The classic way to sail in or out of New York involves docking on the Westside of Manhattan. As one sails
along, the spectacular Manhattan skyline unfolds from the
Battery to Midtown. It is an awesome experience. (See separate article).
The only Westside piers still serving passenger ships from the major cruise lines are the three finger piers that jut out into the Hudson at a 90 degree angle between 46th and 56th Streets. The three piers are now officially the Manhattan Cruise Terminal although many still call them by their old name - - the Passenger Ship Terminal.
In the 1930s, the French Line needed a pier that could
accommodate the 1,000 foot long ocean liner Normandie.
Cunard was also planning to build two 1,000 foot liners. Consequently, three new piers numbered 88, 90 and 92 were
constructed, each 1,100 feet long. For the next three decades,
these piers would be popularly known as "Luxury Liner
By 1970, the piers were becoming obsolete and so the city
engaged in a major renovation project which included,
among other things, linking the piers together with a
During the 2000s, the city again embarked on a revitalization
project. Pier 88 received the most attention and was fitted
out with an apron to allow forklift loading of baggage and
supplies. Pier 90 received less extensive renovation.
Uncertain whether to decommission Pier 92, that pier
received the least work.
Approaching and leaving the three piers can be challenging for sea captains. A ship coming up the Hudson must make a 90 degree turn across the river's strong current. A ship leaving the piers must back out into the current and then execute a 90 degree turn. Even modern ships sometimes call for tug boat assistance.
In contrast, getting to and from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal is relatively simple for passengers. Indeed, the piers are within walking distance of such transportation hubs as Grand Central Terminal and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Guests often walk to Times Square and other midtown attractions during overnight calls.
Each of the piers has three levels. There is long term parking on the top level. Taxis can drop off and pick up passengers on the second level roadway. Buses use the ground level roadway.
The roads surrounding the Manhattan Cruise Terminal can become quite congested during peak embarkation hours, especially if there is more than one ship calling.
During disembarkation, taxis and limousines are usually required to wait across the street form the
Despite its shortcomings, most passenger ships use the
Passenger Ship Terminal. Norwegian Cruise Line bases two ships there year-round. It is used seasonally by several other lines including Carnival Cruise Lines, Oceania, AIDA and Holland America. Other lines use the Manhattan Terminal on an occasional basis.
Above: Full house - - five cruise ships at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.
Below: Oceania Cruises' Insignia at Pier 88.
Above: Carnival Vista at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal for her official naming ceremony.
Cruise port New York - cruise ports - Manhattan cruise port