8 Hours in New York City

Experience the Big Apple’s world of flavors, Broadway shows and adventures before or after your cruise.
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A true cultural melting pot, New York City offers a multitude of cuisines, arts and attractions across five boroughs.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

New York City is known as the Big Apple for a reason. There’s so much to experience across the city’s five boroughs, from the iconic Central Park to unforgettable Broadway shows. Lucky for you, there are a variety of Royal Caribbean cruises sailing from this bucket list destination’s backyard (Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, to be exact). Taking a cruise from New York on action-packed ships—like Liberty and Anthem of the Seas—combines the best of a trip to the bustling city with the thrill and relaxation of a getaway to the Caribbean, Bermuda or Canada and New England.

Look no further than this guide for exciting ways to get a taste of the big city—why not make the most of all it has to offer either before or after your cruise? From an invigorating trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to cuisine as diverse as the city’s community, there are experiences for lovers of art, food, culture, adventure and more.

Here are things to do and places to go for a great time in New York:

Grab a famous soft pretzel from a local street vendor as you wander the neighborhoods of Manhattan, New York.

Credit: iStock

If you want to try world-class food and drink…

Take a Bite of the Big Apple

Time it takes: It’s up to you.

Recommendation: Bring your appetite and an open mind.

Take yourself around town, or find a guided tour, and explore the food scene in several of New York’s most well-known neighborhoods. Walks through places like Chinatown, Little Italy, Harlem and Astoria will give you access to many of the well-known, delicious eateries and a sense of the various cultures that make up this diverse city. Grab a bowl of matzo ball soup in a buzzing Jewish deli, like Katz’s Delicatessen, or savor a platter of dim sum with friends at Nom Wah tea parlor in downtown Chinatown.


Experience Prohibition Vibes in Modern Day

Time it takes: It’s up to you.

Recommendation: Ask the bartender for a recommendation; they know best.

Interested in enjoying craft cocktails in an exclusive setting? Explore some of the city’s most famed speakeasies. You can head to the East Village and find “secret” bars like Please Don’t Tell, only accessible through a vintage phone booth at the back of a hot dog joint, or the Upper East Side to check out Key & Heels, a hidden bar behind a locksmith and shoe repair shop. And go out to Brooklyn’s Williamsburg to find La Milagrosa, a mezcal bar at the back of a deli.


Enjoy All the Carbs

Time it takes: It’s up to you.

Recommendation: Don’t forget to save some for later.

Welcome to the epicenter of bread: New York City is home to the best slices of pizza, pretzels, hot dogs and bagels. Design your own culinary tour to hit up the city’s most popular spots, including Gray’s Papaya, Joe’s Pizza, Ess-a-Bagel and Murray’s Bagels. And to indulge in something sweet afterward, look out for Levain Bakery—home of New York’s most famous cookie, a 6-ounce chocolate chip and walnut delight.

Pro tip: A variety of ships, including Anthem of the Seas, feature a Dog House, a grab-and-go hot dog joint that serves a range of different sausages and toppings from around the world like The Big Apple, a chicken sausage cooked with apple.


Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art to marvel at a world-renowned collection of more than two million works.

Credit: iStock

If you want to dive into culture …

Experience Art from Around the World

Time it takes: 2-3 hours

Recommendation: Take a few minutes to admire the front steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art before walking in.

The big city is known for its wide range of arts and cultural institutions, most notably the Metropolitan Museum of Art—aka the Met. As the largest art museum in the United States, the Met’s collection spans more than 5,000 years of art from around the world. There’s a lot to cover, and a guided tour is a great place to start because you’ll see the best of the best—from the Egyptian wing to the impressionist galleries.


Experience the Magic of Broadway

Time it takes: 3 hours

Recommendation: Bring home your playbill.

There’s no business like show business in “the city that never sleeps.” One of the things New York does best is entertainment—on Broadway and off-Broadway. Catch a show or go on a guided tour through the famed Theater District that will take you behind the scenes of several of the most storied theaters, such as the Gershwin Theater (home to “Wicked”), and shows like Tony Award winners “The Lion King” and “The Book of Mormon.”

Pro tip: Royal Caribbean is an entertainment powerhouse, too. On board, there are full-scale productions, musicians, comedians—even Broadway shows. You can see “Cats” on Oasis of the Seas and “We Will Rock You” on Anthem of the Seas.


Take a Walk in the City

Time it takes: 2 hours

Recommendation: Invest in a MetroCard pass for the day.

Take a walk along the High Line, the city’s manmade nature trail, for stunning views of Hudson Yards, Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. At the end of your stroll, you’ll find the Whitney Museum of American Art—featuring a collection of 25,000 works by more than 3,600 American artists like Josh Kline and Henry Taylor.


Take to the skies in a helicopter for a bird’s-eye view of the city.

Credit: iStock

If you’re seeking adventure …

Go Sky High Around the City

Time it Takes: 2 hours

Recommendation: Bring. Your. Camera.

Embark on a journey over the skyline for an unprecedented view of New York. A tour like this can take you from Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, near Brooklyn, up to George Washington Bridge and everywhere in between. It’s one of the best ways to take in the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, to name a few.


Bike the Bridge

Time it takes: 2 hours

Recommendation: Grab your helmet and get ready for some incredible sights.

Hop on a bicycle to explore Brooklyn Bridge and the areas around it, including its namesake park. Brooklyn Bridge Park is a great place for a range of activities, from roller skating to volleyball, even kayaking. And there are views to behold, including the public art scattered throughout and wildlife, like laughing gulls and finches.


Stroll Around Central Park

Time it takes: It’s up to you.

Recommendation: Check the weather before going.

Escape the city’s hustle and bustle on a walk through Central Park. See famous landmarks, like Bow Bridge and Bethesda Fountain, and enjoy the park’s historic, natural beauty across 843 acres. While you’re there, you can also take a gondola ride around the Lake from The Loeb Boathouse, stop and smell the flowers at the Conservatory Garden or lie out on the Great Lawn.

Pro tip: Believe it or not, Oasis Class ships have their very own Central Park. Amble around their thousands of live plants and winding pathways and stop to listen to live music or have a drink at one of the many bars and restaurants around.


Catch a note of New York’s hottest jazz performances at clubs like the Village Vanguard.

Credit: iStock

If you’re looking for entertainment after dark…

Channel Your Inner Jazz Enthusiast

Time it takes: It’s up to you.

Recommendation: Make reservations where you can.

If you like to check out the music scene wherever you vacation, a Greenwich Village jazz club crawl is the answer. It’s one of New York’s most famous neighborhoods and the spot to catch incredible live performances: Famous clubs include The Cafe Society and Village Vanguard. And in Harlem—where the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s changed American music forever—look for hotspots like Bill’s Place, a true Prohibition-era music room (it’s BYOB).

Pro tip: Music fans can rejoice at Music Hall onboard ships like Oasis and Anthem of the Seas, where there’s a rotating set list of cover bands and music.


Laugh It Off

Time it takes: It’s up to you.

Recommendation: Remember who performs—you never know who will make it big!

If you’re in need of a good laugh, check out one of New York’s famous comedy shows at places like Comedy Cellar and Comic Strip Live. Comedy has a long history in the city—not only has “Saturday Night Live” filmed at Rockefeller Center since 1975, well-known comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Sarah Silverman and Kevin Hart all performed on stages across New York before becoming famous.


Get Up on Your Feet…Literally

Time it takes: It’s up to you.

Recommendation: Be ready to take pictures.

Check out the rooftop bars and clubs New York has to offer. Popular options include Public Hotel, The Delancey and Gallow Green—all boasting spectacular skyline views for the perfect photo op with friends. Find your favorite or map out a route to a few different spots to make your own rooftop tour. In store are metropolitan memories you’ll never forget.


That’s just a taste of all the experiences New York has to offer. Find out more and browse the cruises you can take from the area here.