Cruise from New YorkWhen it comes to taking a cruise, most of the larger ports are located in the South or on the West Coast. Connecticut travelers, then, must start their trip with a flight and possibly book a hotel to stay overnight. But, what if you don’t want to go through those extensive steps? A handful of cruise ports are, in fact, closer to home – all just a few hours away by car or train.

Depending upon where you live, the New York cruise ports may be the closest to your Connecticut town. In recent years, New York has started growing as a cruise departure point, and as a result, the city now has two ports: its long-standing Manhattan Cruise Terminal on the Hudson River in the city’s Upper West Side, and the newer Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in the borough’s Red Hook neighborhood. Both feature modern facilities, including separate arrival and departure areas to decrease congestion, and together, the terminals make up the third-largest cruise market in the U.S.

Lines of all types travel out of New York’s two cruise ports, including Cunard, Princess, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania, Carnival, and Silversea. Trips go out to Bermuda, the Bahamas, or the Caribbean or up north through New England to Canada.

Just across in New Jersey is the Cape Liberty Port in Bayonne. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises leave from this location, which opened in 2004 as part of a multi-million dollar redevelopment project for the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor. While slightly farther away, this cruise port is accessible by the New Jersey Turnpike and the NJ Hudson-Bergen Light Rail. Although more businesses, residences, and a marina park are expected in the future, this cruise terminal is currently the second-busiest in the Northeast.

While the New York and New Jersey ports may be ideal for those residing in Fairfield and Litchfield Counties, those east of New Haven may want to consider traveling up to Boston to start their cruise. Although Boston is a seasonal terminal, departing ships go to Bermuda and Canada.

Like the New York ports, Boston’s has experienced growth in recent years. Norwegian Cruise Lines, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean have departed from Cruiseport Boston for a number of years, and more recently, Carnival Cruise Lines added its Carnival Glory ship. A recent $11 million renovation has equipped the Boston cruise port with a new passenger check-in features and a more comfortable and efficient boarding area. Those considering public transportation over driving can get to the port directly through the city’s MBTA Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit Route.