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Train to New York Day of Cruise


wheezedr
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Looking for a little help from my east coast friends.  Have a cruise departing Brooklyn on Monday 10/9. Would like to visit my son in Maryland for a few days pre cruise and then take Amtrak to New York.  Looking at the 8:35am  out of BWI train station ( he lives in Laurel) which shows an 11:21am arrival at Penn station.  Then thought we could Taxi/Uber to Pier 11/Wall St. to take the 12:03 ferry across to Red Hook.  Next ferry is at 1:08 so should still be safe for boarding before 3:30 if the train runs late or we hit horrendous traffic. I have no experience with the Northeast corridor trains so wondering if this timing seems reasonable.  Does Amtrak cancel trains with any frequency?  Would we be better off taking a Taxi/ Uber to Red Hook and skipping the ferry ride.  I understand lots of Taxis do not want to make the run to Red Hook.

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2 hours ago, wheezedr said:

Then thought we could Taxi/Uber to Pier 11/Wall St. to take the 12:03 ferry across to Red Hook.  Next ferry is at 1:08 so should still be safe for boarding before 3:30 if the train runs late or we hit horrendous traffic.

If you’re in the Uber already just take it to Red Hook- when you factor in ferry costs and the amount of time it will take to transfer and then take the ferry it wont be a big deal to just take the car there and get dropped right at the pier.

 

2 hours ago, wheezedr said:

I have no experience with the Northeast corridor trains so wondering if this timing seems reasonable.  Does Amtrak cancel trains with any frequency?

It’s rare. It only happens if something catastrophic happens like someone jumps in front of a train, there’s a collision, power goes out. No one can tell you the you’re 100% not going to have an issue but it’s extremely rare. We’ve taken plenty of trains from Philadelphia to NYC the day of a cruise and never had an issue. In the rare change of something happening you’re going to be on the hook for an expensive Uber ride but you’ll still make the ship. 
 

2 hours ago, wheezedr said:

I understand lots of Taxis do not want to make the run to Red Hook.

They are obligated to take you there- but Uber or Lyft have zero issue doing it and that’s what I would do here. Skip the ferry- it’s a waste of time given you have to get in a car anyway.

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If I were interested in making my cruise and not stressing over (fairly likely) train delays, I would go for the 7:38, or even the 6:57, train.  You are leaving yourself very little wiggle room. Also, why not take the taxi/Uber direct to Red Hook rather than build in an extra change of mode?

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9 minutes ago, navybankerteacher said:

not stressing over (fairly likely) train delays

Are they fairly likely? I take the Northeast Corridor several times a week-- usually runs very on time.  Sure-- Amtrak's long haul trains struggle with timeliness but the Northeast Corridor runs fairly on time. 

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4 minutes ago, princeton123211 said:

Are they fairly likely? I take the Northeast Corridor several times a week-- usually runs very on time.  Sure-- Amtrak's long haul trains struggle with timeliness but the Northeast Corridor runs fairly on time. 

The 8:35 from BWI is the Vermonter, and not specifically a Northeast Corridor train.   Since it originates in DC, it might not be called a “long haul” but I still think it a good idea to build in some wiggle room.   

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23 hours ago, wheezedr said:

Looking at the 8:35am out of BWI train station . . . which shows an 11:21am arrival at Penn station. Then thought we could Taxi/Uber to Pier 11/Wall St. to take the 12:03 ferry across to Red Hook. Next ferry is at 1:08 so should still be safe for boarding before 3:30 if the train runs late or we hit horrendous traffic. I have no experience with the Northeast corridor trains so wondering if this timing seems reasonable. Does Amtrak cancel trains with any frequency? Would we be better off taking a Taxi/ Uber to Red Hook and skipping the ferry ride. I understand lots of Taxis do not want to make the run to Red Hook.

The timing is reasonable. No, Amtrak does not cancel trains with frequency in the northeast corridor. It is an essential service for business travel, and Amtrak carries more business travelers than any airline. Unlike the rest of the country, Amtrak owns most of the northeast corridor and controls dispatching in the entire northeast corridor but for a segment in Connecticut controlled by Metro-North Commuter Railroad (New Haven to New Rochelle). There is minimal freight interference, and as a result on-time performance is very good throughout the northeast corridor. The 8:35 a.m. train from BWI, the "Vermonter," is a regular northeast corridor train between Washington and New Haven, and should be expected to be on-time. (The train route is extended beyond the northeast corridor, and after New Haven the train continues onward into Vermont, where the timekeeping may be less reliable.)

 

Using a taxi (or even the subway if traveling without excessive baggage) to Pier 11 is a good plan. If any unforeseen event does happen, then "Plan B" would be to remain in the taxi all the way to Red Hook. But no need to act on Plan B unless such unlikely event does happen. The fact that some taxi drivers do not "want" to go to Red Hook does not relieve the taxi drivers from their legal obligation to take you to Red Hook . . . if any problem then call the police.

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1 hour ago, GTJ said:

The timing is reasonable. No, Amtrak does not cancel trains with frequency in the northeast corridor. It is an essential service for business travel, and Amtrak carries more business travelers than any airline. Unlike the rest of the country, Amtrak owns most of the northeast corridor and controls dispatching in the entire northeast corridor 

Thanks GTJ.  I was actually hoping you might respond as I have appreciated the fact that you get to the point and avoid lots of unnecessary tangents.  I just did multiple Ubers on a cruise in Seattle as well as Bolt while I was in Portugal so I am familiar with the methods.  I like the ferry as it seems to drop right next to the cruise terminal in Red Hook.   I will  in fact keep a Plan B at the ready

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7 minutes ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

Just last week there was a power outage that shut down NJ Transit and Amtrak trains in the NE Corridor. That happens day of, you're not making your ship.

Sure I am, just using plan C or D.

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7 minutes ago, wheezedr said:

Sure I am, just using plan C or D.

Not if your train is already underway when the line goes down.

 

But I don't get this obsession some people have with not getting to the port until the day of. Unless I live there (which I do for my upcoming X cruise) I'm getting there the day before.

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Just now, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

Not if your train is already underway when the line goes down.

 

But I don't get this obsession some people have with not getting to the port until the day of. Unless I live there (which I do for my upcoming X cruise) I'm getting there the day before.

Not an obsession.  Things just work out well for this particular cruise and people we wish to visit. 3 weeks ago we flew in the night before for a cruise out of Seattle as that timing worked best.  I have done cruises where I felt the need to be there 2 days early and others where day of was the most logical timing.  As my original post suggested I was simply looking for the reasonableness of my timing.  I have 3 months to plan and have not even booked any air between the west coast and the east.  Based on recent issues the airlines are a much greater risk than the train.  I am setting up Plans A, B, C, etc well in advance as this cruise is in October.

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It could be that the elevator that one is using gets stuck, and the in the time it takes for the fire department to rescue its occupants the cruise vessel will have sailed away. There are all sorts of things that can happen on the say one is planning to depart, even while being in the same city from which the vessel is departing . . . or even in the building across the street from the port. Not every single possible disruption can be avoided. It is all a matter of recognizing reasonable and readily avoidable risks. I live in Flushing, Queens. If I am going to depart from Bayonne, New Jersey, will I travel from Flushing to Bayonne the night before? Indeed, there are very few hotel rooms in Bayonne itself--and none within reasonable walking distance of the port--and virtually no one travels to Bayonne the day before . . . they stay in Jersey City, Newark, Elizabeth, or even New York. Brooklyn has a few hotel rooms withing reasonable walking distance of the port, but not enough for everyone boarding the vessel. At some point people have to cut it off and accept the remote possibility that something could go wrong on the day of departure. Just keep those risks low. Airplane travel is not low risk. Amtrak in the northeast corridor, NYC subways and ferries, and walking are low risk. Even so, however, something could go wrong: do you really want to sleep overnight in the port's parking lot to avoid those remote risks?

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7 minutes ago, GTJ said:

If I am going to depart from Bayonne, New Jersey, will I travel from Flushing to Bayonne the night before? Indeed, there are very few hotel rooms in Bayonne itself--and none within reasonable walking distance of the port--and virtually no one travels to Bayonne the day before . . . they stay in Jersey City, Newark, Elizabeth, or even New York.

There are no hotels in Bayonne. There is the Hudson Plaza motel which has hourly rates. The same Hudson Plaza motel you posted as a lodging option. The same motel you stated you would stay at rather than a EWR area hotel (either a Hampton or Hilton due to its isolated area).

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2 hours ago, wheezedr said:

Thanks GTJ.  I was actually hoping you might respond as I have appreciated the fact that you get to the point and avoid lots of unnecessary tangents.

Don't get me wrong-- I love GTJ's thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and vast understanding of mass transit in the greater NYC area. But GTJ does specialize in tangents...

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1 hour ago, princeton123211 said:

Don't get me wrong-- I love GTJ's thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and vast understanding of mass transit in the greater NYC area. But GTJ does specialize in tangents...

I have a desire to understand not merely a precise and factual answer, but also the "why" things are that way. It is the "why" that allows us to extrapolate beyond one specific inquiry. Responses here are not limited to just the one individual first asking, but will be read by others with similar--but not necessarily identical--issues. For that reason I would not want to limit myself to that specific inquiry. (Consider how appellate courts do not merely issue orders applicable in one case, but also provide explanatory opinions that can be applied in other cases.) So I can appreciate how that same exploration of a subject can be both "unnecessary tangents" by one person, and "tangents" by another! It all relates to how one views the scope of a matter of public policy.

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On 7/10/2023 at 6:00 PM, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

Just last week there was a power outage that shut down NJ Transit and Amtrak trains in the NE Corridor. That happens day of, you're not making your ship.

And if I95 collapses or massive thunderstorms south of NYC airports cancel your flight and the next day your flight crew times out waiting for the sold-out plane of rebooked pax to board. 

There is always some risk no matter the day you travel to your cruise. 

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4 hours ago, Brighton Line said:

There is always some risk no matter the day you travel to your cruise. 

No matter how one travels in advance, there will almost always be some travel and concomitant risk on the day of embarkation . . . even if that travel is just walking across the street to the port (e.g., the hotel elevator gets stuck with you inside). All one can do is reasonably manage the risks one is willing to accept.

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We are very familiar with NYC (our birth place and home of our grandchildren) and also know the region.  We agree with the suggestions to go to NYC the day before your cruise, spend a relaxing night in a NYC hotel, and than just grab a taxi or Uber/Lyft to the port.  Yes, you can go down to the ferry terminal, drag your luggage, wait for the next ferry, drag your luggage off the ferry at Red Hook, etc.  It is a plan,  When we have done to Red Hook from Manhattan, we found life easier to just grab an Uber/Lyft (one could also use a taxi) directly to the port.  We prefer Uber/Lyft since the price is fixed...  The traffic the last few blocks before the Red Hook cruise area can be...difficult and involve some waiting time.  With a taxi, the meter is running!

 

I will confess to sometimes coming into NYC on the embarkation day of a cruise, but we only do this when driving (which gives us some control).  And we generally plan on being in the city by noon...giving us a good margin if we run into traffic problems.  But trains do break down, AMTRAC does not always recover in a fast way, and we are always uncomfortable when not in control.  Most of the time we will even drive in a day early (we can stay with DD) just to be safe.

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On 7/12/2023 at 2:13 PM, GTJ said:

No matter how one travels in advance, there will almost always be some travel and concomitant risk on the day of embarkation . . . even if that travel is just walking across the street to the port (e.g., the hotel elevator gets stuck with you inside). All one can do is reasonably manage the risks one is willing to accept.

To “…reasonably manage the risks…”,    I am inclined to figure on allowing at least six hours for unexpected delay -which, means for a 5:00 PM sailing (boarding by 4:00PM) I will schedule anticipated arrive at pier for 10:00AM.    For a New York sailing that would involve leaving home by around 8:30-9:00 AM . 
 

For virtually any other departure port, it means the day before.

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Thanks everyone for all your thoughts and wisdom. I especially want to thank those who stayed on topic, not always a Cruise Critic attribute.  My plans remain fluid but I suspect we will still train in on the day of the cruise.  Lots more flexibility with Penn Station to Red Hook.  May be impacted by weather, time, etc.  Only time we ever had an issue with getting to ship for boarding we had actually come into port 4 days early to Buenos Aires.  Did lots of local sightseeing but on the day of embarkation a major storm came in and getting from downtown to the cruise port became an adventure.  Ultimately made it, soaked, but then the ship missed Montevideo and sailed south without a lot of provisions. Still a fabulous cruise to Antarctica 

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I've taken Amtrak several times from Connecticut to Newark to get to the Cape Libert Cruise terminal. I've had no issues, the NE corridor trains are overall reliable. I just book one that gets me in early so if there's a delay I can catch the next one, or switch to commuter rail. I'm planning an MSC cruise now so I'll probably just take a commuter train into NYC and Uber from there to Brooklyn. And everybody talking about going in a day early for a short trip doesn't take into account the cost of hotels, meals, etc in the NY metro area. it adds hundreds to the cost.

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