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A Guide to Cruising from the New York Area in 2024/25

Florida is the cruise capital of the US, if not the world, with millions of guests each month traveling down south to embark on their cruise vacations out of ports like Miami and Port Canaveral. But if you’re not from the area, traveling to Florida is an extra expense and added hassle to your vacation. Luckily, those in the Northeast of the US have quite a few choices if you’d like to cruise from your backyard. We’ll take a look at the ports, ships, and destinations when leaving from the New York / New Jersey area. 

The convenience of cruising locally

You just can’t beat the convenience of leaving from a local cruise port. No hours spent in an airport going through TSA, no long road trips, and no wasting money on a hotel before the cruise. It just makes the experience so much more enjoyable; just drive up and head on your way to a relaxing vacation. 

But there is a tradeoff. Cruises leaving from the New York area typically cost more than their Florida counterparts. If you’re just a couple traveling, it is often cheaper to fly down to Florida, get a hotel for the night, and cruise from there. But, if you’re a family with kids, the high cost of airfare can make leaving from the Northeast more financially attractive. 

Another factor to consider is that when sailing from New York in the winter months, you spend the first and last days inside due to cold weather. Because of that, you’ll want to research the ship you’re booking, maybe focusing on ones with indoor pools or expansive indoor areas. 

Cruising from the New York / New Jersey area in 2024/25

Where do cruises leave from in New York?

If you’re cruising from the New York Area, your ship might leave from one of three different cruise ports. They’re not close to each other, and depending on how you plan on getting to the cruise terminal, the departure port might affect which cruise you eventually pick. 

Cape Liberty – Bayonne, NJ

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises actually leave from NJ. They use Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ, which is across the river from New York City. For people who don’t live in Manhattan, this is the easiest cruise terminal to get to. 

drop off area in Cape Liberty
Drop off zone at Cape Liberty. You can drop off luggage and guests here, then proceed to park for $30 per day.

It’s in the heart of an industrial complex; you won’t find any bars or restaurants nearby. You’ll need to park on-site for $30 a day or take a shuttle or taxi to the terminal. I live in Central NJ and was surprised how easy it was to drive at this port, park, and head right on when I sailed aboard the Liberty of the Seas.

Manhattan Cruise Terminal – New York City, NY

Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival use the Manhattan Cruise Terminal when sailing from the New York area. It is located on the West Side of Manhattan, minutes away from the Javits Center and Intrepid Museum. It’s convenient for many who live in the city to get to.  

For others, it’s a bit more cumbersome. Guests have to drive in, paying a toll of $13 – $18, take a train, or book a shuttle. Parking is available but costs $45 per night. Another option is to park in Weehawken, NJ ($20 a day), take the water ferry ($9.50), and walk to the port. I tried this for my cruise on the Norwegian Prima, and it was so much easier than going into the city.

Brooklyn Cruise Terminal – Brooklyn, NY

Princess and MSC cruise line leave from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, and it’s probably the least convenient unless you live in Brooklyn. You’ll need to take a subway and a bus to get within four blocks of the cruise terminal. More likely, you’ll take a taxi or drive in, which will cost $45 per night to park in addition to the bridge and tunnel tolls. 

Ships sailing from NY in 2024 and 2025

For 2024 and 2025, the New York area has some great ships to choose from, several of which are sailing from this area for the first time. 


Carnival has just one ship sailing out of NY, the Carnival Venezia, which first sailed for Carnival in 2023. The first thing you’ll notice about this Carnival ship is that it’s missing the signature red funnel. That’s because Carnival brought over the ship from its sister cruise line, Costa Cruises. The ship is unique for Carnival and part of their “Fun Italian Style” cruising. 

The Venezia was originally built for the Chinese market, and the entire ship has an Italian theme with a focus on Venice. It’s less about an authentic representation of Venice but more what Costa Cruises thought the Chinese market would want (think the theming at Caesar’s Casinos or Paris in Las Vegas). However, Carnival overhauled the ship, adding many signature features and some new twists. Venezia sports an Italian version of Guy’s Burgers as well as Tomodoro, an Italian take on Carnival’s Blue Iguana Cantina. Guests will also love the pool with a retractable roof for cold-weather sailings, and kids will love the ropes course, water slide, and Club O2. 


celebrity eclipse

Celebrity Cruise Line will be sailing the Eclipse out of New York in 2024 and the Silhouette in 2025. Both ships are Solstice (S class) ships with less than 3,000 guests onboard, making them the smallest cruise ships sailing out of the New York area. The Eclipse originally debuted in 2010, while its sibling, the Silhouette, debuted in 2011. 

One of the more remarkable features of both ships is The Lawn Club. This half-acre space located on Deck 15 is a real grass lawn that’s used for activities throughout the cruise, like The Hot Glass Show and movies, and is an excellent place for relaxing. These ships have a more classical cruise ship field compared to Celebrity’s newer and much larger Edge-class ships. 


MSC is a relatively new player in the North American cruise market, but it’s actually one of the largest cruise companies in the world, behind Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean International. Over the past few years, they’ve been increasing their focus on the US market. To help with that, they’ve scheduled their ship, the Meraviglia, out of New York throughout 2024 and 2025. 

Curiously, MSC chose not to homeport their ships with a New York theme, the Seashore and Seascape, out of this port. Those ships are part of the Seaside class, which has much more outdoor space. While that’s great while sailing in the warm waters of the Caribbean, that outdoor space is practically useless in the winter months when leaving New York. That’s likely why they chose the Meraviglia for NYC.  

Meraviglia has a beautiful 315-foot central promenade running down the ship called the Galleria Meraviglia. This area is reminiscent of the Royal Esplanade on the Quantum-class Royal Caribbean ships or the Royal Promenade on their Icon-class ships (it’s two levels). It provides a weather-safe space for parties, shopping, and bars right at the heart of the ship.

The Bamboo Pool on Deck 15 has a retractable roof, which means you can still relax there in mid-January while you make your way down the East Coast. 


Norwegian Cruise Line will have the highest number of ships sailing out of the NY area in 2024 and 2025. One of the most exciting things is that Norwegian’s newest ship, the Aqua, will spend some time in the NY area, and the relatively new Prima will also have a few cruises from the area. 

For 2024, the Breakaway and Joy will run most of the cruises out of NY. In 2025, the Getaway and Escape will be used for most of the cruises. All four ships are part of the Breakaway-class, arguably the most popular class of Norwegian’s ships. 

The Breakaway originally debuted in 2013 and was first in its class. It introduced an exterior walkable promenade with restaurants and outdoor seating. The ship has activities to keep everyone in the family busy, from a ropes course and mini-golf course for kids, to an ice bar and two adult-only areas (Spice H20 and Vibe Beach Club). 

The Joy debuted in 2017 as a Breakaway-plus class ship, expanding the frame of the Breakaway. Norwegian originally built the ship for the Chinese market, but it underwent two significant overhauls since its launch to suit the North American Market better. In its most recent update, Norwegian expanded the Vibe-beach club area, an extra fee, adult-only resort area, and added new thermal spas. On top of that, guests will find a race track, water slides, and a variety of bars and restaurants. 

The Norwegian Getaway will replace the Breakaway in 2025 and will offer many of the amenities of its younger while it sails out of the Manhattan Cruise Terminal for six months. 

The Escape will sail for two months in the winter of 2025. Like the Joy, it’s a Breakaway-plus class ship, so it’s 13% larger than the Breakaway and Getaway with more cabins and venues. 

In 2025, the Norwegian Prima will sail a few cruises, and later in the year, Norwegian’s newest ship, the Aqua, will spend two months here. New ships rarely come to the New York area, but Norwegian is making sure to give the Northeast the chance to try out its latest ship. A follow-up to the Prima and Viva, this ship is 10% larger with more exterior space and new restaurant concepts. 

It should be noted that none of the Norwegian ships sailing have an indoor pool area, so if you are sailing from the Northeast in November through March, be aware that many of the pools won’t be usable on the first day. Thankfully, Norwegian has heaters installed in the roofs of the exterior venues of the Breakaway and Prima-class ships, still allowing outdoor dining in the cold.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises has the Island Princess and Enchanted Princess, which alternately sail out of the New York area. 

The Island Princess is the older and smaller of the two. It first sailed in 2003 and holds only 2,214 guests at double occupancy. It’s one of only two Coral-class ships sailing, so many guests may be unfamiliar with the ship’s layout. The ship has a beautiful four-story atrium with glass elevators, plenty of plants, and comfy seating. 

The Enchanted Princess, on the other hand, debuted in 2020, making it Princess’ third newest ship. This Royal-class ship holds considerably more guests (3,660) than Island Princess, but it’s still far from a mega ship, holding less than half the guests of the largest cruise ship in the world, Icon of the Seas. 

The Piazza is a hub of entertainment throughout the cruise with many restaurants and bars available right off of the area. The Enchanted Princess has 14 different dining options as well as a variety of bars. It also uses Princess’ signature Medallion service that can deliver food and beverages to guests anywhere around the ship. None of the pools are enclosed, but the restaurants and most spaces are still accessible during cold or inclement weather. 

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean will have three ships rotating out of the NY area for 2024/2025. 

During the summer, Liberty of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas will be running sailings out of Port Liberty. 

It’s the first time Symphony of the Seas is using Cape Liberty as a Homeport, replacing the Oasis of the Seas that used to sail from here. This Oasis-class ship is one of the largest in the world. It’s an excellent ship for a whole family, with seven different neighborhoods stationed around the ship. Adults can relax in the Solarium while kids can play in the splash park, ride the carousel on the boardwalk, see a Broadway show, or go ice skating—there’s just so much to do on Symphony of the Seas. I did a family cruise on the sister ship Harmony of the Seas, and it was great for a group because there was something for everyone.  

The Liberty of the Seas is an older ship that’s smaller than the Symphony of the Seas, but it’s still a big ship. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit dated. All of Liberty of the Seas’ sister ships had a significant makeover, which Royal Caribbean calls “amplification,” but Liberty’s was canceled during COVID. Because of that, it’s missing much of the glitz and the fanciness of the newer ships. Still, it offers everything you expect from a Royal Caribbean ship like FlowRider, a climbing wall, an ice rink, and a variety of bars and restaurants. It also has one of the best kid’s water areas at sea, with no only a dedicated splash area, but their own pool with waterfall and hot tub.

During the Fall and Winter, Odyssey of the Seas will sail from the port. It’s the newest Quantum-class ship by Royal Caribbean and is taking over sailings previously done by Anthem of the Seas. Like other Quantum-class ships, Odyssey of the Seas has bumper cars, a climbing wall, FlowRider, indoor sky diving, and a totally enclosed Solarium. It just debuted in 2021, making it one of the newer ships sailing out of NYC. One big change over the previous Anthem of the Seas is that Royal Caribbean said they built the Odyssey specifically for the Caribbean market and got rid of the large enclosed pool. It makes this ship much less suitable for winter sailings than its siblings. 

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages is the newest cruise line to sail out of the New York area. If you’re not familiar with it, Virgin Voyages is a newer cruise line that’s quite a bit different than its competitors. The biggest difference is that it’s adults-only; all guests must be 18 or older. On top of that, they try to throw out many of the things other cruise lines use; there’s no traditional buffet, and every dining venue on the cruise ship is included in the cruise fare, there are no hidden “daily gratuities,” and guests all get free soda and Wi-Fi. 

Virgin Voyages will bring its brand-new ship, Brilliant Lady, to the US, and it will homeport in New York City for two months in 2025. While the full details of the ship haven’t been announced yet, it’s expected to be largely similar to its three sister ships. They all focus on comfy seating and socializing. Instead of large venues or promenades, the Lady-class ships have a more intimate feel, like a lounge or hotel. 

The biggest flaw of the Brilliant Lady and its sister ships is the pool and hot tub situation. While there is plenty of outdoor space on Brilliant Lady, the pool is very small for a vessel of its size, and there aren’t as many hot tubs as on other cruise lines. 

Destinations to cruise to when leaving from NY

When you’re cruising from NY, you’re more limited in where you can visit. Most itineraries will either be to Canada, Bermuda, or the Bahamas. If you want more exotic locals, like Antigua or Mexica, you’ll have to book a longer cruise of 10 – 14 days. 


Bermuda is a great stop if you’re traveling with people who don’t know if they like cruising. Most of the cruise lines (except Carnival during peak season) stay overnight in Bermuda, meaning you can come and go from the ship as you please, using it as a floating hotel. During the day, you can visit some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and at night, you can venture to the capital, Hamilton, for parades, live music, and delicious food. You can also visit attractions like Crystal Caves, go snorkeling at a shipwreck, or visit countless museums.


Canada is great for people who don’t want a traditional tropical vacation. Ships will often visit ports like Halifax, Quebec City, or Saint John. These cruises let you enjoy a more relaxed vacation. At the stops, you can visit various museums, enjoy the downtown areas of these ports, or sample the local cuisine.

The Bahamas

The Bahamas offers a beautiful Caribbean getaway with white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. The capital, Nassau, used to be the most visited port for cruise guests, but over recent years, it’s lost a bit of its luster. The port can be very crowded, and there’s very little right in the port, requiring guests to book excursions. Still, there are quite a few activities available, like snorkeling, sampling local food, and visiting the Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis Bahamas, which is pricey, but for water park fans, it’s a good visit. More recently, cruise lines have moved away from visiting Nassau and instead scheduled their own private islands, like Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay

Options for everyone when cruising from New York

As you can see, there are a lot of options when choosing to cruise from the New York area. Even better, there’s something for everyone in 2024 and 2025. You’ll find everything: new ships, old ships, big ships, small ships, family-friendly, and adult-only. You just have to find that ship and vacation that’s right for you.

If you are interested, though, don’t wait. Often, people think that when cruises leave locally, they can book at the last minute because they don’t need to worry about airfare. But cruise lines are reporting record-high demand, and many ships are selling out way before the sail date. 

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Randy Young

Randy Young is the founder and editor-in-chief at Cruise Spotlight. He has been in marketing for 19 years and has been cruising for just as long. Over the years, he's worked with products like TVs, copiers, light bulbs, and EV chargers, but cruising has always been his passion. There's nothing Randy likes more than the first couple of hours on a ship, exploring every nook and cranny and seeing how it's different from everything else out there. He's known for providing detailed and analytical coverage of cruising to help cruisers get a comprehensive picture of a ship's offerings.