Cruising in the Caribbean

Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Jay Lloyd's Getaway: Cruise ship ports

November 16, 2018 - 7:00 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — What's your hurry? You've already traveled some distance — oftentimes a long distance to get to your getaway cruise ship port. 

Before and after the cruise, you can double up on the vacation simply by enjoying the ship's home port. 

Winter and fall cruises are being booked now, so consider the port along with the cruise. (Unfortunately, Philadelphia is no longer an option.)

Here's an assortment of major cruise ports, near and far, that provide excitement, dining, clubbing, and sights to keep the cruise alive just beyond the dock.

Port of New York 

Close to home, the port of New York is legendary. It's where many of our ancestors (before the jet age) landed in America, shed tears on passing the Statue of Liberty, and launched a new life. 

Cruising from New York revives their experience. Norwegian Cruise Line sails winter runs from its Manhattan pier to the Caribbean and beyond. Spring brings Bermuda in sight. Before and after the cruise, stay anywhere in Midtown and you're close to the newly refurbished cruise terminal. 

There's good public transportation to the ferry docks for a visit to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Broadway theaters are within blocks of most hotels. Riverfront eateries, the High Line, and Chelsea Piers spark a seafaring mood. 

New York docks
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Cape Liberty, New Jersey

If you like convenience when driving and parking dockside, try the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne on the New Jersey side of the Hudson, which allows you to ship out aboard Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises.

You'll have the same experience, gliding past the lady in the Harbor and avoiding tunnel traffic. 

Park the car at Cape Liberty and take a ferry with a weekender bag to Manhattan and a waterfront hotel. Try The Standard near the High Line. Ferries from Cape Liberty also run to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. 

Enjoy the city that never sleeps, then board a ferry back to the Jersey dock and sail off for southern ports.

Hudson River Ferry
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Baltimore

Get in a seagoing mood before going to sea at a Philly favorite weekend destination in nearby Baltimore. 

Carnival and Royal Caribbean chart winter and fall Caribbean cruises from Cruise Maryland Terminal near historic Fort McHenry. 

Stay a few nights before and after the cruise at any of the branded hotels that overlook the Inner Harbor. Explore the historic ships that line the waterfront, including the USS Constellation, a sister ship to USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides.

Dine with a water view at the Rusty Scupper where the Inner Harbor joins the Patapsco River and a path to the Atlantic. Downtown Baltimore is a walkable neighborhood. Park at the cruise terminal and use public transit, a cab, or ride share apps to the Inner Harbor.

USS Constellation at Baltimore Inner Harbor
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

A blizzard of cruise ships make their home ports in the Fort Lauderdale area, since it is close to the Caribbean. Board in the morning, you can be dining that evening in the Bahamas. 

But since the tourism-rich mecca that spans the region from Miami to Port Everglades is a favorite winter destination, take your pick and settle into an oceanfront hotel after the cruise. Enjoy noshing on everything from New York-quality pastrami at Roasters 'N Toasters in Miami Beach to grilled shrimp on an outdoor deck at Lauderdale's Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Do some off shore charter fishing or just relax on decks and docks. 

Fort Lauderdale Beach
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Barcelona 

The popularity of Mediterranean cruises is booming among Philadelphia getaway seekers, and there's a choice of departure ports. 

My favorite is Barcelona. Why? Start with a cosmopolitan international vibe, incredible food from paella to bangers and mash, medieval history, architecture that pre-dates the Roman Empire, and truly a town that never sleeps. 

Stay on the waterfront in La Barceloneta section close to the cruise terminal. Take a gondola to the heights of Montjuïc. See the Gaudí-designed Sagrada Família. Stroll La Rambla for the street scene and cafes. And explore La Boqueria, a dynamic and ancient public market — like Reading Terminal on steroids.

Barcelona cruise terminal
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Bon voyage and enjoy the port.