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Bon Voyage! A Guide to Getting Around NYC by Water

September 8, 2014 - by Linda Sheridan

New York City is one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Around-the-clock water taxis, cruises, and ferries are ready to transport you to historical landmarks such as Ellis and Liberty Islands, as well as destinations that host some of the city’s biggest music festivals, Governors Island and Randall’s Island. There’s also the seaport community City Island, home to some of the best seafood restaurants in town.

The Staten Island Ferry

For those on a tight budget that want to catch a glimpse of the 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.

Ferry service to Governors Island (open every day through September 28) is also FREE. Service runs between 10am and 6pm on weekdays and until 7pm on weekends. www.govisland.com

New York Water Taxi

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, noon-9pm, FREE weekends, 11:20am-9pm.

NYWT now offers a special 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.

City Sightseeing New York Hop On Hop Off Cruises

City Sightseeing New York Cruises noe offers a new Hop-On, Hop-Off Ferry Tour, offering some of the best view 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

On Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises' three-hour Circle Line Full Island tour, circumnavigate Manhattan Island and see it all: three rivers, seven major bridges, five boroughs, and more than 25 world-famous landmarks, including a close-up of the Statue of Liberty. For a shorter tour, jump onboard their two-hour Harbor Lights Cruise, and bask in the glow of the setting sun. Beverages, food, and souvenirs are available on board.

Cruises not only provide great sightseeing opportunities; they enable their guests to free their mind of the daily grind, connect with others, have a drink, perhaps dinner, enjoy live entertainment, and create lasting memories. The following choices offer a little something extra.

Zephyr yacht tour of NYC

With Circle Line Downtown, enjoy a narrated harbor tour including views of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and more on board the triple decker ZEPHYR (two climate-controlled, one outdoor.)

Spirit of New York Dining Cruise interior

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, brunch, cocktail, and dinner cruises. This year, they unveiled an all-new menu created by James Beard Award winner and Chopped champ Eric LeVine and a breathtaking renovation that includes high-tech features such as an interactive dance floor.

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