Day of departure! My cruise to the Caribbean started in the afternoon.
Rise and shine… It was a beautiful sunny day in New York, someone told me they call it `cold sun`. I was only boarding at noon, so that gave me some time to pick up breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien and already have a little bit of a look around in New York.
After that, it was time to head back to the hotel, pick up my luggage and get down to Cape Liberty cruise port.
The cruise port I was leaving from, was Cape Liberty cruise port located in Bayonne, New Jersey. It serves as a cruise port for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. It`s located 7 miles from Newark Liberty International Airport and 8 miles from Manhattan.
I asked a bit around on Twitter, what the best way is to get there and I instantly got good advice and phone numbers from @CruiseMaven, @buycruises, @CruiseBart and @CruiseBuzz (who I even had on the phone 🙂
I ended up having the concierge of the hotel arrange for a car service to take me down there. The advice given from fellow tweeps was: calling Royal Caribbean for a bus service from them, but they only offer that on the day of arrival from Newark airport. Taking a taxi, but someone also said, not all taxi drivers are permitted to drive outside of New York and if they do, they can charge an extra amount for that. So, when I compared prices, I felt a car service was the way to go, because than you don`t have the hassle of having to worry about the meter if you get stuck in traffic and so on. The hotel concierge arranged the car service for me.
Information on ways to get there from Newark Airport or from Manhattan: Cape Liberty.
Hotels near Cape Liberty Cruise Port (Bayonne, NJ) in Newark, NJ.
The ship was leaving the port at 4 pm and Royal Caribbean advised not to come earlier as 1 pm. Because we didn`t run into any traffic going down there, I was there earlier, but there were already people in line. Later I found out, people were already there at 9 am in the morning!
I have to say the checking-in was very well organized. I got dropped off, my luggage was taken from me. (RCC provides you with luggage tags you have to put on your suitcases. They have your stateroom number on it, so they will go directly to your cabin!) And I could just wait in line to check-in. Again, no long lines and a friendly woman at the counter checked me in, handed me my Sea Pass and I was all set.
A bit more on the Sea Pass and checking-in. I already filled out all the paperwork online. It`s like checking in online for flights. You enter your personal information, passport number,… You print out your Sea Pass paper and the check-in is a breeze! At the check-in at the port you give your printed version, passport and credit card, and they make you an actual Sea Pass you will use during the rest of your cruise. For first time cruisers, your Sea Pass is linked to your credit card and this is what you will use for the rest of the cruise. You don`t need cash or your credit card onboard. Just the Sea Pass. You can buy drinks, shop onboard, even gamble in the casino. Do keep track of what you`re spending, because it`s really easy to just hand out the card and pay, pay, pay. However you can check your Sea Pass account at all times on your TV in your cabin!
With my Sea Pass, I could go straight aboard `my home`: The Explorer of the Seas, for the next 9 days! There was lunch being served at the `WindJammer`, one of the restaurants onboard. After having a nice meal, the rooms, well actually cabins were ready. In my stateroom there was already a `Cruise Compass` awaiting me. This is like your daily newspaper/gazette with all that`s going on onboard your ship.
Leaving from a cruise port close to Manhattan offers you some great views over the city.
We left the port and are on our way for a new adventure!!