Everything You Need to Know About Last-Minute Cruises From NYC

by  Donna Heiderstadt | Nov 4, 2016
Times Square
Times Square / iStock.com / duha127

If you live in the New York metro area (and there are many millions who do), you’re lucky enough to have access to Broadway shows, world-class museums … and three cruise ports for when you want to get out of town.

A variety of ships are available out of the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on the Hudson River, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on the East River, and Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, offering cruises to the Bahamas and the Caribbean, as well as along the scenic coast of New England. If you aren’t much of a planner (who has the time?), you can snag some pretty great last-minute deal cruises from NYC. But where can you go, and what does “last-minute” really mean? Here’s everything you need to know.

1. What itineraries are available?
From NYC’s ports you can head north, south, and even due east. Bermuda cruises are typically available starting in the spring all the way into the fall, and ships head to Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean year-round (and are a great way to escape the chilly winter). You’ll also find New England and Canada cruises during the summer.

When fall arrives, the seasonal ships head to their winter ports, which means repositioning cruises are available. Another option: transatlantic cruises, which take place year-round. Itinerary lengths vary from short four-day getaways to weeklong sailings and 14-night journeys.

2. Which lines cruise from New York?
With three ports in the metro area, lots of ships dock here, some of them year-round. For example, Norwegian Breakaway cruises to Bermuda, the Caribbean, Florida, and the Bahamas from Manhattan, while Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas sails Caribbean, Florida, and Bahamas itineraries, plus makes some trips to New England and Canada from Bayonne. Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 takes transatlantic voyages out of Brooklyn, as well as occasional cruises to New England and Canada.

In the late spring and summer you’ll find even more options, with ships such as Carnival Sunshine and Norwegian Gem sailing Caribbean and Bahamas itineraries and the occasional New England and Canada cruise.

New York is also a pit stop for some ships as they reposition between Europe and the Caribbean. Lines tend to alternate which ships have these itineraries each year. You can typically find options from Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Disney Cruise Line, as well as luxury lines such as Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Silversea Cruises.

3. What is the time frame for last-minute deals?
Some lines close sailings a month before the embarkation date, while others allow you to book up to four days before you have to board. If you’re booking close to the sailing date, be sure you have your documentation in order. Many cruises out of New York are round trip, meaning you really only need a state-issued ID such as a driver’s license to sail. But keep in mind you will need a passport or passport card if you want to explore on land in Canada or on many Caribbean islands.

4. Which ships have the best last-minute deals?
The larger the ship, the more cabins that need to be filled, so you’re more likely to score a deal on mega ships such as the 3,963-passenger Norwegian Breakaway and 4,180-passenger Anthem on the Seas. You’ll also likely have more cabin categories to choose from, especially during off-season sailings. Balcony cabins tend to sell out first, and the best last-minute deals are typically for inside cabins — but on larger ships, more balcony cabins may be available.

5. Which destinations have the most last-minute cruises?
It’s all about timing when it comes to these deals. You’ll find the most options for Bermuda, Bahamas, and Caribbean cruises from August to October, as well as early December and early January. New England and Canada cruises come up more often in June, July, and August. Keep in mind the most popular time to cruise this route is when fall foliage is at its peak in the Northeast, and these sailings tend to book up further in advance, leaving last-minute bookers out in the cold.

6. Where can I find last-minute cruises from NYC?
You can find the best deals right here, and sign up for ShermansCruise’s newsletters to have deals delivered right to your inbox. Looking for cruises out of other ports? Check out our last-minute cruises page.

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