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New York by Russell

DAY1- "New York, New York (So Good They Named It Twice)" as the song says and that’s why if your cruising in or out of New York you should make sure to stay for a while before or after for a few nights and enjoy whatever takes your fancy in a city overflowing with options.

Arriving at JFK we started our NYC experience the only way I think you should – in a yellow cab, fixed rate from the airport to Manhattan so nice and straight forward (tip if you're leaving to go back to the airport from Manhattan avoid leaving around 4/5 pm as this is when the taxis start heading back to their garages for 5 pm shift change, so getting a cab can be very challenging and stressful at this time of day!

We were departing from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on 12th Avenue at West 48th street, you can walk from Times Square (if you are travelling light) it’s that close to the action! We decided to stay in midtown Manhattan so we could get out and explore, we love to walk and first on our list was the High Line, this is a disused historic rail line which has been transformed into a lovely public park which you stroll in either direction elevated above the streets from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues, it’s a fabulous way to see a different side to New York.

Soon it’s time for lunch, so track down a local deli, pick up some amazing sandwiches ‘to go’ - usually to share as they are huge! Then head to Central Park, zigzagging as you go to take in The Rockefeller Centre, Radio City, Fifth Avenue and The Plaza Hotel – you will recognise from many movies and cross over into Central Park, providing you are not side-tracked to visit the amazing Apple store across the street.

Central Park is fantastic, do as much or as little as you like, we wandered around past the Conservatory water where they sail model boats to the Alice in Wonderland statue for a photograph or two until we came to Belvedere Castle then after a few holidays snaps found our own bit of grass to kick back on and picnic while enjoying the sunshine and the amazing space, all in the centre of one of the world’s busiest cities.

Now raring to go again, we head out of the park through Strawberry Fields an area dedicated to John Lennon, the Dakota Building where he lived can be seen when you exit the park adjacent to this area. Time to head back into the action so for us back to the hotel for a shower and freshen up for the evening ahead.

We head to 9th Avenue and the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York, this area has a great local vibe and a varied mix of restaurants and bars, starting with cocktails at The Mercury Bar which is busy with many workers still hanging back for some drinks after work then we head to OBAO for dinner and great Thai and Vietnamese food and another cocktail! Starting to think it’s time for bed but before we do, we visit the legendary Rudy’s Bar & Grill, absolutely no-frills dive bar but if you like it ‘real’ this is fantastic, packed solid with locals and tourists (take note it’s cash only) – and probably the cheapest bar in New York, after that for us it’s time for a late evening/early morning stroll back to the hotel to rest up for some more fun tomorrow.

DAY2- We are up relatively early and decide to head off and grab breakfast on the go, New York abounds with some great breakfast joints and we are spoiled for choice, we decide to just grab coffee and fresh muffins and stop off at Herald Square, on Broadway at 35th street, a fantastic place to take a break and watch the world go by – mainly the workers heading to their offices to start their day while we relax and people watch.

Time now for some retail therapy so we visit Macy’s right on Herald Square covering an entire block and 11 retail floors, welcome to the world’s largest department store, we stock up on some extra outfits for our cruise and after a few hours browsing it’s time to head out again into the Manhattan crowds.

We continue down Broadway past endless shopping options then onto 5th avenue heading south this takes us to the Flatiron Building, you have probably seen this in magazines and on many posters and pictures depicting New York landmarks, time to take your own classic picture – go black and white for extra atmosphere!

Getting hungry now so we head into Madison Square Park and join the long queue for a burger, yes long queue, welcome to Shake Shack a modern NYC experience, try the ‘concrete’ and obviously the burgers Shake Shack style and to top it all you get to lunch in a lovely park in central Manhattan.

After lunch its back to the hotel and drop off our shopping and then a little siesta to recharge for our last night in New York. We get ready for our night out and head off just before dusk for the Empire State Building, by the time we are at the top it’s dark and you get an absolutely amazing nighttime view, I prefer it to daytime although a visit anytime of the day is still incredible.

All photo opportunities exhausted, we take the elevator down and head back up to Times Square and along to the Patzeria and Friends restaurant on West 48th Street, for some classic New York Italian, then back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep and prepare for our cruise departure next day.

Cruise Day- As we are not travelling light we jump in a cab for the short trip to the cruise terminal, give yourselves plenty of time as there may be more than one ship at the terminal so it will get really busy the closer you get to the terminal, our cab drops us across the street and we walk in. Arriving at about 11 am we are really lucky and get through without any holdups and are on board just after midday and hit the restaurant for some well-earned lunch. An afternoon finding our bearings then it’s sail away time and hard to top leaving New York by sea and passing by that amazing skyline as we head out and under the Verrazano- Narrows bridge and the start of our next adventure…

New York
NYC Skyline
Down Town
New York Cabs

New York

We found