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New York New York
We had an amazing 2 nights in New York prior to boarding our cruise ship. Immigration and the journey from JFK into Manhattan a little stressful so our arrival at the delightful Kimpton Ink48 Hotel was a relief. We picked this hotel primarily for its location. A short 5 minute walk to Pier 88 where our ship will depart from on Sunday.
After showering and changing we headed up to the rooftop bar called The Press Office which had an amazing view of Manhattan, all lit up in its neon finery. Bar prices were a little eye-watering but not unexpected.
We headed out into Hells Kitchen to find something to eat. I really wanted to get some New York pizza but most of the places we saw were fast-food type places and so we spied and decided to eat in a small Mediterranean restaurant which was very good. By this time our body clocks were reminding us it was, 2am back home and so we slowly walked back to the hotel and to bed.
Coney Island and Hudson’s Yard
As is customary we awake very early but as we have a few things planned today this is fine. We breakfast at a place called the Westway Diner which did a very good Eggs Benedict. From there we walked up to Times Square to catch a Subway to Coney Island. Journey time was around 50 minutes. We arrive a little after 9am and the famous boardwalk is fairly quiet apart from a few joggers and dog walkers. We walk up and down the boardwalk before stopping for coffee and juice. Refuelled we walk to the end of the pier which is full of guys (and one lady) hauling in their catches with varying degrees of success.
We venture into a few of the gifts shops which sell mostly tacky souvenirs. We walk by the infamous Nathan’s Hotdog. Sadly its a little too early for a hotdog but we stop and take some photos anyway. We head back to the subway and soon find ourselves back in Manhattan where we catch a connecting train to Hudsons Yard. When we were last in New York in 2016 this whole area was just hole in the ground. Now its home to a group of shining modern skyscrapers that surround a new art installation called ‘The Vessel’. This piece of art seems to have divided people’s opinions on whether it is any good but we really enjoyed climbing to the top of this odd looking structure. Once done we walk the few blocks back to our hotel. Along the way we spy a little pizzeria where we enjoy some really good pizza for lunch. Just a large slice each but I thought it was delicious.
After a brief rest (our step count is well above 10k already) we walk across to Lexington Avenue to stock up on our Bath and Body Works collection. From there we walk to Macy’s for some shopping. Exhausted we hop into a taxi to take us back to the hotel. Again the traffic is bad but was worth it to save our weary legs.
We dine in a Mexican Called Hells Kitchen that night. We ate there before on our Celebrity Eclipse Cruise in 2017 and again the food and drink is very good but very filling. No late night again for us as we head back to the hotel.
We awake to a bright and sunny Sunday morning. The weather is perfect. We make an early start and walk to the Westway Diner again for breakfast. If New York is a city that never sleeps it certainly has the odd snooze as things are quieter at this time of the day. Back at the hotel, we pack our things ready to depart and head to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. We leave around 11am for the very short walk. The terminal is very busy with fellow cruisers but the seeming chaos is fairly well controlled and we are strolling up the gangway before we know it.
First stop is Spice H2O where we order two Rebellious Fish cocktails. They are so good we order a second. They are a little potent however and I can feel the effects soon after. Lunch is in the elegant setting of the Savor Restaurant. We like that these alternatives to the buffet are open on boarding day. It definitely beats the Buffet Scrumdown you can normally expect. The announcement is made whilst we are eating that the staterooms are ready and we head to Deck 10 forward to Cabin Number 10196 a category MB Mini-Suite. It’s delightful. Muster drill is a bore but as on most cruises its the only part (other than disembarkation) that we don’t enjoy.
Norwegian Escape leaves right on time at 4pm and as she turns to head down the Hudson we have an amazing view of the Manhattan Skyline. We deliberately picked portside cabins for this reason. Once we sail past the Freedom Tower we head up to the top deck to catch the Statue of Liberty which it is on the Starboard side and to also enjoy the view as the ship sails beneath the Verrazano Narrows bridge. Bridge sail unders are always great fun.
The weather is so lovely and warm that it almost feels like we are sailing out of Miami. We enjoy this balmy weather as we sip cocktails on the Waterfront. The Waterfront was a firm favourite of ours when we sailed Norwegian Breakaway back in April and although there are some slight changes on this ship its still the enjoyable outside space we remember.
Dinner is in Savor which we really enjoy. Service is very good and the food is delicious. I have Bruschetta, Caesar Salad and Turkey Escalopes with a Marsala sauce. Dessert is a Salted Caramel Brownie with Ice Cream. We tried a few bars. We really liked the tasty Mojitos at Sugarcane and the lovely wines at Cellars. All in all a very good start to our cruise. Tomorrow is a day at sea so its perfect to relax and acquaint ourselves more with NCL Escape.