The 16 Absolute Best Cruises in New York

There’s nothing better than exploring New York City by boat on a hot summer day. The warm summer breeze, amazing skyline views, and pure relaxation are the reasons why we highly recommend a boat trip in NYC in the summer.

We have tried all of the boat tours so you’re getting an inside scoop on the best sightseeing cruises, sailing trips and dinner cruises here in the city. Some of them offer live jazz music, open bars, and dancing. It’s the ultimate summer experience you shouldn’t miss.

  1. 01

    Classic Harbor Line: Champagne City Lights Cruise

    Cruise in Chelsea
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    We had an amazing time onboard the luxurious 1920s inspired motor yacht. Combine sightseeing with a romantic evening and step onboard the 1920s inspired boat at Pier 62 (Chelsea Piers – W. 22nd and Hudson River). During the 90-minutes long tour, you’ll get to see iconic NYC sights along the water and most importantly breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. Especially in the summer, you can admire the most beautiful sunset during this special cruise. There is seating inside the yacht and outside seating as well.

  2. 02

    Classic Harbor Line: Sailboat Day Cruise to the Statue of Liberty

    Cruise in Chelsea
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    By far the best way to admire New York City’s iconic skyline is from the water. With this day cruise along the Hudson River, you can take in the most recognized cityscape in the world while relaxing on board the elegant Adirondack schooner. Sip complimentary wine, beer, and Champagne while looking out over iconic sights like the Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and Battery Park.

  3. 03

    Circle Line - Harbor Lights Night Cruise

    Cruise in Midtown Manhattan
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    Circle Line - Harbor Lights Night Cruise
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    The Harbor Lights Cruise by Cricle Line is an amazing way to see the NYC from the water. As the lights start to sparkle across the Hudson and East Rivers at dusk you see the beauty of the city at night from a whole different angle.

  4. 04

    Circle Line - Best of NYC Cruise

    Cruise in Midtown Manhattan
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    The Best of NYC Cruise takes you once around the whole island of Manhattan. This is a great way to explore the city from the water and see more than 25 of the top sights NYC has to offer. Because this is one of the most popular cruises make sure to book your tickets beforehand online to secure your spot.

  5. 05

    60-Min Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Sunset Cruise

    Cruise in Lower Manhattan
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    You start at the South Street Seaport right next to New York’s most famous bridge – the Brooklyn Bridge. From there, you will make a leisurely drive to the southern tip of Manhattan and you will be in the Port of New York where you can see the Statue of Liberty for the first time. On the way there you can also clearly see the new highest building in the evening skyline: the One World Trade Center.

  6. What is the Best Cruise in New York for you?

    There are over 40 boat and sailing tours in New York and it’s not easy to choose the best one. That’s where our Cruise Finder comes in. It will help you find the best boat tour for you!

  7. 06

    Hudson River Fall Foliage Yacht Tour

    Cruise in Chelsea
    Hudson River Fall Foliage Yacht Tour
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    The Hudson River Fall Foliage Yacht Tour is very similar to the Grand Palisades Fall Foliage Yacht Tour. The only difference is that you will travel on the elegant yacht “Kingston” and the tour lasts 2.5h. 

    The Kingston is another ship of the fleet, built in the style of the yachts of the 1920s. Therefore, you can expect a very special atmosphere on board, which cannot be compared with the sightseeing cruises. That’s why these fall foliage cruises are so popular around autumn. 

    You start your tour at the Chelsea Piers and then sail along the Hudson River. On the way you will pass the George Washington Bridge, look at the Upper West Side of NYC and then reach the cliffs of Palisades Park.

    By the way: only on weekends in the fall the Kingston leaves for the Hudson Valley. If you are in NYC during the week and want to take a boat tour where you can enjoy the colorful fall foliage, just check out the other tours on my best list!

  8. 07

    Spirit: Lunch Cruise

    Cruise in Chelsea
    New York Spirit Lunch Cruise
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    Relax on a comfortable boat as it cruises around New York Harbor and Manhattan on this relaxing 2-hour afternoon cruise that includes an all-you-can-eat buffet and DJ’ed music. Get great views and a different perspective on the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, and the Empire State Building. And indulge in the delicious buffet lunch while doing it. Upgrade the afternoon to receive a welcome glass of champagne in a souvenir glass, a table for your party size, and access to a platinum open bar.

  9. 08

    Classic Harbor Line: Evening Jazz Cruise on the Yacht Manhattan

    Cruise in Chelsea
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    From one of our absolute favorite boat tours in New York there is also a Jazz Cruise. You are on board a luxury yacht in the style of the 1920s, which has a wonderful charm and is not to be compared with the big sightseeing ships. The jazz cruise starts at the Chelsea Piers and takes you along the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty and the harbor of New York. On the way you can enjoy a wonderful view of the New York skyline and smooth jazz at the same time.

    And the best part? The first drink is included in the price of the Jazz Cruise!

  10. 09

    New York Harbor Evening Sail with Live Jazz

    Cruise in Chelsea
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    You will sail with the beautiful tall ship “Clipper City” from Battery Park southwards into the harbor of New York and can admire the illuminated One World Trade Center and the skyline from close range. The atmosphere on the tall ship is really very special: you are surrounded by locals, the hustle and bustle of the city is far away and you are immediately deeply relaxed.

  11. 10

    Circle Line - Liberty Cruise

    Cruise in Midtown Manhattan
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    If you want to see the Statue of Liberty from close by, without all the hassle of having to wait in a long line for the ferry and being one of very many toruists on Liberty Island, this is the perfect alternative. The Liberty Cruise by Circle Line is a great way to see the NYC skyline from the water, as well as get up close to the Statue of Liberty for some amazing pictures.

  12. 11

    Bateaux: Dinner Cruise

    Cruise in Chelsea
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    Forget trying to snag a hard-to-get reservation at New York’s hottest restaurants du jour. Instead, indulge in a delicious 3-course dinner during the cruise on an all-glass boat around New York City that offers you an up-close look at the Statue of Liberty and other famed sites. As a live pianist plays relaxing music for you, take in the immense view of one of the world’s great cities, and enjoy a delicious pre-set dinner by the on-board executive chef. Upgrade to enjoy a romantic or first class VIP experience including a private table and French sparkling wine.

  13. 12

    Honorable William Wall

    Cruise in Lower Manhattan
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    The Honorable William Wall, affectionately called “Willy Wall”, is the floating clubhouse of the Manhattan Yacht Club. The clubhouse is anchored in New York Harbor north of Ellis Island from May to October. What is so special about it? It’s definitely an insider’s spot, which not only gives you a great view of Ellis Island and of course the Statue of Liberty – you can also enjoy the sunset from here.

  14. 13

    Manhattan By Sail: Champagne Brunch

    Cruise in Lower Manhattan
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    Step back in time and enjoy a Sunday brunch on board a 1920s schooner in New York Harbor. Choose from a plentiful buffet, while you take in close-up views of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, and the Manhattan skyline.

  15. 14

    Statue of Liberty: Sunset Schooner Cruise

    Cruise in Chelsea
    Sunset Schooner Cruise
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    The sailing trip into the sunset is definitely one of my highlights in New York and definitely one of the best cruise in New York. During this two-hour tour, the Statue of Liberty awaits you, you can have a drink and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere!

  16. 15

    Champagne Brunch Sail Aboard The Classic Schooner Shearwater

    Cruise in Battery Park City
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    At the Champagne Brunch Sail you will start the day in a very relaxed way with the historic tall ship “Shearwater”. The two-ship is located in the probably most expensive marina in Manhattan in direct proximity of the One World Trade Center. You start directly at the Hudson River, from where you sail towards the harbour. From the Shearwater you can relax and admire the skyline – best with a glass of champagne in your hand!

  17. 16

    NYC Ferry

    Cruise in Financial District
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    For the locals, the New York Ferry or NYC Ferry is one of the most important means of transport when it comes to reliability and speed. Unfortunately, the subway is always a problem, which is why you sometimes never know exactly if it is running and if so when. Not so with the NYC Ferry – and the best? For $3 you can take a really great boat tour along the East River!

Boat and Sailing trips in NYC

Fall in love with New York City during one of the amazing sailing trips. You will get to see the iconic skyline of Lower Manhattan, Ellis Island and Lady Liberty herself while enjoying your time on the vessel with wine, cheese, and live music.

 
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Dinner Cruises in Summer

Take your date on a fancy yacht for the perfect night out. Dinner cruises are very popular and especially in the summer, it is the ideal way to explore New York City while eating a great meal and have a couple of drinks.

 
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4th of July cruises

Avoid long lines and hours of waiting outside to watch the fireworks. Just hop on a yacht and relax. The 4th of July dinner cruises offers you front-row seats for the stunning 4th of July fireworks by Macy’s.

 
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About the author
Steffen

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On this blog, I want to share everything I have learned and discovered, so you can have the best time in the greatest city in the world. By the way: Did you like my article? Then think about becoming a supporter of us on Patreon!

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