel agent.

Royal Caribbean dedicates new cruise terminal for Quantum of the Seas

In:
24 Oct 2014

Earlier today Royal Caribbean and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey dedicated the new cruise terminal at Cape Liberty Cruise Port, which will be the home for Quantum of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean President and COO Adam Goldstein and Vice President of Port Operations Juan Trescastro along with Bayonne Mayor James Davis, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s Director of Port Commerce Richard Larrabee dedicated the new cruise terminal to Art on the Working Waterfront.

Together, the gentlemen unveiled 10 photographs that capture the unique energy and character of historic New York Harbor through the eyes of photographer and International Longshoreman Association-member John Bacaring.

Following the unveiling, the officials and executives were invited to the very first preview of the new terminal, slated to welcome guests for the first time when Quantum of the Seas, arrives in New York Harbor on November 10, 2014.

“The development of the new cruise terminal is another example of how public private partnerships are supposed to work. By working together, Royal Caribbean and the Port Authority have been able to bring this world class terminal on line which can service the newest generation of large cruise ships,” said Port Authority Port Commerce Director, Richard Larrabee. “We look forward to continuing passenger growth with the arrival of the Quantum Class vessels to the harbor in 2014 and 2015. It’s been a pleasure working with Royal Caribbean on this important project.”

Thew new terminal is located at 4 Port Terminal Boulevard is a successful partnership between Royal Caribbean and the Port Authority to develop the Bayonne waterfront for cruise tourism. The first phase of the $55 million port expansion includes a new, state-of-the-art guest terminal, with 125,000 sq. ft. of check-in, customs and immigration, and luggage processing space, as well as a 950-car parking structure and pier improvements. The new facility is adjacent to the first cruise terminal, opened in 2004.

“Royal Caribbean thanks the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the City of Bayonne for this successful collaboration to develop Cape Liberty for cruise tourism.,” said Adam Goldstein, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “The planned state-of-the-art cruise terminal at Cape Liberty will perfectly complement our Quantum-class ships, which will be the most technologically advanced ships in the world, and help generate jobs and grow the cruise industry regionally.”

99 days of Quantum: Cape Liberty Quantum of the Seas construction photo update

In:
26 Sep 2014

We're just weeks away from Royal Caribbean launching its newest cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas, and each day we are showcasing something different about this amazing ship to get everyone ready for its debut.

Cape Liberty Quantum of the Seas construction photo update

While Quantum of the Seas is slowly making her way from her shipyard in Germany, Royal Caribbean is quietly working on expanding the port facility that will Quantum will call home.

Cape Liberty cruise port in Bayonne, New Jersey will be home to Quantum of the Seas and the port facility is being expanded to meet the needs of this massive new ship.

Our friend Mike Sobbell of Autism on the Seas sent in these photos from just a few days ago of how the port is looking.  

Many thanks to Mike for these photos and especially all he does with the Autism on the Seas organization.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post as we celebrate 99 days of Quantum!

Concept art for new Royal Caribbean cruise terminal for Quantum of the Seas

In:
01 Jun 2014

Royal Caribbean has already begun construction on it's brand new $55 million cruise terminal at Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey and today we have computer models of what the new terminal will look like.

Photos courtesy of Royal Caribbean and posted by NJ.com

The new terminal will be complete in November, just in time for Quantum of the Seas' arrival. 

The new "state-of-the-art" guest terminal that will include 125,000 square feet of space for check-ins, customs and immigration and luggage processing.

Royal Caribbean begins building new $55 million Cape Liberty cruise terminal home for Quantum-class ships

In:
27 May 2014

Royal Caribbean announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to build the next phase of the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, NJ.

The $55 million project will include construction of a new, state-of-the-art guest terminal, 900-car parking garage and pier improvements.

The new terminal will be the home for Royal Caribbean's next generation of cruise ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, which both begin service in November 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Ground breaking has already occurred and the new terminal will be complete in November 2014.

Quantum of the Seas cruise port construction looks to be back on track

In:
31 Jan 2014

Last week plans for construction to begin on the renovations of Cape Liberty's cruise terminal were halted after the construction plans impacted a September 11th memorial.  The renovation plans are back on track now after the Port Authority has come up with a plan for ensuring the 9/11 memorial is not destroyed.

NJ.com is reporting the small group of memorial pavers that encircle the 9/11 Teardrop Memorial at the south end of the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor will be temporarily removed when repair work at the site begins.

The renovation work on the terminal is necessary to allow the port to accomodate Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship Quantum of the Seas for her November 2014 arrival.

“The start of the construction is contingent on the city of Bayonne’s approval,” said Port Authority spokesman, Steve Coleman.

Coleman estimates the pavers will be out of the 9/11 memorial ground for roughly three to five months.

“These pavers will be restored to their original locations when the work is finished,” said Coleman.

Quantum of the Seas cruise port construction halted

In:
21 Jan 2014

Preliminary construction of the new cruise port facility in Bayonne, New Jersey was halted on Friday after it was discovered plans for the port makeover included the removal of hundreds of memorial pavers that surround the September 11 "teardrop" memorial.

Residents were "outraged" according to NJ.com, after learning the $50 million project would include the "temporary" removal of about 300 pavers.

Frank Perrucci, chairman of the Sept. 11 Bayonne Remembers Committee, said he was told by workers at the site that the construction project would cut through a portion of Harborview Park -- where the "To the Struggle Against World Terrorism" memorial is located --  and would mean the "temporary" removal of about 300 pavers.

The memorial will not be affected and workers indicated that the pavers would be put back into place when the construction is complete in May.

The cruise port makeover includes a new Cape Liberty Cruise Port terminal building, a parking garage, an overflow paved parking area and berth improvements on land owned by Port Authority.

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