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Embarkation time from NYC port


skleeb
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I am way ahead of myself-my crossing isn't until Oct. 2021-but I was wondering what time we can actually board the ship and what time does the ship leave port? I will be taking the train from MD and want to plan accordingly.

 

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In the past, we have arrived between 11 and 11:30 and have been on board by noon.  The current environment may change that though and it might be too early to say (if it even sails).

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If you are arriving via Amtrak to Penn Station I would advise leaving plenty of time for train delays.   We also take the train but arrive the day before and stay at. Brooklyn Hotel.    Our train from the south was always delayed and with the lack of funding to Amtrak things can get much worse.   We would rather a stress free day for boarding.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, skleeb said:

Thanks, fellow travelers. Anybody know how long/far it is from Penn Station to the dock? I figure an Uber or taxi will suffice to get me thee.

It’s about 7.5 miles — but they are in a very congested area.  You should bear in mind the following:

a) Amtrak trains are more noted for being late than on time.

b) Your train will not originate in Baltimore - it could even be one of the “Silver Service” trains coming up from Florida.  Four to five hours late is entirely possible.

c) If the train is on time, it will take you about half an hour to get to the street.

d) Depending upon day of the week , weather and traffic, it can take half an hour to get a taxi or meet your Uber.

e) Depending upon traffic and weather (snow is possible in New York in October) the ride could be as short as 20 minutes or as long as two hours.

 

Boarding is likely to start at about 11:00 AM - unless the ship is late arriving.  Ordinarily about 1:00 to 1:30 PM is best time to board.  The early bird arrivers will already have been processed, and the stay-aboards will not be back from their tours. But there are a number of variables.

 

We have sailed from Baltimore - about a three hour train ride for us - but there is no way in hell that we would get on a train going to any port the morning we plan to sail.   Give yourself a break:  spend the night before in NY - see a bit of the city and do not set yourself up for a hassle.  If you are determined to take the train that morning, take the first one —-planning on  anything much later than 5:00 AM would be kind of STUPID.

Edited by navybankerteacher
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OH, you have given me a lot to absorb! I had not thought through many of these observations. No way am I going to take the chance of missing my crossing! Great hints. I have no problem coming up a day early. 

14 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

It’s about 7.5 miles — but they are in a very congested area.  You should bear in mind the following:

a) Amtrak trains are more noted for being late than on time.

b) Your train will not originate in Baltimore - it could even be one of the “Silver Service” trains coming up from Florida.  Four to five hours late is entirely possible.

c) If the train is on time, it will take you about half an hour to get to the street.

d) Depending upon day of the week , weather and traffic, it can take half an hour to get a taxi or meet your Uber.

e) Depending upon traffic and weather (snow is possible in New York in October) the ride could be as short as 20 minutes or as long as two hours.

 

Boarding is likely to start at about 11:00 AM - unless the ship is late arriving.  Ordinarily about 1:00 to 1:30 PM is best time to board.  The early bird arrivers will already have been processed, and the stay-aboards will not be back from their tours. But there are a number of variables.

 

We have sailed from Baltimore - about a three hour train ride for us - but there is no way in hell that we would get on a train going to any port the morning we plan to sail.   Give yourself a break:  spend the night before in NY - see a bit of the city and do not set yourself up for a hassle.  If you are determined to take the train that morning, take the first one —-planning on  anything much later than 5:00 AM would be kind of STUPID.

 

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One of our Amtrak trips (DC to Chicago, so different route than getting to NYC) was delayed by approximately two and a half hours in rural Indiana because a truck unsuccessfully tried to beat a freight train at a crossing. We were significantly late. The truck's driver had a much worse day.

 

I definitely would not recommend taking the train to New York on the day of departure.

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On 1/1/2021 at 6:32 PM, skleeb said:

I am way ahead of myself-my crossing isn't until Oct. 2021-but I was wondering what time we can actually board the ship and what time does the ship leave port? I will be taking the train from MD and want to plan accordingly.

 

Why not travel down the day before and have a night in nyc. Sadly the area around the red hook cruise terminal is not well developed with hotels and stuff. But there are countless hotels in lower manhattan near the water taxis. You can travel across on your leisure the day of the cruise. If there is a problem with your train they are unlikely to wait for you.

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2 hours ago, ace2542 said:

Why not travel down the day before and have a night in nyc. Sadly the area around the red hook cruise terminal is not well developed with hotels and stuff. But there are countless hotels in lower manhattan near the water taxis. You can travel across on your leisure the day of the cruise. If there is a problem with your train they are unlikely to wait for you.

 

I would second this suggestion.  The last time we did a crossing we took the train down from Boston and spent the night in the Financial District near Pier 11.  The next morning we walked over to the ferry terminal with our rolling luggage and went directly to the QM2 in Brooklyn.  It cost $2.75pp for the ferry and it couldn't have been easier.

 

This is the link to the ferry website, the South Brooklyn line goes to Red Hook (QM2).

 

https://www.ferry.nyc/routes-and-schedules/

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You all are a treasure trove of information! Here's another query for you. I am actually doing a tandem(back and forth crossing), so does anybody know what time the ship RETURNS to NYC? I will need to get a round-trip train ticket in advance, so I'm wondering about the logistics of getting back home to Maryland.

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arrival back in nyc is about 6 ish and if you are carrying your own luggage you can be off before 8 am. The arrival time should be in your personalizer. How long will you be gone [at sea] i ask because run the numbers and see if parking your car up there will work.........its ny EVERYTHING is expensive just like an over-night stay . We parked once but after that it was limo ,more money but easier   

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With the caveat that this is how it has worked in the past and no one really knows what the procedures may be for the new normal, here goes.

 

QM2 normally arrives at the Brooklyn cruise terminal around 6:00-6:30am.

 

If you want to take advantage of self-help disembarkation where you carry all your luggage off the ship in one go, then you could disembark somewhere around 7:00am.

 

Otherwise, if you will be collecting your luggage in the terminal, disembarkation times depend on your type of accommodation and your Cunard World Club status. Guests in grill suites and with Diamond status have priority. Those with Cunard transfers also have earlier disembarkation times. After that, disembarkation times are based on your deck number with higher decks disembarking first. On our last crossing, scheduled disembarkation times in Brooklyn ranged from 8:10am for the first Queens Grill guests, to 9:45am for those on deck 13 through 11:15am for those on deck 4.

 

Add in another wildcard concerning the amount of time it takes to clear US Customs and Border Protection. That can vary considerably from a few minutes to an hour or more depending on when you disembark and the staffing levels in the terminal.

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32 minutes ago, newjoisey said:

arrival back in nyc is about 6 ish and if you are carrying your own luggage you can be off before 8 am. The arrival time should be in your personalizer. How long will you be gone [at sea] i ask because run the numbers and see if parking your car up there will work.........its ny EVERYTHING is expensive just like an over-night stay . We parked once but after that it was limo ,more money but easier   

 

Another great suggestion!  We've left our car parked in Brooklyn on two different occasions.  Once for over a month with no problem.  We live in central NH.

 

If you do self disembarkation you can be on the road by 7:30 AM easily.  There's no one in front of you in the customs line when you go out that early.

 

Here's the site for the parking, I see the rates have gone up but there are certainly advantages to having your own car there.

 

https://www.nycruise.com/brooklyn-terminal/parking/

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Cruise NH said:

 

...

 

If you do self disembarkation you can be on the road by 7:30 AM easily.  There's no one in front of you in the customs line when you go out that early.

 

...

I have arrived in Brooklyn on QM2 a number of times.  Once we were delayed and came alongside at about 9:30 AM — NOBODY got off the ship until past 10:30.  

 

Even if the ship is on time, unless your booking is in a category which gives you priority or you are able to handle all your luggage yourself, you will have to wait your turn, so 7:30 is a rarity - and not anything you can expect.

 

There is no such thing as a sure thing.  If I were booking a train from Penn Station on debarkation day I would think of something no earlier than noon - or, more reasonably 1;00 PM, particularly if it was to be just a three hour or so train ride to Baltimore.  If the ship does come in on time, just take your time getting off. It is easy enough to use up surplus time, but hard as hell to make up for lost time.

Edited by navybankerteacher
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On 1/2/2021 at 9:07 AM, skleeb said:

OH, you have given me a lot to absorb! I had not thought through many of these observations. No way am I going to take the chance of missing my crossing! Great hints. I have no problem coming up a day early. 

 

skleed,

First, Happy New Year...

 

Why not come earlier and enjoy the city and all it offers. 

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1 hour ago, BklynBoy8 said:

skleed,

First, Happy New Year...

 

Why not come earlier and enjoy the city and all it offers. 

Happy New year to you, too. All these comments have made me think outside the box as they say. I see now that there are a lot of options I can consider. I could visit  NYC on either end of my trip, even! 

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A few years back, we booked a train home after a westbound TA on QM2. Our train was NYC-CLT, so options were limited...actually, only one option other than waiting for a 3 AM departure. We left Union Station at 2:15 PM for the ride home, which gave us plenty of time to get there from the ship. We actually sat in the station lounge for well over an hour before boarding the train. So, a 1:00 PM departure is easily achievable under normal circumstances. I probably would be hesitant to book anything significantly earlier than that.

 

The advantage in going to Baltimore (also Union Station, if I recall correctly...it's been a few years) over our limited option is that, if unusual circumstances prevent you from getting to the train before 1:00 PM, there is another two or three trains leaving for the same destination within the next few hours. Rebooking should be easy, if it becomes necessary.

 

Beside, the new Amtrak terminal opened at Penn Station (actually just across the street) that looks fantastic. Perhaps having a little time to appreciate it wouldn't be a bad idea.

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On 1/1/2021 at 6:55 PM, navybankerteacher said:

Your train will not originate in Baltimore - it could even be one of the “Silver Service” trains coming up from Florida.  Four to five hours late is entirely possible.

 

Just a point of clarification: The trains that depart Florida do not accept boarding passengers north of Richmond. The stops are only to accommodate departing passengers. So someone boarding in Baltimore doesn't need to worry about a delayed Florida train. 

 

Boarding in Baltimore the only option is Amtrak. Philadelphia, and north, has the option of local trains in addition to Amtrak, if Amtrak has an issue. The problem is that if there's a major calamity (such as the New Jersey lift or swing bridges not closing properly), it's going to take down the local service as well as Amtrak's. Fortunately, in 50 years of taking the  train to New York, that's only happened once, when the lift bridge was stuck in the 'up' position.

 

A tip: when departing New York, hire a red cap - even if you only have a handbag!  The red cap will get you down to the tracks and aboard the train before the train is publicly announced (avoiding the third-world like mad rush of hundreds of fellow passengers).

 

And, FWIW, we usually book a 1 PM southbound train out of Penn station after arriving at Red Hook. We've always made it with *plenty* of time. You might actually be able to make a noon departure. But, after a relaxing crossing, who wants to spend the last hours of the trip agonizing over whether you'll make your train? The last trip we used an interesting connection: the ferry to Wall Street, the connecting ferry to east 34th Street, then a taxi crosstown. The ferry portion was very relaxing. The worst part of the whole trip was the taxi from 1st to 7th Ave!

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Here's another aspect of check-in you need to realize.  Cunard will give you a check-in time.  At least, they did when I started in Hamburg and again several months later in New York.  Good idea, I thought, spread everybody out and there will be no lengthy line-ups.  Ha!  We arrived at 3:15 for our 3:30 check-in.  What a line-up!!  Dreadful.  Their check-in process 'needs work', shall we say.  The agent held my passport in her left hand while pecking away with one finger to type in the details.  Why?  I had entered my passport details online already.  Maybe frequent travellers can answer this for us all:  if they give you 3:30 and you show up at noon, what happens?

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8 minutes ago, Fairgarth said:

Here's another aspect of check-in you need to realize.  Cunard will give you a check-in time.  At least, they did when I started in Hamburg and again several months later in New York.  Good idea, I thought, spread everybody out and there will be no lengthy line-ups.  Ha!  We arrived at 3:15 for our 3:30 check-in.  What a line-up!!  Dreadful.  Their check-in process 'needs work', shall we say.  The agent held my passport in her left hand while pecking away with one finger to type in the details.  Why?  I had entered my passport details online already.  Maybe frequent travellers can answer this for us all:  if they give you 3:30 and you show up at noon, what happens?

In my pre-covid experience, early check in [noonish] is possible when there were no issues 'zeroing out' the ship before the start of check in.

 

For 2019 we had 2PM scheduled check in, but were on board by 1 [bag drop about 12:15].  We were prepared to leave the terminal area for lunch if the line was not moving.

 

Other times [for of 2017 crossing] there was apparently some delay, and the terminal doors were not opened until after 1 PM. 

 

Most of the folks you see at check in are working for the cruise terminal - not Cunard. They may be temps with limited experience with the equipment and procedures. There are folks in uniform from the Purser's desk and Tour Office - they will be called over as needed to resolve reservation problems. As I recall, we only needed to show our passports and a credit card for the onboard account - took longer for pictures.

For this year, I anticipate a slowdown for 'health screening' - that may even be placed before the security screening area.

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1 hour ago, Fairgarth said:

Here's another aspect of check-in you need to realize.  Cunard will give you a check-in time.  At least, they did when I started in Hamburg and again several months later in New York.  Good idea, I thought, spread everybody out and there will be no lengthy line-ups.  Ha!  We arrived at 3:15 for our 3:30 check-in.  What a line-up!!  Dreadful.  Their check-in process 'needs work', shall we say.  The agent held my passport in her left hand while pecking away with one finger to type in the details.  Why?  I had entered my passport details online already.  Maybe frequent travellers can answer this for us all:  if they give you 3:30 and you show up at noon, what happens?

I have sailed Cunard a number of times - in recent years they did assign check-in times - in Southampton and Brooklyn - but never seemed to do anything effective  about “enforcing” the times.   Passengers tend to show up early - often in coincidental batches - so during the check in period there can be times with a lot of people and substantial resultant waiting, and slack times (which I have hit as early as 11:30 AM and as lateas 3:15 PM) - purely a matter of chance.  Generally your chances of being able to breeze right through seem best around 3:00 PM , when the early birds have been processed and the seemingly inevitable last minute arrivals (always a bus or two seems to have gotten held up) have not yet appeared.

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Whilst tight connections are possible and I am sure there are more anecdotes from people who have done them, the general rule for embarkation day should always be safety first.  Why put your whole trip at risk because of unforeseen events at sea or on land?  If embarking, stay the night prior in a local hotel.  If disembarking, don’t rely on connecting with anything before the afternoon.  That way you’ll be able to relax, not fret about being allowed onto or off the ship, and with any luck have a few spare hours to orientate yourself before setting off on your journey.

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