8 Tips to Lower the Expense of Getting to and From Your Cruise Ship

You can sail nine nights from Brooklyn, New York, to the Bahamas and back for as little as $329 per person, but parking your car at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal might cost you $315 to park your car.  When parking can almost equal your per person cruise fare, suddenly how you get to and from your ship becomes an important question.

If you live in your homeport city, taking a taxi, car service, Uber or Lyft can be a logical answer.  Once you add some distance, the situation becomes complicated. Why? Because getting a taxi to the pier might be easy, but will taxis be at the pier when your ship docks at 7:30 AM on a snowy day?

Let us look at some options:

  1. Bite the bullet. Pay for parking at the pier.  The major advantage is seeing your car from your balcony as you say goodbye to your cabin steward for the last time.  This might be the most expensive solution, but it can be the easiest.
  2. Find a parking lot nearby. The website parkwhiz.com is one example of a site aggregating parking within a city.  You put in your destination address and dates, it gives you a map with parking options and prices for your specific stay.  Piers are often big, highly secure places and your parking garage is likely at a distance.  You might get a taxi from the garage to the ship easily, but you need one for the return journey at 7:30 AM when the ship docks.
  3. Hotel parking. Is there a reasonably priced hotel nearby?  Many have onsite parking.  You will not be the first cruise passenger who wanted to leave their car for a week or two.  They likely have a special rate.  The key is the proximity of the hotel to the pier.
  4. Where does the ship’s shuttle go? Your cruise likely has plenty of passengers who flew into town for the voyage.  The ship should sell a pier to airport transfer service.  The advantage is the bus usually departs pretty early in the day.  You might park at the airport, take a taxi to the ship and get back to your car via the ship’s pier to airport shuttle van.
  5. Phone a friend. This is a surprisingly practical option.  Do you have a friend or relative living in town?  Will they let you park in their driveway, haul you and your luggage to the ship and pick you up, reversing the process at the end of your cruise?  This could be a low cost solution.
  6. Hiring a car service. If you live in the suburbs, you might consider commuter rail and a taxi to the pier, but luggage can be a problem.  A black car limousine type service is an option, but you need to compare the cost to simply driving yourself and parking at the pier.
  7. Uber or Lyft. This is another alternative, but the longer the distance, the more expensive and complicated the project.  Unlike a taxi making short runs around the city, your Uber or Lyft will likely be headed back empty and be priced accordingly.
  8. Shipping your luggage. The entire process would be easier if you had no luggage!  Some cruise lines like Cunard offer a service where your luggage is collected beforehand, shipped to the ship and the process reversed upon your arrival back in port.  (White Star luggage service).  Now your only concern is getting from the ship into town to catch your train or plane back home.

Some combinations of these solutions can work together.  I am still a fan or “parking at the pier.”  When you return after a relaxing voyage, you want to get into your car and drive home, minus the hassles.

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