Hi Mr/Mrs Giles. There's no need to worry. Brooklyn terminal is only "a bridge away" from Manhattan Island and all that New York City has to offer. You will typically dock at around 7am. Lets say that you disembark at around 8am, my guess is that you will be standing in New York City by around 9am - even allowing for the rush hour traffic. If you want to "comfortably" arrive back at the ship in good time, I would leave New York at around 2 - 2.30pm which should see you arrive back at QM2 before 4pm. In total, this will give you a good 5 hours in the City and provided you've planned your time properly, you should certainly be able to not only see the Empire State Building but you should be able to do a bit of shopping etc.,
Regarding the taxi situation, I really don't know. However, as you can imagine the arrival of a cruise ship provides hundreds of "instant customers" for the taxi firms and as such I find it hard to believe that they would pass up the opportunity. If you are genuinely concerned, you can of course per-book a taxi. I have used a company called www.limos.com in the past. They will provide you with several competing quotes for transport from the docks to the city for any type of vehicle from (of course) limos to simple town cars. Expect to pay around $80 this way (as opposed to around $40 in a yellow cab). Log onto their website & see what you think.
Finally, please don't think you've made a mistake. You are booked onto a fabulous cruise and while it is always nice to spend a few days in NYC, you will be making the return journey on QM2 instead - I know which I'd prefer. Just remember to take a new pair of trousers with a 2 inch bigger waist than normal ... after 12 days on QM2, you'll need them !!
Have a wonderful time.
Thank you so much for your in-depth response, which is really appreciated.
I will certainly look into pre-booking the limo and now feel far more relaxed regarding this. As you cite 5 hours in New York is sufficient time and is in fact the length of time I was hoping we might have.
In closing can I again thank you for all your help and advice.
We haven't done the round trip but we did sail on QM2 transatlantic to New York last year. The cruise was out of this world and I can't wait to sail again in January to the Caribbean. Sailing from New York this time.
When we arrived at Brooklyn last year we had disembarked by 8.30 and didn't have any problems picking up a taxi. I don't know why people say they are hard to get as we had no problem whatsoever. The journey into the city centre will probably take approximately 20 - 30 minutes depending on rush hour traffic. You will easily have time to do the Empire State Building although I would get there as early as possible. There are queues but they are well managed. The experience is fantastic and the view on a clear day is well worth the queue. Just down from the ESB is the New York Public Library which is also worth a visit and if you look across the road from there you can see the Chrysler Building a short walk away. Both the ESB and library are on 5th avenue so you will be able to window shop as you stroll around. There are some brilliant delis in this area as well where you can pick up some good but cheap food to eat on the run. Further down 5th avenue is St Patrick's Cathedral which is beautiful and this is across the road from Rockerfellow Centre and close to Tiffanys and Saks. In five hours you can see lots of exiting places and all on one street. You will easily pick up a taxi here to take you back to the ship but make sure you leave before 3.30 when the end of day rush hour starts.
Enjoy your trip. Just think of the extra hours you will gain travelling west and how wonderful it will be to arrive home rested, relaxed and no jet lag. How I envy you. By the way the ship will pass close the the Statue of Liberty and the berth is almost straight across from her. Don't forget to get up early to watch as the ship sails under the Verrazano Bridge. You will be lucky going that time of year as dawn will be breaking and you should have a wonderful view of Manhattan.
Thank you so much for all your advice with regard to my posted questions.
Also thank you for the additional advice regarding potential sightseeing opportunities.
Both your and Eyre's responses have made us feel far more relaxed about the whole trip and we are looking forward to what will be a fantastic holiday.
P.S. Based upon your feedback we have already booked an additional trip to the Mediterranean on the QM2 in July!
I would just hire myself a limo and go right on ahead. However, if would stink if you lost the boat. They are unlikely to leave without you, though.
Driving around a on port would be prime. That way you don't have to be watch the road and you can watch the scenery.