Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

Opened in 2006, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal (BCT) is a new facility in Atlantic Basin that, according to the official website, "offers all the services and comforts expected from a world-class cruise facility including 200,000 square feet of flexible terminal space, sophisticated gangways, separate bus stalls, and ample parking. Dedicated embarkation and debarkation areas allow passengers to get on the ship without waiting." 

BCT is located at Pier 12 which forms the west side of the Atlantic Basin waterspace.  This is Port Authority property, leased to NYC's Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and operated by Ports America.  PortSide with our PortSide Park and historic ship MARY A. WHALEN are located inside Atlantic Basin on Pier 11, parallel to BCT.

How to get to BCT, Atlantic Basin entrances:

  • Bowne Street at Imlay: Always open. For vehicles, bikes and pedestrians. 
  • Pioneer Street at Conover: Always open. Not for cars. Bikes and pedestrians only.
  • Ferris Street at King: open 6am - 4pm. Closed when a cruise ship is in. 
People often refer to all the ships at BCT as cruise ships, but did you know there is a difference between an ocean liner and a cruise ship? The answer is here.

The QUEEN MARY 2 is an ocean liner usually going back and forth between Brooklyn and Southampton, England. The CARIBBEAN PRINCESS is a cruise ship. To see the ship schedule, look up the Brooklyn ships on the list here

When ships are in, the public can get into the terminal and quite close to the ships. When no ships are in, the gate (parallel to the northern end of Ferris Street) is locked, and the facility is secured according to Homeland Security MARSEC rules.

When cruise ships are not in, the interior space of the terminal building was increasingly being used for special events, until Covid. In fact, it became a Covid emergency hospital around April 2020; however, the hospital was never used. One lasting positive result of the hospital installation at is that wifi was finally installed!  For years, European passengers whose phones have different (non USA) SIM cards could not access the internet without wifi, and they would wander the parking lot searching for it.

There is a long-running issue pertaining to shorepower at BCT, a system whereby ships plug into the electrical grid rather than running generators that emit a lot of pollution.  The short version of it is that the original plans for BCT did not include having shorepower. The community demanded it, with Adam Armstrong being the strongest voice.  The addition of shorepower was finally approved; but the EDC did not install the right kind of crane/jib to lift up the giant electrical cable to the ship, meaning it can't be used for ships other than the QM2. In some cases, ConEd has failed to supply the correct level of power, and sometimes the QM2's own connection failed. The result is that the shorepower has worked very rarely.   The definitive source about all this is Adam Armstrong's blog, A View from the Hook.  This New York Times article provides an overview as of December, 2019.

The Atlantic Basin dates to the 1840s when it was most often known as Atlantic Dock.  The current cruise terminal building was converted from a freight terminal warehouse that was installed in 1954 during a modernization that replaced the 19th warehouses and reduced the Atlantic Basin waterspace by more than half. The water used to reach almost to Imlay Street. More about historic Atlantic Basin in Red Hook WaterStories here.

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