Whether you’re native to the Brooklyn area or you’ll be driving or flying in from somewhere else, it can be super helpful having a guide tell you what to expect in terms of the terminal, parking, hotels, and nearby dining and sightseeing options.
In this article, first we will provide a brief history of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, then we’ll go over everything you need to know before booking your trip.
Information About the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
Located in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn at Pier 12, The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal has been open and running since 2006. Even though it only has one pier, it easily handles about 50 ships and well over 250,000 passengers every year.
Since opening, this small terminal has been named “Cruise Terminal of the year” by Princess Cruise Lines, and “Best New Homeport” by PortHole Magazine.
Address & Directions
The address for the port, and what you should use in your map program or GPS device, is 72 Bowne St, Brooklyn, NJ 11231.
If you’re coming from Manhattan or anywhere north of the port:
- Take the Battery Tunnel into Brooklyn
- Follow that to the westbound Brooklyn-Queens Expressway
- Take Exit 26 towards Hamilton Ave
If you’re coming from Long Island and other areas east of the port:
- Take the LIE west to the westbound Brooklyn-Queens Expressway
- Take Exit 26 towards Hamilton Ave
If you’re coming from New Jersey and other points south and west of the port:
- Take the NJ Turnpike south to Exit 13
- Cross the Goethals Bridge to I-278, the Staten Island Expressway
- Cross the Verrazano Bridge into Brooklyn
- Continue north on Gowanus/BQE
- Take Exit 26 towards Hamilton Ave
Remaining directions to the port after reading Exit 26 on the BQE:
- Make a left U-turn at Clinton/9th Street
- Continue westbound on Hamilton Ave till you reach Van Brunt Street
- Turn left at Van Brunt Street
- Drive two blocks, then turn right onto Bowne Street
Parking at the Terminal
Located on the south side of the terminal is the official port parking lot. They use a revolving parking system so that no one is without a place to park. Ships coming back to port arrive between 7-8am, and once passengers have gone through customs and got their luggage, they’ll be off the property by 10 or 10:30 am, which will free up parking spaces.
To park at the terminal the cost is $25 per night. Due to the revolving system, you do not need to make reservations to part there. Just wait for the arriving passengers to leave before finding your spot.
You can pay with cash or with Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. They do also have special spaces for larger vehicles, like buses or RVs.
For more information or if you have any specific questions for them, give the terminal a call at 212-641-4440.
Embarking & Disembarking Tips
When arriving by your own car, it’s advised to drop off luggage and additional passengers at the Terminal curb first, then go find a parking spot. The terminal does not offer storage of luggage at any time.
Once you enter the terminal proceed to security and check-in. Make sure you have your cruise booking information ready, as well as any identification they may need to see.
Upon returning, you’ll be directed right through luggage pickup, customs, and then to any awaiting coaches, taxis, or parking. If you parked there, simply go get your car, then come back to pick up your luggage and other passengers.
The only two cruise lines currently in use at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal are Cunard Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines. Both lines provide year-round cruises with multiple itineraries and destinations.
Cunard Cruise Lines
The Queen Mary 2 ship with Cunard Cruise Lines leaves out of Brooklyn and takes you on a Transatlantic cruise to England.
While on board you can enjoy elegant rooms, exquisite dining, fun entertainment, or just a lovely way to relax, unwind, and forget your troubles.
Princess Cruise Lines
Princess Cruise Lines provides many more options of cruise itineraries and destinations. Depending on which cruise you purchase (Canada, New England, or Caribbean), you’ll either be riding the Regal Princess or Caribbean Princess.
Each ship offers stunning architecture, live shows, spas, gambling, and a little something for everyone. The Caribbean Princess even has a Discovery room for the littlest passengers to enjoy.
Scenic Eclipse is a ship with Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, and only ships out of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal once a year. It is also the first ocean cruise ship from Scenic, taking passengers on a cruise to the Caribbean.
Off-site Parking Near the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
After searching extensively, the only inexpensive place to park in Brooklyn is in the official port parking lot. There are only a few off-site options, and they all cost more than the $25 per night that the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal charges.
Flying into New York
Though the New York/New Jersey area has three airports to choose from, if you are embarking from Brooklyn (and don’t plan on staying in the area long) you will want to choose La Guardia, as it is the closest to the Brooklyn cruise port.
If your plans are to head straight to the cruise port after landing, there are a number of transportation options to get you there.
Although LaGuardia offers a number of public transportation options, none of them will take you directly to the cruise port. You will find yourself having to switch from the subway to a bus, and then possibly walking the rest of the way.
As such, we don’t recommend public transportation as a means of getting to the cruise terminal. Fortunately, there are far better options.
The airport doesn’t provide a shuttle to the port, but many cruise lines offer shuttle service that will pick you up at the airport and take you to the cruise terminal. This includes both Cunard Cruises and Princess Cruises, which both ship out of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.
Unfortunately, cruise line shuttles are not included as part of your cruise price, and can get expensive, especially if you’re traveling with a large group. For instance, Princess charges $29 per person, each way. So for just two people round trip it’s going to cost $116.
Shared or Personal Car Services
If you’re traveling with a larger group of people, one way to save on transportation costs is to order a shared or private car ride.
LaGuardia airport makes it easy for you to arrange for a car to pick you up. Just head to the Welcome Center desk to make your reservation or use one of the self-serve kiosks.
You can also make your reservations ahead of time by contacting one of the companies below. All rides can be picked up at the Terminal B Parking Garage, Level 2.
The companies nearby that offer shared or private car rides from LaGuardia are:
- Shared Ride Services
- Airlink New York: 212-812-9000 or 877-599-8200
- All County Express: 800-914-4223 or 516-285-1300
- ETS Air Shuttle: 718-221-5341
- NYC Airporter/Golden touch (Express Bus): 718-777-5111
- Super Shuttle Manhattan & Long Island: 212 BLUE VAN or 800-258-3826
- Private Car Services
- Carmel Super Saver: 866-666-6666 or 800-924-9954
- ExecuCar: 800-253-1443
Taking a taxi from LaGuardia to the Brooklyn cruise terminal won’t run you a ton of money, so whether you’re riding with a few people or a large group, this could be a great option.
From LaGuardia, expect to pay somewhere between $28-$38 for a taxi to the cruise port. Note this might include certain surcharges from the airport itself (peak times and overnight). One New York taxi can fit up to four passengers, five if it’s a minivan.
Just like with a taxi, when you order an Uber or Lyft ride you pay for the car, instead of per person. And most Uber or Lyft cars can take up to four or five passengers, depending on the size of the vehicle.
Booking a ride through one of these companies is also super easy, cause all you have to do is download the app and search for a ride there.
If you’re coming from La Guardia, your fees are going to be much less than from the other airports. From Uber we estimate roughly $40-$50, and $35-$40 for Lyft.
If you fly into JFK or Newark, Uber/Lyft is going to run you $70-$80 or more. Same goes for a taxi from those same airports.
The only way that a rental car is in your best interest is if you plan on spending a few days in New York before shipping out. This is because even if you only drive it for a half hour or so, you still are required to pay for the full day. If all you need is a ride from the airport directly to the cruise terminal, a rental car is not the way to go.
Several rental companies have desks at LaGuardia airport, making it easy to get a rental car after landing, but you can use any rental company you want. We recommend using one that has an office close to the cruise terminal so that it’s easy to turn it in before your cruise leaves.
The three rental companies closest to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal are:
- Hertz Rent-a-Car
- Address: 238 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201
- Phone number: 718-522-0532
- National Car Rental
- Address: 239 State St, Brooklyn, NY 11021
- Phone number: 347-763-1902
- Arecibo Car Service
- Address: 171 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
- Phone number: 718-783-6465
If you rent a car from either of these companies, you can arrange to be picked up at the airport. Then, when it’s time to turn the car in, you can just take a quick cab or Uber to the cruise port.
Although LaGuardia is the closest airport to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, you can opt to fly into any of the three airports.
It will all depend on your travel preferences, and what your plans are before shipping out. Just remember that taxi cabs or Uber from Newark and JFK are going to cost much more than from LaGuardia.
Hotels Near the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
If you plan on arriving a day or two ahead of time, whether you drive or fly, you will want to find a place to stay. You can always stay at a hotel closer to NYC, if you want, but if you’d rather be close to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, here are a few options for you.
Worth Reading: 26 Best Hotels Near Manhattan Cruise Terminal, New York
611 Degraw St, Brooklyn, NY 11217 | 718-403-0614 | $117
Union Hotel will have you staying in the heart of Brooklyn, just a quick subway or cab ride away from Times Square, Central Park, and various other NYC locations. Enjoy free Wi-Fi and an in-room refrigerator, sofa sleeper, and flat-screen TV.
This hotel is only about two miles from the cruise terminal. Though they don’t provide parking or a shuttle, it should be easy enough to grab a taxi to the port on cruise day.
Holiday Inn Express Brooklyn
625 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215 | 718-797-1133 | $144
At the Holiday Inn Express Brooklyn you can enjoy an affordable option to staying in Manhattan while being only two miles from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.
You’ll also be within walking distance from a number of restaurants, places to shop, Long Island University, the Navy Yard, Coney Island, and more.
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wynhdam Brooklyn Downtown
533 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 | 718-832-4747 | $155
At the La Quinta Inn & Suites in downtown Brooklyn, you’ll have easy access to all that Brooklyn has to offer, and you’ll be just under two miles away from the cruise port. Free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and pet friendliness are just a few of the amenities you’ll be able to enjoy at this hotel.
Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown
300 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY 11217 | 877-859-5095 | $153
Enjoy luxury accommodations for a fraction of the cost at the Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown. Guests can enjoy some relaxation time at the hotel spa, which includes an indoor heated pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, and cold shower.
You’ll also get free Wi-Fi, room service, and easy access to downtown Brooklyn. Visit the Park Slope, Green-Wood Cemetery, and some of Brooklyn’s top attractions and restaurants.
They don’t provide their own source of transportation to the cruise port, but the front desk is more than willing to help arrange an affordable ride on cruise day. Since the hotel is just a little over two miles from the port, a taxi shouldn’t cost much.
Hotel Le Bleu
370 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 | 718-625-1500 | $204
Hotel Le Bleu may be one of the few hotels near the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal (maybe the only one) that has a cruise package for guests. This package, called the Cruise Terminal Package, gets you free round trip transportation to the cruise terminal. All you have to do is show your itinerary as proof.
Also, if you book your stay on their website, you can get 5% cash back through PayPal, gift cards, a donation to your choice of charity, or you can choose to get 10% back as cash for your trip.
Things to Do in Brooklyn
If you plan to allow an extra day or two (or three) to do some sightseeing in New York, Brooklyn has plenty to offer. Restaurants, shopping, and attractions for everyone in your group. The list below are places and restaurants that you won’t want to miss during your stay in Brooklyn, NY.
Van Brunt Street is the street closest to the cruise terminal, and it’s full of tasty restaurants to try.
- The Good Fork: Serves delicious dinner and brunch, though brunch is only available on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Baked: An American bakery serving delicious baked goods like cakes, cookies, brownies, granolas, and various bread. They also teach baking classes, both in-store, and online. Currently, they have three physical locations: Red Hook (Brooklyn), Manhattan, and Tokyo.
- Hometown Bar B Que: Specializes in pit-smoked meats using a classic Southern technique of smoking on oak wood. You can order meat by the pound, rips, pulled pork, and plenty more. They have delicious sandwiches and sides, and banana cream pudding for dessert.
- Fort Defiance Café & Bar: If you’d rather stop into a family, neighborhood restaurant, Fort Defiance Café & Bar has just what you need. They make tasty breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, and serve cocktails all day long. You can even make a reservation for a private event, should you need one before your cruise.
- Mark’s Pizza: This restaurant doesn’t serve just pizza. They serve pizza rolls, calzones, heroes, Philly cheese steak subs, burgers, gyros, pasta dishes, and so much more. You’ll have a hard time deciding what you want because they literally have every possible Italian food you could want.
When it comes to sightseeing, Brooklyn is not going to disappoint. If you don’t have time to venture into Manhattan, don’t worry. You’ll be having so much fun in Brooklyn you won’t even notice.
- The Brooklyn Bridge: If you’ve never visited the Brooklyn Bridge before, this is a must while you’re in town. Made from limestone, granite, and Rosendale cement, this bridge is architecturally stunning. It was originally built in 1883 to accommodate horse-drawn carriages, but now serves as the easiest way to get to Manhattan and New York City from Brooklyn. Take a walk along the pedestrian path and you should be able to see a great view of the Manhattan skyline.
- Prospect Park: This is Brooklyn’s version of Central Park and was built by the same people. It features a 60-acre lake and a 90-acre Long Meadow (called Brooklyn’s last forest). Prospect Park is also home to a small zoo and an urban Audubon Center. During the summer-time, you can take advantage of various events at the park, like outdoor movies, concerts, lectures, yoga or exercise classes, and more. Visit the park’s website for more information about what to do there and upcoming events.
- Barclays Center: Visit this multi-purpose indoor arena where you can watch basketball games, catch a show or a concert, and reserve a seat at one of the restaurants found within. Be sure to visit the website ahead of time to see if there are any shows or events you want to book tickets for, and book them in advance. The last thing you want is to show up at the Barclays for your chosen game or concert, only to find out they’re sold out.
- The Brooklyn Museum: Located close to Prospect Park is the Brooklyn Museum. For history buffs, or an impromptu field trip for the kids, this is a great place to stop during your stay in Brooklyn. View and learn about art from Ancient Egypt, Africa, and other 14th-17th century pieces from around the world. Look at their website to learn about any upcoming events that you might want to go see.
Enjoy a Cruise From Brooklyn
Brooklyn is a great place to take a cruise from. The terminal is small and not very busy, and it’s close to so many fun attractions and restaurants. Even if you just drive down early on the day of your cruise, you should have plenty of time to do a little bit of sightseeing around the city before boarding your ship.
We recommend, if you can, taking an extra day or so to really explore the city, and maybe stop into Manhattan as well. You’ll find plenty to do in both cities, creating amazing memories for you and your family. Whether you’ll be flying or driving, have a safe trip to Brooklyn and enjoy your cruise vacation!