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These Are the Top 29 NYC Boat Tours, Rides, and Cruises

Spend an afternoon or evening seeing the city from the water with these boat rides, cruises, and NYC boat tours, plus dinner, brunch, and booze cruises.

New York City looks picture-perfect from the water, so make sure you take in the stunning views with an NYC boat tour. In fact, the city thrives due to its major waterways, as the East River, the Hudson River, and the Atlantic Ocean meet just south of Manhattan. Every day, boats, ferries, yachts, and at least one tricked-out green speedboat take visitors on boat rides to take in some of NYC’s must-see sights, and brunch, dinner, booze, and sunset cruises around NYC to enjoy the greatest skyline views in the world. NYC icons like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and One World Trade appear on these exciting, informative boat tours.

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TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS TO VISIT IN NEW ...
TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS TO VISIT IN NEW YORK | Scott and Yanling

The Best NYC Boat Tours

1. Circle Line Cruises

Departs from: Pier 83, Hell's Kitchen
212-563-3200
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Price: $21 and up, depending on cruise
Hours: Liberty Midtown: daily, 10:30am; Landmarks: daily, 12:30pm and 3pm; Best of NYC: daily, 3pm

For over 75 years, Circle Line has been showing off the city from its fleet of ships. This popular service also offers the only cruise that goes all the way around Manhattan: Circle Line’s Best of NYC Cruise. One trip will show off five boroughs, three rivers, and more than 20 bridges on the way to 101 New York City sights. Circle Line also offers on-board concessions and drinks, as well as tour narration translated into several languages. 

For spring, Circle Line has launched a new seasonal ride, the Spring Fling Day Cruise. Starting Saturday, April 16th through Sunday, May 15th, cruise from 10am to 2:30pm, with live music, a cash bar with brunch beverage specials and deals, and tasty menu options like chicken 'n' waffles, bagels, and avocado toast. The music comes from Americana act Divining Rod, whose singer and songwriter Miyuki Furtado takes inspiration from NYC as well as his native roots in Hawaii.

2. City Cruises by Hornblower

Departs from: Pier 15, 78 South St., South Street Seaport
866-817-3463
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Price: $37; $27 children ages 3-12; free for children ages 2 and younger
Hours: 9:45-11am; 12-1:15pm; 2:15-2:20pm

Departing from the historic Seaport district in Manhattan, this sightseeing boat ride in NYC takes you on a loop from downtown to midtown and back, sailing past the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governors Island, Brooklyn Bridge, Battery Park, Hudson Yards, and more. Plus, there’s live narration by a tour guide onboard in nine languages and free Wi-Fi.

city cruises

3. Statue Cruises 

Departs from: The Battery, Battery Park City
877-523-9849
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Price: $23.50-$68.50
Hours: daily; see website for departure schedule

New York Harbor is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. If you want to see them first-hand, Statue Cruises is the only way to get there. Boats depart from Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey, providing memorable routes past the skyscrapers of the Financial District. You won’t truly appreciate Lady Liberty until you see her up close. Ellis Island was the historic gateway for 12 million immigrants to the U.S.; 40% of Americans can trace an ancestor here. On a visit today you can immerse yourself in the immigrant story inside a fully restored French Renaissance Revival station. If you want an extra-unique experience, book the Ellis Island Hard Hat Tour. In addition to access to the Statue of Liberty Museum and Ellis Island National Museum, you get to participate in a 90-minute guided tour of the unrestored Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital Complex.

statue cruises nyc boat tour

4. The Beast

Departs from: Pier 83, West 42nd Street and 12th Avenue, Hell's Kitchen 
212-563-3200
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Price: $30; $25 children
Hours: May 7-Sept. 25; Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm

Feel the need for speed? Warmer weather is a great time to take a ride on the wild side on NYC’s custom-built offshore racing powerboat, The Beast. You’ll zoom away at a heart-pounding 45mph before coming to a screeching halt within 100 feet of Lady Liberty for the best #StatueofLibertySelfie, among other panoramic views. After all, they don’t call it a rollercoaster on the water for nothing… Note: The Beast is seasonal and doesn't ride in the colder months.

the beast boat ride in nyc

5. Manhattan by Sail

Departs from: Clipper City: Pier 17, 89 South St., South Street Seaport; Shearwater: North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place, Battery Park City
212-619-6900
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Price: $50; $25 children ages 12 and younger
Hours: April 29-Oct. 30, see website for schedules

Take a small step back in time and board the Clipper City, NYC’s largest tall ship, or Shearwater, a 1929 classic schooner, and set sail on New York Harbor. While exact routes depend on a number of factors, you’ll see close-up views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governors Island, NYC’s various bridges, and more. And don’t forget about the spectacular sights of the Manhattan skyline! Want to see the city sparkling at night? Opt for the City Lights cruise aboard Clipper City.

6. New York Media Boat

Departs from: North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place, Battery Park City
347-789-0588
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Price: $99; $75 children ages 12 and younger
Hours: March 13-Nov. 30; see website for daily schedule

Looking for a boat ride in NYC that focuses on a photographer’s point of view? Check out New York Media Boat’s Adventure Sightseeing Tour. The 1½-hour tour brings you within feet of some of NYC major sights—including the FDNY Fireboat Station, Hudson Yards with The Vessel, the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier, One World Trade Center, Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island—while also leaving you plenty of room for snapping some panoramic skyline pics for your feed. 

7. Classic Harbor Line

Departs from: Pier 62, West 22nd Street and Chelsea Piers, Chelsea
212-627-1825
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Price: Varies depending on cruise
Hours: Vary depending on cruise; see website for sail times

This NYC boat tour company offers a variety of sightseeing and themed holiday cruises on yachts and schooners in New York Harbor. Whether you want to sail by the Statue of Liberty, go on an NYC architecture boat tour, circumnavigate the island of Manhattan, listen to live music, see the city glowing at night, or enjoy food and drinks, you’ll find the perfect boat ride in NYC for your group. 

8. Event Cruises NYC

Departs from: Pier 36, 299 South St., South Street Seaport
917-671-9710
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Price: Whale Watching: $45; $25 children; City Lights: $45-$65; $35-$55 children
Hours: Whale Watching: April 30-Oct. 30, Saturday-Sunday, 10am; City Lights: Friday-Sunday, 7pm

Did you know you can go whale watching in NYC?! The Whale Watching NYC Adventure Cruise is a 3½-hour trip to see if you can find whales breaching the surface of the water. While there isn’t a guarantee that you will see whales, the crew does everything it can to make sure you do! And taking in the city sights from the water makes the trip a memorable one. Want to sail in the evening to see the city light up the night sky? Opt for the City Lights Cruise!

9. Liberty Cruise

Departs from: Pier 36, 299 South St., South Street Seaport
212-643-0080
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Price: Liberty Cruise Select: $49; Liberty Cruise Saver: $35; $25 children ages 4-12
Hours: Liberty Cruise Select: Monday-Thursday, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm; Friday-Sunday, 2pm and 4pm; Liberty Cruise Saver: Monday-Thursday, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm

Liberty Cruise’s Select and Saver trips offer panoramic views of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, Governors Island, and more. Plus, during the 1-hour, 10-minute tour, you’ll learn about the history and fun facts of some of NYC’s classic sights. 

10. Staten Island Ferry

Departs from: Whitehall Terminal, Financial District
In NYC: 311 • Outside NYC: 212-639-9675
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Price: FREE
Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; see website for schedule

The Staten Island Ferry offers amazing views of New York Harbor. Even if you don't have a reason to go to Staten Island (although Empire Outlets is quite a draw), you can just pop the next ferry back. For the best skyline and Statue of Liberty views, sit on the right side (east) going out and the left side (west) to return. 

staten island ferry
flickr/Mike Steele

11. NYC Ferry

Departs from: Various locations; see routes for details
844-469-3377
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Price: $2.75; free for children 44 inches tall and shorter
Hours: Daily, see website for route schedules

Operated by City Experiences, the NYC Ferry is an affordable way to travel between waterfront communities throughout the city. Though it’s geared toward commuters, it’s a great way to see the city from the water (however it doesn’t take you close to the classic NYC harbor sights like some other tours…). There are six regular routes that connect Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx, plus there’s a seasonal weekend ferry to Governors Island and a Coney Island route coming in 2022.

The Best Brunch Cruises in NYC

1. City Cruises by Hornblower

Departs from: Pier 61, West 23rd Street and 12th Avenue, Chelsea Piers and Pier 15, 78 South St., South Street Seaport
866-817-3463
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Price: $74 and up
Hours: Bateaux New York: 12-2:30pm; New York Signature: 12-2pm

City Cruises offers two brunch cruise options: Bateaux New York Premier and New York Signature. Bateaux is a 2½-hour cruise with a semi-formal dress code and a plated 3-course meal. If you’re looking for a more casual brunch cruise in NYC, the New York Signature is a 2-hour buffet cruise, and the dress code is professional-casual. Bonus: Both brunch cruises include bottomless mimosas!

city cruises by hornblower brunch cruse in nyc

2. Manhattan by Sail

Departs from: North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place, Battery Park City
212-619-6900
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Price: $75-$98; $60 children ages 12 and younger
Hours: April 30-Oct. 2; see website for schedule

Board the classic 1929 schooner Shearwater for Bubbles and Bagels! This brunch cruise in NYC features the city’s most classic breakfast dish: bagels. Plus, the adults can enjoy bottomless mimosas and offee, while the kids enjoy juice and soft drinks.

3. Classic Harbor Line

Departs from: Pier 62, West 22nd Street and Chelsea Piers, Chelsea
212-627-1825
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Price: $124-$142; $72 children
Hours: March 12- Oct. 9, Saturday-Sunday, 10am

Board a 1920s-style luxury yacht for the Around Manhattan Brunch Cruise, a nearly 3-hour brunch. Brunch-goers will enjoy a three-course prix fixe menu while circumnavigating around the entire island of Manhattan. The menu features New York State foods and goods from NYC purveyors, including fresh bagels and smoked salmon, quiche, chicken sausage, salad, fruit, and pastries. Plus, adults will enjoy a complimentary beer, wine, champagne, bloody Mary, or mimosa. Wondering what you’ll see on this brunch cruise in NYC? You’ll sail under 20 bridges, including the George Washington, Brooklyn, Williamsburg, and Manhattan bridges, and past Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations building, Roosevelt Island, and more.

4. Event Cruises NYC

Departs from: Pier 36, 299 South St., South Street Seaport
917-671-9710
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Price: $99-$119; $69-$89 children
Hours: Saturday-Sunday, 12pm

The Bottomless Brunch Cruise in NYC offers a 3-course meal for the whole family with amazing views of NYC sights. Cruise by the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, Statue of Liberty, Jane’s Carousel, Battery Park City, Ellis Island, and more. Plus, the live DJ and bottomless mimosas for those 21 and older make this a great option for an outing with friends!

The Top Dinner Cruises in NYC

1. City Cruises by Hornblower

Departs from: Pier 61, West 23rd Street and 12th Avenue, Chelsea Piers
866-817-3463
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Price: $120 and up
Hours: Bateaux New York Premier: 7-10pm; New York Signature: Monday-Saturday, 7-9:30pm and Sunday, 6-8:30pm

City Cruises offers two dinner cruise options: Bateaux New York Premier and New York Signature. Bateaux is a 3-hour cruise with a semi-formal dress code and a plated 3-course meal. And it’s child-free, so it’s the perfect date night option, whether you’re visiting NYC or you live here. If you’re looking for a more casual dinner cruise in NYC, the New York Signature is a dinner buffet cruise for the whole family, and the dress code is professional-casual. 

city cruises by hornblower bateaux dinner cruise nyc

2. La Barca Cantina

Departs from: Pier 81, West 41st Street and 12th Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen
212-630-8841
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Price: $10 day pass, plus cost of food and beverages
Hours: Reopens May 5: Fridays, 5-10pm  (1-hour sailings at 6pm and 8pm); Saturdays, 3-10pm (1-hour sailings at 4pm, 6pm, and 8pm); Sundays, 1-8pm (1-hour sailings at 2pm, 4pm, and 6pm)

Tacos on a boat, need we say more?! La Barca Cantina is the only floating Mexican restaurant where you can eat dinner on a boat in NYC. The boat has plenty of indoor and outdoor space that seats more than 400 people and sails a few times a day along the Hudson River. The menu features tacos, nachos, salads, and more, plus a large selection of mezcals and tequilas.

3. Manhattan by Sail

Departs from: North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place, Battery Park City
212-619-6900
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Price: $85-$119; $79 children ages 12 and younger
Hours: May 31-Sept. 6; see website for schedule

Nothing says summer on the water in the northeast quite like lobster rolls. And what better way to enjoy the classic summer staple than aboard a schooner cruise?! Board the Shearwater and enjoy 3 lobster roll sliders, chips, pickles, coleslaw, and unlimited specialty beer (for 21+, of course) while taking in spectacular views of NYC from the harbor! And if you’re planning to be in NYC in the fall, check out Clipper City’s Oktoberfest dinner cruises, Oct. 1-29, Saturdays.

4. North River Lobster Company

Departs from: Pier 81, West 41st Street and 12th Avenue, Hell's Kitchen 
212-630-8831
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Price: $10 day pass, plus cost of food and beverages
Hours: Reopens April 14. See website for details.

Touted as NYC’s first and only floating lobster shack, North River cruises up the Hudson River throughout the day. The boat features service bars on all three decks, and the menu features lobster rolls and a fresh raw bar. But, if seafood isn’t your ideal fare, North River Lobster Company also offers wings, fries, burgers, chicken sandwiches, salad, and more.

5.  Event Cruises NYC

Departs from: Pier 36, 299 South St., South Street Seaport
917-671-9710
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Price: $129-$159; $99-$119 children
Hours: Friday-Sunday, 7pm

During the NYC Skyline Dinner Cruise, you’ll sail around the harbor and take in views of NYC’s skyline at night while enjoying a three-course dinner featuring braised short ribs, crab cakes, NY cheesecake, and more. Plus, adults will receive a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. When you’re done eating, head to the Sky Deck and take in the spectacular sights of Jane’s Carousel, Statue of Liberty, One World Trade, and more light up the night.

The Best Booze Cruises in NYC

1. City Cruises by Hornblower

Departs from: Pier 15, 78 South St., South Street Seaport 
866-817-3463
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Price: $49-$93
Hours: May 5-Oct. 1, 6-8pm; see website for exact schedule

City Cruises’ Alive After Five is a 2-hour cruise featuring happy hour on the harbor. Bring your date or friends and take in views of Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan skyline, and more while you enjoy food, drinks, and dancing to your favorite tunes with a live DJ.

city cruises by hornblower booze cruise nyc

2. Manhattan by Sail

Departs from: Clipper City: Pier 17, 89 South St., South Street Seaport; Shearwater: North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place, Battery Park City
212-619-6900
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Price: $70-$109; $60-$69 children ages 12 and younger
Hours: April 30-Oct. 30; seasons for specific cruises vary, check website for full schedules

Set sail on Shearwater, a 1929 schooner, for a 90-minute wine tasting outing. Wine experts from Artisanal Cellars will showcase an eclectic selection of wines from different countries, paired with cheese and charcuterie. Meanwhile, Clipper City, the largest tall ship in NYC, offers two booze cruises: Craft Beer Tasting, featuring the Bronx Brewery, and Sunset Wine & Jazz Cruise.

3. Classic Harbor Line

Departs from: Pier 62, West 22nd Street and Chelsea Piers, Chelsea
212-627-1825
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Price: $78-$108
Hours: March 11-Sept. 30; see website for schedules

Classic Harbor Line offers two booze cruises in NYC: Classic Cocktails with a Twist and Champagne & Cheese Pairing Cruise. Both are cruises for the 21+ crowd, are 1½ hours, and are aboard 1920s-style yachts. With Classic Cocktails, you’ll enjoy a sunset cruise around NY Harbor, passing by Governors Island, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and more—all while sipping on classic cocktails with a modern twist (think: sake gimlets or grapefruit and rosemary rickey). The Champagne & Cheese features the same views of the NYC skyline and sightseeing highlights, but you’ll enjoy a flight of three sparkling wines paired with three artisan cheeses, honey or jam, and flatbreads.

4. Event Cruises NYC

Departs from: Pier 36, 299 South St., South Street Seaport
917-671-9710
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Price: $99-$129; $55 children
Hours: Fridays and Sundays, 7pm

Have you ever wanted to participate in a wine tasting with cheese and chocolate pairings while taking the gorgeous sights of the NYC skyline? Look no further than Event Cruises NYC’s Wine & Cheese Tasting Cruise. You can choose from a 3- or 6-wine tasting (each wine is paired with chocolate and cheese), take notes on a special wine tasting placemat that you take home, and listen to a specially curated playlist. Plus, you’ll see NYC’s sights lit up at night, including Jane’s Carousel, the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, Hudson Yards, Statue of Liberty, and One World Trade.

Amazing Sunset Cruises in NYC

seastreak nyc cruises

1. Seastreak

Departs from: Seastreak Ferry Terminal at Highlands, 326 Shore Dr., Highlands, NJ
800-262-8743
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Price: $35
Hours: 6:45pm, every Saturday evening through October 8th, 2022 and every Thursday evening starting June 16th, 2022 through September 1st, 2022

Seastreak is the most comfortable way to explore NYC and surrounds: climate controlled cabins and an open-air top deck, 360° panoramic windows, plush seating, and a full-service cash bar. This is by far the most civilized way to get into the city from New Jersey: ride from Highlands and take advantage of specials like the Thursday and Saturday night NYC Sunset Cocktail Cruise. Along the way you can wave hello to Lady Liberty, marvel at New York’s iconic bridges, and admire the towering One World Trade Center. There's much more to explore with Seastreak, including departures from Pier 11 and E. 35th St. in Manhattan, and outings like Whale Watching or getaways to Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and more.

2. Manhattan by Sail

Departs from: Clipper City: Pier 17, 89 South St., South Street Seaport; Shearwater: North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place, Battery Park City
212-619-6900
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Price: $75; $25 children ages 12 and younger.
Hours: Clipper City: May 13-Nov. 30; Shearwater: April 29-May 26; see website for schedules

Climb aboard Clipper City, the largest tall ship in NYC, or Shearwater, a classic schooner, and set sail in New York Harbor. You’ll watch night fall upon the city, as the sun sets behind the Statue of Liberty and see the NYC skyline light up the night. While kids are allowed on these sails, they’re the perfect start to a romantic date night in the Big Apple.

3. Classic Harbor Line

Departs from: Pier 62, West 22nd Street and Chelsea Piers, Chelsea
212-627-1825
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Price: Vary depending on cruise
Hours: Vary depending on cruise; see website for sail times

Classic Harbor Line offers a variety of sunset cruises in NYC, and you’re sure to find one that fits your schedule. Sunset cruises here include cocktail cruises, an evening of jazz music, classic sightseeing cruises aboard yachts and schooners as the sun goes down, and holiday options. 

4. Event Cruises NYC

Departs from: Pier 36, 299 South St., South Street Seaport
917-671-9710
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Price: $35-$45; $29-$39 children
Hours: Friday-Sunday, 7pm

Go on a nearly 3-hour cruise along the NYC skyline as you watch the sun set on some classic city sights. You’ll have stunning views and the chance to take amazing photos of the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, One World Trade, and more. And if you’re willing to opt for the more expensive ticket, you’ll have access to the sky deck.

5. Circle Line Cruises

Departs from: Pier 83, Hell's Kitchen
212-563-3200
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Price: $31 and up
Hours: Harbor Lights: daily, 7pm

For over 75 years, Circle Line has been showing off the city from its fleet of ships. This popular service offers a sunset cruise in NYC, showcasing the dazzling lights of the city at night. You’ll sail past Hudson Yards, Chelsea Piers, One World Trade, and the Statue of Liberty. Circle Line also offers on-board concessions and drinks, free Wi-Fi, and tour narration translated into several languages.

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About the Author

Katelin E. Walling has been writing about parenting, fun things to do in NYC and the surrounding area, health, finance, education, and more for nearly 10 years. She graduated from the University of Maine in 2011 and attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute during the summer of 2011. To unplug in her free time, she can often be found reading, knitting (or general crafting), or whipping up a vegan treat—all with a cup of coffee nearby.

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