beautiful view from the Cross Sound Ferry on the way from Orient Point, NY to New London, CT

Taking the Cross Sound Ferry = #betterthandriving (much better)

Would you choose spend four to five hours driving to save a thousand dollars on airfare?

We did that a couple of times, when it turned out that flights to Europe from the JKF Airport were much cheaper than those from Boston’s Logan Airport, the airport closest to where we live.

The JFK Airport in New York City is “just” a couple hundred miles away from Boston, which means an about four-hour drive without traffic.

The crucial word here is “traffic,” though.

One time when we were coming back from Europe the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the traffic between New York City and Boston was so bad, it took close to seven hours to get back home. We were completely exhausted when we got back home.

That trip from hell was one of the reasons we decided to try the Cross Sound Ferry after coming back from this year’s vacation in Europe.

Turns out traveling by ferry is a much more pleasant way to travel, even if it doesn’t save a whole lot of time.

Getting to Cross Sound Ferry in Orient Point, NY

The dock for the Cross Sound Ferry on Long Island is in Orient Point, on the tip of the North Fork – a 30-mile-long peninsula in the northeast part of Suffolk County, New York.

It takes about two hours to get there:

route from the JFK airport to the Cross Sound Ferry on Long Island
route from the JFK airport to the Cross Sound Ferry on Long Island

Once you get past the suburbs, you’ll see many fields, wineries, farm stands, and more fields on your way.

The North Fork area is also full of gorgeous views like this one:

a beautiful cove on North Fork, on the way to the Cross Sound Ferry in Orient Point, NY
a beautiful cove on North Fork, on the way to the Cross Sound Ferry in Orient Point, NY

Getting on the Cross Sound Ferry

The Cross Sound Ferry brochure and the ticket information

“strongly recommend you arrive at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes in advance of your scheduled departure.”

The arriving cars are directed to one of the twelve or so lanes in front of the dock, and the first cars to drive onto the ferry are those with “Priority Service.

Some cars that were at the end of one of the last lanes for the ferry we took didn’t get a spot, and I guess had to wait for the next ferry, half an hour later.

cars still getting onto the Cross Sound Ferry after we got on and were already on the upper deck
cars still getting onto the Cross Sound Ferry after we got on and were already on the upper deck, not all of them got on

Arriving early just to hold your spot may sound like a waste of time, but the beach area next to the ferry is quite pleasant, and the view is lovely. We didn’t mind it at all. In fact, I wished we had enough time to go for a walk down the beach, all the way to the tip of Orient Point.

several men fishing by the dock of the Cross Sound Ferry in Orient Point, NY
several men fishing by the dock of the Cross Sound Ferry in Orient Point, NY

On the Cross Sound Ferry

Once you park your car on the lower deck, you’ll need to go up to the higher level. Passengers are not permitted to stay on the car level.

the cars make the trip waiting on the lower level
the cars make the trip waiting on the lower level

Don’t worry, the middle level has plenty of space for the passengers.

Enjoying the Views

Once the trip begins, you can do what I did, and spend most of the trip standing at the front of the boat, gazing out into the ocean:

view from the middle level at the front of the boat as the ferry was coming into the New London, CT harbor
view from the middle level at the front of the boat as the ferry was coming into the New London, CT harbor

If you’d rather sit down, as you’re enjoying the views, you can do that from one of the benches lining the sides of the boat on the middle level:

both sides of the middle level of the ferry have benches where you can sit down to enjoy the view
both sides of the middle level of the ferry have benches where you can sit down to enjoy the view

You can also go to the top deck:

the top deck on the Cross Sound Ferry
the top deck on the Cross Sound Ferry

Inside the Cross Sound Ferry

If you don’t want to be outside, you can sit in one of the comfy chairs, arranged theatre style, in a room facing the front:

theatre style chairs on the Cross Sound Ferry facing the front window
theatre style chairs on the Cross Sound Ferry facing the front window

Both sides of that room also have seats arranged around tables, where you could sit with your family or friends, and have a meal or just relax:

booth-style table for four
booth-style table for four

All Cross Sound ferries have a deli, where you can buy beverages, and a meal – breakfast, lunch, or a simple snack. You can have an omelet for $3.00, a turkey club for $7.95, the hot dogs are between $3.95 and $5.50, and if you’re not that hungry, you can get yourself a serving of onion rings for $3.50 or nachos for $4.00.

onion rings and nachos served with sour cream and salsa
onion rings and nachos served with sour cream and salsa

Larger ferries operated by the Cross Sound Ferry company also offer a full bar:

full bar on the Cross Sound Ferry
full bar on the Cross Sound Ferry

You can also spend the 1.5-hour trip in the TV lounge:

TV lounge on the Cross Sound Ferry
TV lounge on the Cross Sound Ferry

But why would you want to waste your time watching TV when you can enjoy views like these, I really do not know:

view onto the ocean from the Cross Sound Ferry
view onto the ocean from the Cross Sound Ferry

And yes, the ferry also has bathrooms.

Views around New London, CT

Once you start getting into the harbor in New London, CT if the weather is nice you might want to get out to enjoy the views:

a sailboat close to the New London, CT harbor
a sailboat close to the New London, CT harbor

or see a submarine at the MWR Naval Submarine Base:

can you see the submarines in this photo?
can you see the submarines in this photo?

The day when we traveled on the Cross Sound Ferry, New London, CT port hosted El Galeón, a 170 foot, 495 ton, authentic wooden replica of a galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet.

El Galeon in the New London, CT port
El Galeon in the New London, CT port

Schedules and Tickets

To schedule your trip whether from Orient Point, NY to New London, CT or the other way around, go to the Schedules page.

The tickets for one adult with a car are $59.00 or $55.00 if you book ahead. Each additional adult is $17.00 (or $15.75 with a reservation).

The kids pay $6.00.

Does the ferry save time?

IF there is no traffic, traveling by car the whole way will take you between four to five hours, which is just about how long it will take you to drive to the ferry dock on Orient Point, NY and then from the New London, CT port to the Boston area.

Since the boat takes about 1.5 hours to get between both points, and you have to be at the ferry half an hour before departure time, taking the Cross Sound Ferry probably won’t save you a whole lot of time, unless you’re traveling on a very busy day, and the roads are packed with traffic jams.

route from New London, CT to Boston, MA
route from New London, CT to Boston, MA

HOWEVER, if you’re not in a huge hurry to get back home after flying back from your travels, getting to New England from Long Island on a ferry is a MUCH more pleasant way to travel than sitting in the traffic on I-95 North.

I would highly recommend it, if your family likes water views and adventures like that.

Disclaimer: We would like to thank the Cross Sound Ferry for providing our family with free tickets for this trip. We did not receive any additional compensation for writing this article, and the text, photos, and all opinions are our own, as always.

Cross Sound Ferry Cruises

In addition to providing ferry services between Orient Point, NY and New London, CT, the Cross Sound Ferry also runs Light House Cruises out of New London CT, which visit several light houses in the area, as well as Fort Trumbull and Fort Griswold.

Little Gull light house
Little Gull light house

Sounds like an interesting adventure for a weekend, doesn’t it?

Invitation to #WeekendWanderlust Link Up

#WeekendWanderlust, hosted by Chris & Heather from A Brit and a Southerner, Jessi & Tara from Outbound Adventurer, Ashley from A Southern Gypsy, Justin and Lauren from Justin Plus Lauren, and yours truly, is a collaborative effort to share travel blog posts, and to discuss all travel-related things.

The hosts organize each week a link up through which travel bloggers from around the world can promote their posts, in exchange for a promise to give some attention to other travel bloggers. (One of the rules for linking up is to comment on three linked up posts.)

If the link up is still open, feel free to add a link to one of your posts below, then comment on at least three other linked up posts.

If you leave a comment on this post, I will reciprocate with a comment as soon as I can!

#WeekendWanderlust link up logo
#WeekendWanderlust link up logo

 


30 thoughts on “Taking the Cross Sound Ferry = #betterthandriving (much better)”

    1. Thank you for reading, Robin. Your kids might try a different way of getting to NYC and back some time. You should try it!

  1. We live on the West Coast so haven’t spent much time on the east coast. This is very interesting to know though. I often see cheap flights going out of Boston to Europe, but for us our cheap flights are to NY!

    And I really want to go on a car ferry! i’ve never been on one.. I might have to fit this adventure into an up coming trip East!
    Karilyn recently posted…Tips on Traveling with Other FamiliesMy Profile

    1. Thank you for reading, Karilyn! Ferries are fun, you should try it some time. I’m sure there are some on the West Coast as well, aren’t there?

  2. Makes all the sense in the world to drive for a few hours to save $1000. Not only that, but it makes sense to drive even longer if you have a lot of luggage to carry. The airlines are so restrictive, that many times you are forced to choose the driving option. But spending 7 hours between Boston and New York is not fun either. Well, I guess the ferry is good choice.
    Anda recently posted…The Glacier Express – Why I Wouldn’t Ride It AgainMy Profile

    1. Thank you for reading, Anda! Sometimes it’s not about how to get there fastest, and in those cases we go for the most pleasant way to travel. I love being on boats and seeing the ocean all around me!

  3. I love any excuse to take a ferry. Such a fun way to travel. Many summers in a row we took the high speed ferry across lake Michigan between WI and MI. Saved us from Chicago traffic and hours driving around the lake and was always pleasant.
    Erin recently posted…How to Plan a Family Road TripMy Profile

    1. Thank you for reading, Erin! Ferries are fun, aren’t they? So much more relaxing, standing on the dock, letting the wind mess up your hair, than being stuck in traffic!

    1. Thank you for reading, Sarah! Yes, that’s what I liked about it – it was much more relaxing, and it was like we were still on vacation, instead of just driving home.

    1. Thank you for reading, Danielle! If you ever find yourself on the East Coast of the United States, you definitely should take this route from New York City on your way to Boston, Massachusetts!

    1. Thank you for reading, Brenda and Andrew! I’m surprised you haven’t heard of the ferry before! It is a much more scenic way, and yes, when you’re back in the U.S. and traveling to Boston, you should definitely check it out.

    1. Thank you for reading, Kirsten, and thank you for sharing this with your sister. The ferry ride sure is fun, and if you don’t need to transport your car as well, but just going there and back, it would be cheaper too.

  4. We regularly drive the 2.5-3+ (depends on traffic! :) hours to Dulles International Airport near D.C. for our Europe trips, but I also keep an eye on Baltimore airport for cheap fare, especially since WOWAir has opened routes through there. We used to drive the 95 corridor from VA to MA all the time to visit my grandparents when they were alive and living in Foxboro. I’d never heard about this ferry, though!
    Katrina Elisabet recently posted…Tears & Tantrums at the Trevi FountainMy Profile

    1. Thank you for reading, Katrina! The ferry has been in operation for quite a while, I believe. It’s too bad so many people seem to have never heard of it.

  5. This is such a great idea! We’ve often made the drive to the US from Canada to save on prices (it is often hundreds of dollars in savings AFTER gases and other travel expenses to get to the airport as Pearson Airport taxes are quite hefty) and this would be an amazing way to add to the adventure and make it a road trip and a ferry ride!!! We’re always looking for ways to make our trips and travels extra special and this ferry ride is definitely a great way!
    Carolann & Macrae – One Modern Couple recently posted…Songdo: South Korea’s Smartest City?My Profile

    1. Thank you for reading, Carolann & Macrae! I heard that people drive from Canada to the U.S. to save on airfares, though coming from Toronto to the JFK, you wouldn’t choose this route. Should you ever find yourself traveling up or down the East Coast, though, the ferry sure would make a nice for a nice variety in modes of transportation. :)

    1. Thank you for reading, Lauren! The ferry from St. John in New Brunswick to Digby in Nova Scotia is great as well, saves quite a bit of driving. I guess you could say we like to take the road less traveled :)

    1. Aw, I wish my commute took me on a ferry! Unfortunately… Though at least I get to see some nice forests and the Walden Pond for a while, before the landscape gives way to suburban and then urban views. But nothing beats water views! As I’m sure you very well know.

  6. I’m a huge fan of slow traveling and traveling by boat, so this was awesome to read! Last ferry ride I took was in Southern California, from Newport Beach to Balboa Island. It was the quickest ride ever, but still fun. Next time I’m in the area, I want to take the ferry to Coronado Beach from San Diego instead of driving over the bridge. Have you all been?
    Lo @ Travel the Unbeaten Path recently posted…Tanque Verde Ranch: A quintessential Western AdventureMy Profile

    1. Thank you for reading, Lo! I’ve taken a couple of ferry rides with and without cars before, but we had never been to California. I’m sure it’s awesome! Thanks for the suggestion!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge