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Bennybluehat

How to get to Manhatten

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Hi, we are doing the back to back transatlantic on QM2 later this year & I believe Cunard used to provide a shuttle bus to get into Manhattan but that has now been stopped. If this is the case how do we get to and from Manhattan without having to go on an excursion and what are your experiences of time lines I.E getting through immigration, free time in New York, boarding time etc?

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We are doing b2b TA on QM2 in October and the last time we did same cruise 2yrs ago they did provide a shuttle bus from ship to Macy's and return and a couple of other excursions. If they have now stopped the shuttle bus, which they told us it all depended on numbers to make it worthwhile running it. The options are very limited if they dont there is a ferry from Red Hook to Pier 11 (Wall St) and then the only other options are underground or taxi. The underground into Manhattan from Brooklyn is some distance from Red Hook where the ships dock and we were told that even though it would be easy to get off the ship and get a taxi at the terminal into Manhattan it isnt so easy getting one on your return. We were told, dont know how true, that if you wave a taxi down in Manhattan they do not like going over the bridge to Brooklyn as they dont like going out of Manhattan so would be difficult to get a return.

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We booked the shuttle bus and we very nearly missed it because the queue was horrendously long and although once we got to kiosk it didnt take long to get through. We were dropped off by Macy's at 9am so it is an early departure from the ship and the coach picked us up for our return at 2-30pm so you only really got a little more than half a day in Manhattan.

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... The underground into Manhattan from Brooklyn is some distance from Red Hook where the ships dock and we were told that even though it would be easy to get off the ship and get a taxi at the terminal into Manhattan it isnt so easy getting one on your return. We were told, dont know how true, that if you wave a taxi down in Manhattan they do not like going over the bridge to Brooklyn as they dont like going out of Manhattan so would be difficult to get a return.

 

It’s a good point. In this situation you’d be better off using Lyft or Uber. They’re both easy to use, and since you indicate your destination on the app when you initiate the transaction, the driver is well aware of your destination and has already accepted the ride.

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A few notes:

(1) There is now a convenient and inexpensive ($2.75) ferry that goes from the pier to Manhattan. It docks at the foot of Wall St (Pier 11). It's a short walk to the subway or 9/11 Memorial & Museum (15 min). There also should be cabs. Lyft or Uber is also an option. https://www.ferry.nyc/routes-and-schedules/route/south-brooklyn/

 

(2) In my experience, Cunard tends to be evasive about transfer and shuttle options in advance (other than to say that transfers will be offered). I would still be surprised if they don't offer their overpriced shuttle to Macy's. Whether it's the best choice for you is a different question.

The good news is that it's reliable and easy. The bad news is that it's expensive, dosn't give a tour, and lets you off at a location that, while not bad, is more convenient for the bus than for you. The immediate area has two points of interest, Macys (which is mostly a BIG department store, the merchandise isn't special in any way) and the Empire State Building (if you choose to go to the top, just get the basic ticket for that and avoid any of the tourist-trap extra crap). Non-tourist sights nearby are the Madison Square Garden (the basketball arena) and Penn Station (which is an underground maze of ugly.) The good news is that the Penn Station subway stop connects to a lot of lines and is a central transfer connection)

 

(3) While some cabs may avoid going to Red Hook, we've had great experience with car service (usually also because we have luggage because we're starting or ending our cruises there, never turning around). We use Dial7 (www.dial7.com), while others swear by Carmel (www.carmellimo.com). Both provide very reliable service by skilled drivers (which Uber/Lyft frequently are NOT) at a very competitive price. (Both have apps, easy-to-remember phone numbers, and easily google-able discount codes for first-time users.)

 

>>> Enjoy New York! <<<

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When we last did roundtrip TA there leaflets from start of cruise on excursions desk regarding shuttles and excursions on turnaround day subject to numbers. The shuttle was expensive but comparing return journey in a taxi (with doubts??) was not much dearer and avoided return problems. The ferry now available was not operating so we didnt have that as a choice and with regards to dial 7 and other companies it is not easy to get a quote in advance for return journey because of the details they request which if you dont know Manhattan well or is your first time can be bemusing. You would think the number of taxis you see driving around Manhattan that it would be easy for return journey but alas no and therefore puts doubt in your head of getting back and making sure you dont miss the ship.

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Thank you for the replies. We are also going in October and are really hoping there will be a shuttle bus. Although we are limited on time I think it would be possible to see a few of the sights if we were dropped off outside Macy’s - Times Square, Empire, Grand central station etc. Not knowing if there will be one until we board the ship doesn’t leave us with much time to change our plans and if you are doing the BTB I think Cunard should tell you on the personaliser. What is the procedure when returning to the ship given that we will already have our cruise card, do we go through everything like the embarkation at Southampton?

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Thank you for the replies. We are also going in October and are really hoping there will be a shuttle bus. Although we are limited on time I think it would be possible to see a few of the sights if we were dropped off outside Macy’s - Times Square, Empire, Grand central station etc. Not knowing if there will be one until we board the ship doesn’t leave us with much time to change our plans and if you are doing the BTB I think Cunard should tell you on the personaliser. What is the procedure when returning to the ship given that we will already have our cruise card, do we go through everything like the embarkation at Southampton?

 

You didnt when we went last time there was a separate entrance for those returning on b2b from those embarking for the first time. Nothing was advertised on cruise personaliser before the cruise we only found out on boarding. At least there might be 4 for shuttle bus but depending on price we might catch the ferry and go to 9/11 Memorial.

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As far as other sights. Yes there is time. I really recommend that you check a map (how quaint! - I meant check Google Maps). Manhattan is basically flat and is a convenient grid, north of Greenwich Village.

From Macy's, it's a convenient walk to Grand Central station (42nd St & Park Ave - 8 short blocks N, 2 long blocks E. [3 short blocks between streets = 1 long block between avenues. mostly]) or 42nd St - Times Square (8 short blocks N).

 

Most helpful is that there are subway stations nearby that can take you practically anywhere you want to go. (You'll be let off on 34th St or so, within a block of Penn Station and Harold Square stations) http://web.mta.info/maps/submap.html Note also, that there's a frequent, fast shuttle between Times Square and Grand Central. (Note also, that the #2 train connects with the Wall St pier for the ferry to Red Hook).

 

The subway is extensive, cheap, fast, convenient and frequent. (It's also hot and crowded.) Buy a MetroCard at the station. Swipe the magnetic stripe on the card at the turnstiles to enter, just walk through them to exit. The lines are named with a letter or a number (a vestige from when the system was built by three different companies) and direction is identified by their terminus. Additionally, you may see Uptown (N), Downtown (S), Local, or Express (skips some stops). No charge to transfer within a station, but you'll pay each time you enter one from outside. One further caution - they do a lot of construction on weekends, so check the station notices and the website to see if your planned routes will be affected that day (the system is HUGE, so the notices may be confusing - they most often affect stations far outside midtown - so ask a station agent if you have a question).

 

- Mark

Edited by MarkBearSF

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We have just returned home from QM2 Independence Day Cruise. Had first stop in New York on 1st July - Sunday. Used the Cunard transfer to Macy's as ferry service not too regular. Arrived in Manhatran 8.30 am had to be back there at 2.30pm for return to ship. Cost $49 pp.

 

We had sufficient time to walk to the Met Museum arriving as it opened at 10am left at 1.30pm the got subway to Macy's .

 

On 6th July got the ferry by the Red Hook Terminal to Wall Street subway to the Frick Museum shopping return subway and back on the ferry at 2.45pm to return to the ship.

 

Would certainly use the ferry again as it was inexpensive and very convenient. See NYC Ferry South Brooklyn for timings.

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Glad to hear it, Elephant 1151. Were there cabs at Pier 11/Wall St ferry stop when you were there?

 

You really are hikers, walking all the way to the Met and then walking around that massive museum on those marble floors! (FYI, I just checked on Google Maps and it said 2.6 miles/53 min from Macy's to the Met) Glad you took the subway back. (If only the Upper E side had as good service as the W side ...but that's a different West Side Story ;) ).

 

Not that you asked - but in case other readers are looking for a convenient museum, the Museum of Modern Art is a fantastic museum with a lot of pieces you'll recognize (Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso...) in museum that is smaller than the massive Met and more convenient to midtown and subway access. (Hints - the "back door" on 54th St is usually less crowded. Also, always buy admission online in advance if possible. Finally, they have a $70 "Global Membership" for out-of-towners, that, with $5 guest passes, can make it less expensive and much more convenient to join [skip the line to enter, dedicated coat check, and cafe and shop discounts] than to buy individual admission for 3+ people in your group)

 

- Mark

Edited by MarkBearSF

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We have just returned home from QM2 Independence Day Cruise. Had first stop in New York on 1st July - Sunday. Used the Cunard transfer to Macy's as ferry service not too regular. Arrived in Manhatran 8.30 am had to be back there at 2.30pm for return to ship. Cost $49 pp.

 

We had sufficient time to walk to the Met Museum arriving as it opened at 10am left at 1.30pm the got subway to Macy's .

 

On 6th July got the ferry by the Red Hook Terminal to Wall Street subway to the Frick Museum shopping return subway and back on the ferry at 2.45pm to return to the ship.

 

Would certainly use the ferry again as it was inexpensive and very convenient. See NYC Ferry South Brooklyn for timings.

Thanks for your answer. Before you replied I contacted Cunard direct to ask if there would be a shuttle service and they have replied and I was told they do not operate a shuttle into the city! So I have replied and asked if it has been cancelled within the last few days but as yet I’ve had no further answer. I can see Cunard aren’t going to be an easy company to deal with! I await the answer but I get the feeling they aren’t wanting to commit themselves to saying there will be shuttle available.

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Thanks for your answer. Before you replied I contacted Cunard direct to ask if there would be a shuttle service and they have replied and I was told they do not operate a shuttle into the city! So I have replied and asked if it has been cancelled within the last few days but as yet I’ve had no further answer. I can see Cunard aren’t going to be an easy company to deal with! I await the answer but I get the feeling they aren’t wanting to commit themselves to saying there will be shuttle available.

 

We had the same issues 2yrs ago with Cunard UK but the main reason for the confusion is that they dont classify it as a "shuttle bus" because on there normal cruises shuttle buses are free for those booking Cunard Fare and for those on Early Saver deals tjhe normal shuttle bus is payable. That is the reason they do not classify it as a "shuttle bus" because those on Cunard Fare would expect it to be free. One good thing is that Cunard's price of $49 has not increased because that is what we paid in October 2016. Unfortunately the exchange rate is poorer so makes it more expensive. I am sure when we get onboard or in the first couple of days they will offer a bus service to Macy's and return and at least 2 other excursions it will be just a decision of doing Macy's return, catch ferry to Pier 11 or stay on the ship as we have been New York a few times.

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That does make sense but I think the reply I received from Cunard could have told me what you kindly have, it was a very short straight to the point email! Are you doing boarding on the 18th?

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Just for information for those doing b2b Southampton/New York/Southampton the excursions available on 25th October are now available in your voyage personaliser in Cunard's website.

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We have just returned home from QM2 Independence Day Cruise. Had first stop in New York on 1st July - Sunday. Used the Cunard transfer to Macy's as ferry service not too regular. Arrived in Manhatran 8.30 am had to be back there at 2.30pm for return to ship. Cost $49 pp.

 

We had sufficient time to walk to the Met Museum arriving as it opened at 10am left at 1.30pm the got subway to Macy's .

 

On 6th July got the ferry by the Red Hook Terminal to Wall Street subway to the Frick Museum shopping return subway and back on the ferry at 2.45pm to return to the ship.

 

Would certainly use the ferry again as it was inexpensive and very convenient. See NYC Ferry South Brooklyn for timings.

 

How far is it once you exit from Red Hook Terminal to where you catch the ferry? I will have my 80 year old mother in tow so she will only be able to walk a short distance.

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RE: Return to Red Hook by taxi from Manhattan.

 

First, the "rules" are that any taxi is required to take you anywhere within NYC including of course Brooklyn.

 

Second, I have never been questioned (dozens of trips) by any taxi driver about going over to Red Hook from Manhattan.

 

Also, I always tell the driver to not use the tunnel but instead go over the Brooklyn bridge for the views and lack of a toll. It's just not a problem. I really doubt it would happen but, if a driver should give you crap about the destination - just get out and take another cab.

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