I was looking for a 3.5+ star hotel for a pre-cruise stay leaving Manhattan, and since our flight was landing in EWR (Newark International Airport), a place nearby the airport was one of my criteria. I ended up selecting Crowne Plaza Newark via Hotwire. The rate I got for it was ~$90, though tax was like $27.
We arrived at EWR at around 4 PM. I had called the hotel ahead of time to inquire about the free hotel shuttle from the airport, and was told that we were supposed to go to a place called "P4". So after gathering our luggage, we had to take the elevator back upstairs and it turns out we had to take the "air train", an above ground rail shuttle, in order to reach P4. It was an interesting experience- our three year old toddler certainly found it fascinating.
After getting to P4, which was the designated area for complimentary hotel shuttles apparently, we had to take another elevator downstairs. There, after waiting for about 15 minutes, the Crowne Plaza Shuttle arrived. The driver helped lug our luggage up the steps of the shuttle, and we ended up tipping him a couple of dollars. The ride to the hotel took about 10 minutes, and felt a bit long-winded.
Our first impression of the outside of the hotel was that it looked like an older office building. The manager who checked us in was pleasant, as there was no line it was a quick and easy process. We were assigned room 303, which turns out to have a nice view of the parking lot.
The room had a large flat-screen TV- maybe 42". The bathroom was clean, and so was the room and the King-sized bed in general. The writing desk had a pair of USB charging plugs, which was nice. The chair was comfortable as well.
We looked for a microwave but didn't seen any, so we called front desk to ask where we could get one. To our surprise, we were told that a microwave would be brought to our room. About half an hour later, an unhappy-looking lady brought a small microwave up on a cart, though she brightened up considerably after we tipped her for her trouble.
The menu offered by the in-house restaurant didn't look too overpriced, but we had brought some food so we stuck with eating those. Halfway through our meal we noticed a baby cockroach crawling up a desk. I tried to get it but it was a quick little fellow and escaped unharmed.
As we went to bed, we quickly discovered that there was quite a bit of noise coming from the outside. The hotel is near some busy freeways/highways, and unfortunately the windows/insulation doesn't seem to do good enough of a job of reducing the sound. In the bathroom, I was also able to hear someone next door snoring loudly. The compressor of the mini-fridge in the room is also not exactly the quiet-type either. If you stay at this hotel, I certainly recommend that you bring ear plugs.
There is also no free breakfast of any sort. Checkout was quick and painless, however. Overall, would we stay at the hotel again? Probably, though it is not without cons. It is relatively cheap when you compare it to hotels closer or in Manhattan for a pre-cruise stay. Transportation from EWR area hotels such as this one to the port of New York cruise terminal, however, can cost over $100 after toll, taxes and gratuity. We used Carmel Limo (see our review) and it cost well below that. The hotel looked a bit outdated but the room accommodations were nice. I would rate this hotel 4 out of 5, but traffic noise knocks it down to an overall score of 3.5/5.