The best sightseeing cruises, sailing and water tours in New York

A cruise is a truly special experience that will give you the feeling of a little getaway during your holiday in NYC. Feelings of calm will wash over you while relaxing on the water with a drink in your hand, looking out over New York City from a brand new perspective. Floating on the Hudson or the East River on your sightseeing or dinner cruise will make sure that you go home with a memorable experience in mind. On our last few trips to NYC, we tried some of the boat tours and have been thrilled every time. We have collected a list of our favorite cruises below to make your search easier. You can compare the boat tours as well as watch a video below that we took, to show you what its like to cruise around Manhattan. Along with this, we have included any important information for each of the cruises, such as ticket prices, duration, frequency and place of departure.

Be sure to sit on the LEFT side of the boats for tours of Manhattan!

This is of particular importance for the Full Island Cruise (3h) as the boats travel counterclockwise. If you are sitting on the left side, you will always be on the side that faces Manhattan!

Our tip: be sure to buy tickets in advance to avoid any queues at the terminal. This can save you up to 2 hours! This is definitely one of the best ways to discover New York from a brand new perspective. What’s even better is that tickets are very affordable and start at just £17 per person.

Day cruises

Many tour operators provide day cruises around Manhattan — this is confirmed by the many boats you can see cruising the East River, the New York Harbor, and the Hudson River. Here we have a list of the most popular day tours. These cruises cover different areas and start from various locations. We have included everything ranging from short and sweet tours to long, relaxing cruises!

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Night cruises

Three are also night tours available! These night cruises generally follow the same route as day tours meaning you get to enjoy Manhattan’s beautiful skyline from the water. If you get lucky and catch the sunset, you will also experience some truly unique views as the skyscrapers in the city begin to light up. All of this while relaxing with a drink on one of the cruises below – yes, please!

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Dinner Cruises

Relaxing on a boat, admiring the skyline of New York and all the while, enjoying culinary delights is one of the most popular ways to explore NYC from the water. Here are the best dinner cruises that we wholeheartedly recommend. With a love for food, a relaxed atmosphere and some spectacular views these cruises have the perfect recipe for a fun or even romantic evening. Reservations should be made early, however, as tickets are limited.

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Special events

Several operators offer boat tours on holidays or during special events. For example, you can celebrate New Year’s, Thanksgiving, or the 4th of July (Independence Day) on one of these cruises and enjoy a front row seat to the fireworks. Like the dinner cruises, these tours are also very popular so make sure to make a reservation as soon as possible. Only a limited number of tickets are available!

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Check out our cruise experience – this one included a stop at the Statue of Liberty!

Our tip: Many cruises and sightseeing boat tours are also included in the New York passes!

In the New York sightseeing passes, up to 80 attractions and tours are included in the price. Learn more here:

New York Pass    Explorer Pass     CityPASS

Compare passes and save up to 56% !

Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author


I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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