November 1st, the cruise lines are expected to resume service in the United States. As the United States continues to rebound from the Coronavirus pandemic, the travel industry is among many industries that must resume normalcy. Amtrak too cannot wait to resume its normal schedule. As Amtrak hopes to resume its daily service both intercity and long-distance, the cruise lines will once again be relying on Amtrak to transport its long-awaiting passengers to and from port cities. As opposed to flying, Amtrak makes traveling as easy as a walk in the park. There are American port cities which are a hop, skip, and a jump from a major Amtrak station. Between “All aboard!” and “Welcome aboard!”, Amtrak allows for the perfect connection for a perfect cruise vacation. The top 5 Amtrak-accessible port cities are:
#5) New York, NY: New York City is one of the most bustling year-round port cities. New York City is home to two cruise ports. The Manhattan Cruise Terminal (Piers 88 and 90), are located on 12th Avenue between 48th and 50th Streets. The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is located in the Red Hook neighborhood off Van Brunt Street. New York Penn Station is located between 31st and 34th Streets. Penn Station serves all of Amtrak’s northeastern routes, including the Empire Line (Empire Service, Adironack, Maple Leaf, Ethan Allen Express, and Lake Shore Limited). Penn Station is located on the A, C, E, 1, 2, and 3 subway lines. Getting to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal is simple. After exciting their train, Amtrak passengers can make their way to the C or E subways. From Penn Station, passengers will take the C or E subway to 50th Street. Arriving at 50th Street, passengers can walk four blocks to the pier. Getting to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is a little bit of a dog leg, but manageable. Amtrak passengers heading to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal can take the A train to Jay Street-Metro Tech. Afterward, passengers will then take the B61 bus (15 minutes) to the corner of Van Brunt and Sullivan Streets. The alternate route is taking the 1 train to South Ferry and then a 6-minute walk to the Wall Street Ferry pier. At the Wall Street Ferry pier, passengers will take the NYC Ferry from Wall Street Pier 11 to Red Hook (9 minutes). The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is directly next door (5 minutes walking distance).
#4) Bayonne, NJ: The Cape Liberty Cruise Port is one of the most popular cruise ports in the northeastern United States. Bayonne is 8 miles east of Newark. Not just popular, but it is one of the most picturesque port cities to sail from. Is it close to an Amtrak station? Yes, and a little bit of “no”. It depends on how one looks at a glass of water. It also depends on whether/if cruise passengers plan to be staying in the area prior to or after their cruise. After stepping off the train at Newark Penn Station, passengers can take the PATH train to Exchange Place. Exchange Place is the last stop on the New Jersey side. Upon exiting the PATH train at Exchange Place, passengers will take the New Jersey Transit Hudson-Bergen Light Rail train to 34th Street (Bayonne). At 34th Street, passengers can then hail a taxi cab to the Cape Liberty Cruise Port. Passengers arriving from New York City can take the PATH train from 33rd Street to Hoboken Terminal and connect with the light rail train. The alternate route is taking the PATH train from the World Trade Center to Exchange Place, connecting with the light rail.
#3) Baltimore, MD: When it comes to port cities, Baltimore is a port city with much to offer. Baltimore’s Penn Station is located in the heart of the downtown area. Penn Station serves all Amtrak northeast routes including long-distance routes (Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Cardinal, Carolinian, and Crescent). Upon exiting the train at Penn Station, passengers can do one of two things. Passengers can take a taxi (15 minutes) to the Baltimore Cruise Port. If time isn’t much of an issue, passengers can take the Charm City Circulator bus. At Penn Station they’ll board the Purple line, and then connect with the Banner Line. Passengers can disembark from the Banner Line bus at Andre Street and walk 7 minutes to the Baltimore Cruise Port. The Charm City Circulator is FREE.
#2) Norfolk, VA: Norfolk is one of the country’s less talked about port cities. It is however a port city with plenty of tourism hot spots. Norfolk’s Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center is located on Waterside Drive in downtown Norfolk. Norfolk is served by Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service. Amtrak’s Norfolk Station is located on Park Avenue, just 3 minutes walking distance from the Harbor Park Station. At Harbor Park Station, passengers board The Tide, Norfolk’s light rail train. From Harbor Park Station, passengers ride The Tide (5 minutes) to MacArthur Square Station. From there, it’s a 3-minute walk to the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center. The Tide, per passenger, costs $2.00 in each direction. The taxi cab ride is just 7 minutes.
#1) Boston, MA: Of all port cities in the United States, Boston is over-the-top the most convenient and truly Amtrak-accessible. Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal is a quick and convenient 10-minute bus ride from Boston South Station. Amtrak’s Northeast Regional, Acela Express, and Lake Shore Limited arrive and depart from South Station. Amtrak’s Downeaster arrives and departs from North Station at TD Garden. Upon exiting the train at South Station, passengers make their way to the T’s Silver Line bus. The Silver Line route starts at South Station and wraps its way around the bustling Seaport District. The Silver Line bus drops passengers off on Black Falcon Avenue, directly in front of the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. The round-trip fare on the T, is just $3.40 per passenger.
Cruising can’t be a more exciting way to travel the world. Whether it’s 5-days, 9 days, or 12 days, a cruise vacation is the most rewarding traveling experience anyone could look forward to. However, if cruise passengers are looking forward to sailing out of port cities served by Amtrak, providing ample mass transit connections, the trip is even more special. Further, the adventure is all the more memorable. Cruise transfers to and from the airport are indeed pricey. When taking Amtrak to a port city, disembarking nearest to the cruise port’s front door is undoubtedly painless. New York, Bayonne, Baltimore, Norfolk, and Boston are truly the best port cities served by Amtrak. With “Bah-ston” at the top, cruise passengers can treat themselves to all that Beantown has to offer including “chow-dah”, and “Fenway Pahk” just a quick ride away on the T subway. While air travel struggles to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic, riding Amtrak is the perfect answer to boarding any cruise vessel in style.