From Manhattan to Brooklyn, the Big Apple is full of iconic landmarks, incredible galleries, superb restaurants and some of the best shopping in the world, making it irresistible for a pre- or post-cruise stay
With its skyscrapers and five very distinctive boroughs, New York is a brilliant city for exploring – and the sail away from the Brooklyn cruise terminal, boasting views of the Statue of Liberty, is one of the great iconic cruise moments.
If you’re a first-timer then the Observation Deck at the Empire State Building will give you breathtaking views of the city, while a Circle Line boat trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island offers an intriguing insight into its history – plus there are brilliant photo opportunities of the Manhattan skyline.
For that quintessential New York experience, Central Park is a joy to walk through all year round. On a sunny day grab a hot dog from one of the Nathan’s Famous stands and simply enjoy people watching. During the colder winter months there’s also ice skating here and at The Rink by the Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue, close to St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Art lovers will be in their element at both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, which boast stunning permanent collections as well as impressive exhibitions in fabulous settings.
With its chandeliers, celestial ceiling, Tiffany glass clock and honey hues, Grand Central Station is quite simply beautiful. Opened in 1913, and carefully restored, it also has more than 90 shops and restaurants, and it’s close to the equally iconic Art Deco Chrysler Building.
Worth a visit for the observatory (it’s the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere) is One World Trade Center; it’s also where you’ll find the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, with its twin reflecting pools.
No visit to New York would be complete without a Broadway show. Current hits include Disney’s Frozen and, of course, Hamilton.
There are restaurants to suit every conceivable taste, but a fun place to dine is Bryant Park, which has cool open-air eateries and bars, plus a small ice rink in winter (New Yorkers love their ice rinks); there are also pop-up food trucks in Times Square. The cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, with its delightful staff, are also an absolute must-have (especially the Red Velvet), as are the grilled cheese sandwiches at Melt Shop, particularly if you’ve been doing lots of sight-seeing. For dinner, head to SoHo and Tribeca.
Of course, it’s almost obligatory to have a Cosmopolitan or Manhattan cocktail when you’re in New York. The mixologist at celebrated chef Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne on W44th Street is highly recommended.
If you love bargain hunting then take an extra suitcase because with big hitters like Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and, of course, Macy’s, New York is shopping heaven. A bonus is that stores including Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s offer international visitor discount cards. Get them online or show your passport at the visitors’ centres in the stores.
Where to stay
Located close to Grand Central Station and Fifth Avenue, the Sofitel New York is a discreet, luxurious boutique hotel in midtown, offering elegant, well-appointed accommodation and fabulous views. All rooms feature the sumptuous SoBed system (feathertop and duvet) guaranteed to give you a good night’s sleep, marble bathrooms with designer Lanvin and Hermès toiletries, and there is complimentary wifi throughout the hotel. Breakfast at the French brasserie, Gaby, is excellent; we recommend the Chef’s signature scrambled eggs. Rooms start from $199 per night (sofitel-new-york.com).
Viking Cruises offer 15-day sailings from New York to Bermuda and the West Indies from £3,340pp. Visit vikingcruises.co.uk.