Monday, July 1, 2013

Cruise into the City that Never Sleeps

Cruise into the City that Never Sleeps
There are many words to describe New York, The Big Apple; the city that never sleeps: iconic; eclectic; electrifying; magnetic; tall; intoxicating; utterly addictive. Many people who live there or have visited will tell you that there is no other city in the world quite like it. Exhilarating, breathtaking and non-stop, your visit to the city of New York will pick you up, transport you and deposit you on your departure with the distinct feeling that you will never be quite the same again.
As a visitor on a brief stay in the city, you can thrill to the unforgettable experience of the vitality and diversity that is New York. It would be impossible to cover all there is to do and see in the space of a few days, so when you plan your visit you will have to be ruthless in deciding your personal absolutely “must see” places. This is especially true if your time in New York is part of a wider itinerary, touring the States by road or as a luxury cruise destination.  What you feel is the unmissable, quintessential spirit of New York will depend, in part at least, on your personal tastes and interests. With the boundless historical and cultural destinations; the gastronomic adventures and the shopping, you will not have time to become bored. New York by day is one city and by night another and exploring both is a must. While many will undoubtedly include the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, a boat trip to Ellis Island, or Central Park in their sightseeing, there are other delights to discover too.
Cruise Stopovers in New York
When arriving by cruise ship, you will moor either in Manhattan or Brooklyn, depending on your cruise. Disembarking in Manhattan will put you almost in the heart of New York with about a 20 minute walk to Times Square and Broadway. Berthing in Brooklyn will leave you with a bit more of a trek, but either flag a yellow taxi or take one of the many ferries operating between Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan and other stop off points. No matter where you berth, it is a really good idea to make a note of your berth number – just to save yourself any problems on the way back to ship.
Many cruises will have organized day tours available during your stopover in New York. You can take advantage of one of these city tours or go it alone and take in just the places that appeal to you. Why not take a bike tour through Central Park? You can rent a bike and take in the Park by yourselves for a couple of hours, or sign up for the two-hour Central Park Bike Tour. For a really special trip around Central Park you could go by horse and carriage and take in the sights. With sculptures and monuments; bridges, lakes and historic buildings such as the Blockhouse (Central Park’s oldest building), Central Park Zoo and the Conservatory Garden, to name but a few; you could spend the entirety of your visit to New York in this world renowned park.
Collect a Few Shopping Bags
For shopping, you are spoilt for choice and may run out of credit cards before you run out of stores to visit. Whether Saks (at 611 5th Avenue) is more to your liking or you prefer Bergdorf Goodman (at 754 5th Avenue) you will be elbow to elbow with some of the most discerning shoppers in New York. As well as these two flagship stores, you can take in Macy’s over on West 34th Street or Bloomingdales on 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. As an overseas visitor, take your passport with you and register with customer services at Bloomingdales or Macy’s to receive  either complimentary discounts on your purchases or gifts (offers may vary). 5th Avenue, between 49th and 60th Streets is also home to what are perhaps the most exclusive boutiques anywhere in the world. Stroll down here and enjoy taking in the crème de la crème of designer stores, parfumiers and jewelers.
Enjoy the Gardens
Why not walk the High Line, the highest public park in New York, built on a historic freight rail line above the streets of Manhattan? Running from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street, these public gardens feature lawns and flower borders, interspersed with some outstanding modern art (you can take a walking tour with one of the curators of High Line Art to get a real insight into the pieces on display) – all at rooftop level, giving you the chance to get a birds’ eye view of Manhattan during your stroll. You can stop off and enjoy a coffee or a bite to eat at one of the many eateries. With stargazing, nature walks, dancing and music events taking place, the High Line is totally unique in its location and facilities – making it a real pleasure to spend time there.
The Dining Experience
An opulent and totally luxurious experience awaits you at The Russian Tea Room. Lunch or high tea; breakfast or dinner; you are certain to enjoy the Russian overtones of your meal here. With amazing ambience and superlative service, you will leave here feeling both spoiled and decadent. This iconic New York restaurant has been host to the political and cultural elite of New York for around eighty years since its foundation by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet in 1927. Why not combine a visit to this amazing restaurant with your theater trip to Broadway and soak up the atmosphere.
With so much to choose from, you couldn’t hope to take in everything on one visit, so it is certain that you will want to return again and again to continue exploring this extraordinary metropolis.
Article by Julie Cowley

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