Bon Voyage! Getting Around NYC by Water (City Guide Magazine)


Bon Voyage! Getting Around NYC by Water

April 17, 2015 - by Linda Sheridan

New York City is one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Today, our fleets of water taxis, ferries and cruise ships offer many more options. Now you can book a landmark sightseeing cruise, an ecolife cruise, indulge in a holiday brunch cruise, enjoy a happy hour/DJ dance party on the water, or hit Ikea, a music festival at Governor's Island or Oktoberfest at Bear Mountain.

If you’re short on time but want to get in as much sightseeing as possible with ease, try New York Water Taxi. Their hop-on/hop-off All-Day Access Pass includes use of both the boat and double-decker bus, stopping at many of the city’s top neighborhoods and attractions, including the Intrepid and the 9/11 Memorial. Other tours include the 1-hour Statue of Liberty Express and the Statue by Night Tour (daily at 7:30pm). Want to hit IKEA for a day of shopping? Their Ikea Express Shuttle runs daily from Wall Street’s Pier 11. It’s $5 weekdays, FREE weekends. Beginning in May, be sure to check out their Zephyr Happy Hour House on the Hudson, and Saturday Night Dance Cruises. 

Feel the need for speed? This May, NYWT brings back the SHARK speedboat ride (above), a white-knuckle, 30 minute adventure ride along the Manhattan shoreline, with a guided tour and great tunes. Might want to bring a rain slicker-you will get wet! Passengers must be at least 40" tall to ride.  The SHARK leaves from Pier 16, by South Street Seaport. 

NYWT now offers a special 5.5 hr VIP All Access Tour. It includes: a private tour of the Empire State Building before it opens to the public; the chance to admire Midtown’s top attractions — such as Rockefeller Center and Times Square — on an open-top bus tour; skip the line at the Intrepid Museum to see the Space Shuttle Enterprise; enjoy a walking tour of Battery Park and Lower Manhattan; visit the 9/11 Memorial with a reserved Visitor Pass; and take a Hop-On/Hop-Off cruise at your leisure for photo opportunities of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Lower Manhattan monuments and the dazzling New York City skyline. You better be an earlier riser, though, this tour departs at 7:30am!

City Sightseeing New York Cruises offers a Hop-On, Hop-Off Ferry Tour, offering some of the best views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Battery Park, Governor’s Island, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, South Street Seaport, Chrysler Building, and more.

For those that want to visit monuments, Statue Cruises provides exclusive water tour service to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. Their boats depart from Battery Park City and Liberty State Park, providing memorable tours to these icons of American culture. First stop is Liberty Island, the 12-acre home of the Statue of Liberty. Next stop is Ellis Island, home to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. The ferry ride and island grounds are a favorite destination for family vacations and reunions, school and group trips, and Ellis Island also provides a clear view of both the New York City and New Jersey skylines.

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises' 2.5 hr Best of NYC Cruise takes a bite out of the Big Apple, covering the Statue of Liberty, Randall's Island, Gracie Mansion, South Street Seaport, Cloisters, Yankee Stadium and more. For a shorter tour, jump onboard their 1.5 hr. Harbor Lights Cruise, and bask in the glow of the setting sun. Beverages, food, and souvenirs are available on board cruises.


Adventurous types can indulge with the Circle Line's BEAST, a 30 minute, 45 mph speedboat ride, that flies across New York Harbor. The BEAST, which leaves from Pier 83 at 42nd Street, will be running May 2 to Sept. 27.

Spirit Cruises NYC

Spirit Cruises offer an entertaining and unique combination of dining, dancing, entertainment and spectacular views. Cruising year-round from Chelsea Piers, the Spirit of New York offers lunch, Eat, Drink and B. Mary brunch cruises, cocktail, Fleet Week (May 20-26), full moon and dinner cruises.

With four stunning vessels, World Yacht Cruises offers a variety of holiday cruises (Mother's Day, Father's Day, July 4th), as well as brunch and four-course dinner cruises along the Hudson River. Great for charters and private events. World Yacht departs from Pier 81 at W. 41st Street.

For a five star dining experience, Bateaux New York offers a variety of special dining cruise events, from monthly Moonlight Cruises, to Sightseeing Lunch and Dinner Cruises, holiday cruises and more. Bateaux's cruises leaves from Pier 61 at Chelsea Piers.

For those on a tight budget that still want to catch a glimpse of the glorious Manhattan skyline, the Staten Island Ferry leaves every half hour between 7am and 11pm, commuting between the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. It’s about a 25-minute ride each way. Best of all, it is FREE.

Governors Island is opening this year May 23. Ferry service, also FREE, will run between 10am and 6pm on weekdays and until 7pm on weekends.



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