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With its extensive fleet, Hornblower is one of the major providers of lunch and dinner cruises in New York. You may be familiar with the name; they also operate in other cities such as San Francisco and San Diego. I was invited to the legendary Santa’s Christmas Eve Dinner Cruise and spent three wonderful hours on board the Hornblower Infinity.
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If you are spending Christmas in NYC and still looking for a special locale to celebrate the holiday, then look no further. Santa’s Christmas Eve Dinner Cruise is the perfect option. Featuring three decks, holiday LED lighting, and an evening of food, drinks, and dancing, the modern yacht invites you to a Christmas party that you won’t soon forget.
UPDATE 2021: The Hornblower Christmas Dinner Cruise is not available this year. But check out my article about the 3 Absolute Best Christmas Cruises in NYC
Christmas tradition the American way
The Christmas Eve Dinner Cruise is a special treat particularly for families with kids. This is because Santa himself is also on board. Following a champagne reception and a photo op with Santa thanks to the ship’s photographer, we were led to our window seats where we could enjoy a first-class view of the Manhattan skyline. The yacht, decked out in holiday finery, is truly a sight to behold. The 360-degree views from the water are also impressive.
Open Bar and Buffet
When booking your tickets, you will be able to choose from several package options that determine your choice of drinks. Hornblower provided us with the Premium Open Bar Package, which includes all drinks – even the best whiskey that the bartender keeps on the top shelf of the bar. It was fantastic.
Dinner (classic Christmas fare like turkey, potatoes, red cabbage, and vegetables) is served buffet style. While I personally prefer to have dishes brought to the table and find standing in line at the buffet reminiscent of “all-inclusive vacations”, this is really just a matter of taste. Given the luxurious feel of the yacht, table service may have been more in keeping with that image but serving approx. 200 people individually is probably an impossible feat. The food was truly delicious and dinner concluded with a trip to the dessert station, complete with a gingerbread house. Drinks were served at the table – including a delectable bottle of wine.
One-of-a-kind photo ops
After dinner, there were many opportunities to take stunning pictures of New York City’s landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge, and One World Trade Center. The captain makes brief announcements about upcoming sights, giving you ample time to secure a good viewing spot on deck. Gazing at the New York City skyline from the water is always special, and is an experience that no visitor should miss. Thankfully, there are several options you can choose from: a water taxi, the Staten Island Ferry, or a Hornblower Cruise.
Party on board the yacht
It goes without saying that there is lots of partying on the Hornblower Yacht. The yacht has a total of five dance floors and we partied the night away on the lower deck. The music was a nice mix of everything and included something for everyone. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming — who has the chance to dance on a yacht while enjoying incredible views of New York?
Book Santa’s Christmas Eve Dinner Cruise Now
The early bird gets the worm: this Christmas Eve Cruise is one of the favorite events in town and therefore sells out quickly.
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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.