My suggestion, take the train! I live outside Philly and we sailed the Dawn in March of 04. The train is the way to go. Penn Station is about a 5 minute cab ride to the pier. When we arrived (at the pier) the traffic was so bad I just told the cabbie to stop and let us out. We walked about a block and a half and got right in the elevator. (Helps to have wheeled luggage!) We also walked right past the ship so we had some great early photo ops.
We were on a 7 day so the train fare was about comparable to the parking fees. I would imagine you'd save money on a 10 day cruise by taking the train.
That's my suggestion, for what it's worth. No matter how you go, arrive early, they started boarding us around 11 or so and it was great. We were on board before noon and just walked around exploring watching everyone who was arriving late just lining up. The Venetian was open so we went in and had lunch and watched the boats go by on the Hudson. Very cool!
No matter what, you'll have a fabulous time. The Dawn is a wonderful ship and you'll never be at a loss for something to do. My favorite days were the "sea" days. Just to relax and not think...that's the best. Try Le Bistro if you're planning any specialty restaurants. Just to sit among all that original art was something. Plus, service and food were fantastic. The only specialty we didn't try was Cagney's as we figured we could get a steak anywhere in the ship, what was the point.
Darryl, I think taking the train to New York is an excellent suggestion. I'm outside Washington, DC and always take the train to New York, for whatever reason I'm heading up there. From Albany, it's a cinch.
One thing to be aware of, for those sailing from New York, is that it could take quite a while to get a taxi at the pier after disembarking. I cruised from New York in May, and I along with about 100 of my former shipmates, were all waiting for taxis to drive up to the pier. There is someone out there coordinating things, as in, giving out numbers as you come outside, so everyone gets into a taxi according to your numbered ticket. We got off the ship relatively quickly (with only carry-on luggage and not needing to stop to claim luggage) and we were #48. It took about 35 minutes for it to be our turn to take the next taxi.
Seriously, it is a great idea and can save a lot of time when leaving the pier. The more ships in port, and the later you disembark, the more of a nightmare the taxi line becomes. Actually, it turns into a disorganized mess. Do not, however, accept a ride from a driver who solicits your business inside the terminal. Instead, walk toward 11th Avenue, and you will find a taxi very quickly. At least we did on several occasions.
As for the train -- superb idea. The parking rate at the NY Passenger Ship Terminal is currently $24 per day. Depending upon the number in your party, you may save a few bucks by taking the train.
When we arrived back in NYC we got really lucky. We were fully prepared for the "Freestyle" way of doing things and as such, didn't really have hurrying in mind. We were sitting in one of the lounges (can't remember which one) when a crew member walked by and was sort of grabbing people as she walked asking "are you ready to disembark?" We said "sure" and she took us below and we exited the ship I think on deck 5 right at street level. That was really cool and we just went inside, grabbed our bags which were miraculously right up front and headed for the cab. We did have to queue but I believe we waited maybe 10 minutes. However, I will point out that this was nearly two years ago and the popularity of the NYC port has really grown since that time. We were the only ship in port when we departed and when we arrived.
I guess if you're really up for adventure you could just walk back to Penn if it's a nice day. I don't think it's really that far. We were willing to wait since we did bring back more than we brought and I wouldn't have felt like schlepping all of that stuff through the streets of NYC!
Also, speaking of schlepping, do yourselves a favor and think about using the laundry services on board. I think they discount starting on Thursday (on a 7 day, don't know about 10 or 11 day) and take LESS! We brought so much stuff that just hung in the closet and although the storage is spacious for a cabin, it's still small compared to what you're used to in a hotel. We swore next time we'd take half the stuff and buy whatever we need in ports and such. After all when you think about it it's a great way to bring back a souvenir that you can actually use!
I seem to have deviated from the "parking" thread here...sorry.
I'm an hororary Noo Yawkah and love to walk, I think nothing of several miles and this is no doubt why tourist always think I'm from there. Anyway, you're right, that is quite a schlep, especially with even a small amount of luggage.
I like the idea of walking east and we'll probably do that next time. Cross your fingers for us, we think we'll be taking the Dawn (or the Spirit) again sometime in the spring. Don't even care WHERE we go, just need to get away. It depends on my job and if Paul has some space he can clear on his calendar to not have any closings. (he sells real estate) If I could do it I'd head there right now (I still have about 1 1/2 hours before they sail) can I make it?
Darryl, this is a bit off topic, but since I just did a lot of NY walking, I thought I'd mention it. I was in Manhattan on Monday and had a great time, not only because NY is such a great city for walking, but because this time of year, it's unbeatable. I walked from 72nd and Park over to 5th, and then down to 37th, stopping of course at Rockefeller Center to see the tree, watch the skaters, and peek into the "Today" show studio before heading back to 5th Ave. Then I was getting a bit cold, so I walked east on 37th to Madison, and walked back up to 72nd.
The decorations are beautiful, as always. I particularly enjoyed the windows at Saks, Lord & Taylor and Barney's. The city was mobbed, as usual, and being part of the crowd just gave me more energy. Now if I could just learn to walk a little more slowly!
By my clock, you still have an hour to make the Dawn! Hurry! I'm looking forward to HAL's new Noordam to start sailing from Manhattan. Lots of possibilities there.