Although the Big Apple isn’t exactly known for cheap cruises — or bargain anything, really — you can find some deals. New York has a whopping three cruise terminals: located on the west side of Manhattan; in Red Hook, Brooklyn; and in Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J. Between them, you can choose from six value-oriented cruise lines.
Cruises out of New York span a surprisingly wide range of itinerary choices, from fall foliage to year-round beaches, and even trips to Europe. Not sure how to find the best deal on the sailing that’s right for you? Here’s everything you need to know about cheap cruises from New York.
1. Learn the itineraries out of New York.
There are six main cruise itineraries from New York ports. You can cruise north to Canada and New England, calling on ports such as Boston; Newport, R.I.; Bar Harbor or Portland, Maine; St. John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Quebec City. Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line sail here in the summer, and several other lines position their ships in New York in September and October solely for the peak fall foliage season.
Sunseekers can choose from Bermuda, the Caribbean, or the Bahamas. Something to consider if you just want sand and surf and don’t especially care where you get it: Bahamas itineraries are often on new ships such as Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas or Norwegian’s Norwegian Breakaway.
And, for those looking for peace and quiet and the luxury of time, there’s nothing quite like an ocean crossing. Like the ocean liners of the past, Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 sails regular seven-night transatlantic crossings from Red Hook, Brooklyn, to Southampton, England — with no ports in between, but plenty of formal nights.
2. Get to know the lines that serve Gotham City.
Regularly scheduled cruises from New York are available on a variety of cruise lines at different price points. Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean all sail to Canada/New England, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean. Celebrity Cruises sails to Canada/New England, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. Cunard sails to Canada/New England and also makes regular transatlantic crossings to Southampton, England. Princess Cruises only cruises to Canada/New England.
3. Look at inside cabins.
The very best deals are usually on inside, or interior, cabins without a window. However, don’t overlook potential deals on ocean view and even balcony cabins as fares sometimes dip into the $359-$499 range per person on four- or five-night cruises.
4. Make your peace with older ships.
Sometimes, the trade-off is a ship that’s 15-20 years old and lacks the bells and whistles of the lines’ mega ships — such as updated décor, huge waterslides, skydiving simulators, ice bars, and celebrity chef restaurants.
Carnival and Royal Caribbean recently refreshed many of their older ships with some of their cool new features, but a refit can only go so far. If you want the razzle-dazzle, spend a bit more for Anthem of the Seas or Norwegian Breakaway — both new vessels that are homeported in New York year-round.
5. Expect to pay more than just your fare.
Your cruise fare will cover your cabin and three meals a day in the complimentary restaurants — but that won’t be all you will spend on your vacation. Factor in a few cocktails a day, a shore excursion or two, and daily crew gratuities, and you’ll easily shell out a significant amount while you’re onboard.
6. Look for deals with onboard credit.
To offset your bar bill or the cost of shore excursions, shop for package deals pairing cheap fares with onboard credit.
7. Sign up for deal alerts.
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8. Search during “wave season.”
From January to March, cruise lines discount their fares and onboard extras during what’s known as wave season. This is a great time of year to find cheap cruises from New York.