Pre Cruise City Stays … Part I – New York City

November 4th, 2011

Panoramic view of the New York City skyline from the water south of Manhattan (Ian C Whitworth)

If you have never thought of planning a pre cruise city stay, it may be something you should consider.  There are some definite pros to adding one to three nights to your cruise departure city that could add to your overall vacation experience.

Firstly, one potential risk related to your cruise is a substantial delay or cancellation of your outbound flight which could jeopardize meeting your cruise embarkation schedule.  Planning to arrive at least the day before drastically reduces that risk.  Another is, I often hear the comment “we left from (enter some great city here), but only saw the airport and the port area with no time to explore”.  Many cruises depart from places like New York City, Venice, Barcelona and Southampton (1 ½ hours by train from London).  It would seem like a crime not to get to experience these great locations once you have come this far!

Spending some dedicated time in these pre cruise cities (and / or post cruise if the key city is at the end) allows more time to absorb the culture, sample the local cuisine and of course, take those night time images we all long to capture.  For those of us looking to do some night photography, be sure you don’t forget to pack your tripod!


Pre Cruise City #1 – New York City

New York City collage of landmarks and tourist destinations (Ian C Whitworth)

As a major cruise departure port, this great city is one that I never get tired of and enjoy returning to when I can.  A couple of great ways to explore and learn about NYC include the hop on hop off double-decker buses as well as the cruises around Manhattan Island.  You can do a full cruise around the island or just do the semi circle cruise which captures the main landmark views of the city including Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Empire State & Chrysler Buildings, passing Ground Zero and passing under the Brooklyn Bridge.

A view of a picture of the firefighters in the window at ground zero memorial with the new construction at the World Trade Center site caught in the reflection (Ian C Whitworth)

There is so much to see and do in New York City with it’s many landmarks, cultural neighbourhoods, museums and shows in busy Times Square.  The seasons also bring their own charm and events to the city with their impacts’ on places like Central Park and the famous Christmas tree and skating at Rockefeller Centre.

View of the landmark Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Ian C Whitworth)

For the photographer, the opportunities in NYC are endless.  While the Empire State Building is pretty much a must, you may want to consider the Top of the Rock for great views over the city.  Here the inset upper observation deck does not have any wire cage or glass between your lens and a great image.  To the north you have great views over Central Park and to the south you get the main city shots with the Empire State Building in the middle.  If you are hoping for some night shots from up here, no tripods are allowed!  You could try a bean bag to support your camera on top of the stone wall.

Looking down Times Square from the bleachers at the set up of the Event. (Ian C Whitworth)

New York City Fun Facts: Photography Tips:
  • NYC was originally called New Amsterdam
  • Population of greater than 8 million people
  • Population density of more than 26,000 people per square mile
  • Greater than 13,000 licensed cabs
  • Subway has 468 stations, more than 650 miles of main track and supports over 1.4 billion riders per year
  • Be sure to use a polarizer filter for your day shots from the Top of the Rock to reduce glare, improve sky colour and help with any haze
  • Use as fast a shutter speed as possible on the hop on hop off bus and cruise around Manhattan to reduce camera shake impact on your images (consider bumping up your ISO & using wider apertures)
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