21 Amazing Summer Cruises from NYC

What could be better than taking in the city from the water on a warm summer day in New York City? For us, it’s an absolute highlight every time we visit, and definitely a great summer activity in New York City that you shouldn’t miss.

We’ve taken all of these sailing tours (some even have live jazz music!) and cruises ourselves, so you’ll get real testimonials from us and a wonderful impression of the tours. 

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!

Boat and sailing tours by ship

They are my personal highlight! There is hardly anything more relaxing than sailing through the harbor of New York, seeing the Statue of Liberty and the skyline!

  1. Champagne City Lights Cruise NYC

    01 Classic Harbor Line: Champagne City Lights Cruise

    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. Circle Line - Harbor Lights Night Cruise

    02 Circle Line - Harbor Lights Night Cruise

    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.

  3. Architektur_Tour_Boot_Manhattan_2_New_York_180611163459001

    03 Classic Harbor Line: Architecture Yacht Cruise

    The architecture boat tour takes you around Manhattan in 2.5 hours. On a 30 meter long wooden ship in the style of the 1920s you can relax and learn a lot of interesting facts about the many small and large buildings of the city. The tour is super-relaxing and the price includes a drink (vino, soft drinks) and small snacks.

  4. New York Premier Lunch Cruise

    04 Bateaux Lunch Cruise

    This boat tour with lunch on board the Bateaux New York will take you from the Hudson River to the East River, which means you will see all the major buildings of the NYC skyline. And of course, the Statue of Liberty is included! Since the atmosphere on the Bateaux Lunch cruise is a bit more formal, guests are asked to wear long pants and no shorts or hot pants or flip flops.

  5. Circle Line - New York Landmarks Cruise

    05 Circle Line - New York Landmarks Cruise

    This Circle Line cruise will take you past NYC’s most famous attractions and landmarks. You will head past the Statue of Liberty, the One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, amd much much more. If you are looking to explore Manhattan from the water and learn some of the history of NYC at the same time, this is definitely the cruise for you. At a lenght of approximately 1.5 hours, this cruise will take you half way around the Island of Manhattan as well as once around the Statue of Liberty for the ultimate photo opportunity.

  6. Evening_Jazz_Cruise_on_the_Yacht_Manhattan

    06 Classic Harbor Line: Evening Jazz Cruise on the Yacht Manhattan

    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!

  7. Skyline_Brunch_Cruise_Around_Manhattan

    07 Skyline Brunch Cruise Around Manhattan

    This brunch cruise is one of the most beautiful boat tours in New York. You sit aboard a 1920s-style ship with lots of wood and even more glass. The provider has several wonderful boat tours in the program, of which we have already tried four (and all were great!).

    Start at Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers – this is where you board. First you start towards the George Washington Bridge, then turn south to the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor and the Brooklyn Bridge. You can enjoy the view of the New York skyline and have a delicious brunch with New York specialties. The first drink (even champagne!) is even included in the price.

  8. New York Spirit Lunch Cruise

    08 Spirit: Lunch Cruise

    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. dinner cruise nyc

    09 Spirit: Dinner Cruise with Buffet

    Get a totally different and exciting perspective on New York: from a fun dinner cruise that floats around New York Harbor and Manhattan offering stunning views of the city and some of the world’s most famous landmarks, from the Statue of Liberty to the Brooklyn Bridge to the Empire State Building. Indulge in a delicious buffet dinner and then groove to the onboard DJ’ed music being spun. Add this dinner cruise to your New York itinerary today!

  10. night_cruise_Statue_of_Liberty_NYC_160921110346001

    10 60-Min Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Sunset Cruise

    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.

  11. Staten_Island_Ferry_190520085802009

    11 Staten Island Ferry

    One of New York’s most popular tourist attractions is the Staten Island Ferry, which commutes between the southern tip of Manhattan and Staten Island. The crossing is free of charge! The 5 mile journey takes about 20-25 minutes and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty.

  12. Architektur_Tour_Boot_Manhattan_2_New_York_180611163459001

    12 Classic Harbor Line: Architecture Yacht Cruise

    The architecture boat tour takes you around Manhattan in 2.5 hours. On a 30 meter long wooden ship in the style of the 1920s you can relax and learn a lot of interesting facts about the many small and large buildings of the city. The tour is super-relaxing and the price includes a drink (vino, soft drinks) and small snacks.

Dinner Cruises in Summer

Dinner cruises are very popular – and rightly so! You’ll see the illuminated skyline of the Hudson River, East River, and New York Harbor while enjoying a delicious meal and drinks!

These are the best dinner cruises in NYC this summer:

  1. 01

    Bateaux NYC Dinner Cruise: The most romantic Dinner Cruise on a glass boat

    Cruise in Chelsea
    bateaux dinner cruise
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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.

  2. 02

    Spirit: Dinner Cruise with Buffet

    Cruise in Chelsea
    dinner cruise nyc
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    Get a totally different and exciting perspective on New York: from a fun dinner cruise that floats around New York Harbor and Manhattan offering stunning views of the city and some of the world’s most famous landmarks, from the Statue of Liberty to the Brooklyn Bridge to the Empire State Building. Indulge in a delicious buffet dinner and then groove to the onboard DJ’ed music being spun. Add this dinner cruise to your New York itinerary today!

4th of July boat tours

The 4th of July is Independence Day in the USA, and is celebrated with a massive fireworks display. From the water, you’re guaranteed a front-row seat; that’s why they’re so popular!

  1. Bateaux_New_York_4th_of_July_Fireworks_Dinner_Cruise-1

    01 Bateaux New York 4th of July Fireworks Dinner Cruise

    Come aboard the Bateaux New York, a fully glass-enclosed, luxury dining cruise for your Fourth of July celebrations! A five-hour upscale dining cruise on the Hudson River includes a delicious three-course plated dinner with attentive table side service. Take in the panoramic, breathtaking views of the infamous New York City skyline and the Fireworks Display (weather permitting). Sit back, relax, enjoy your spectacular meal and the live acoustic quartet musical entertainment, and celebrate the United States of America!

    • Live Music
    • Dinner
    • Alcoholic Beverages
  2. July_4th_New_York_City_Fireworks_Cruise

    02 July 4th New York City Fireworks Cruise

    Celebrate July 4th on this New York City Fireworks Cruise. Depart for the evening to the beats of a live DJ. Enjoy a buffet style menu featuring pasta, finger foods, chicken, salad, desserts and more! Sip on an alcoholic beverage from our onboard cash bar. Grab the festive party favors provided as the firework show begins. Your cruise will return once the fireworks end.

  3. 4th_of_July_NYC_Fireworks_Cruise_Liberty_Bell

    03 4th of July NYC Fireworks Cruise

    Aboard Liberty Belle to celebrate this Independence Day in New York City. Celebrate sailing the waters and enjoy the Macy’s Spectacular Fireworks Show. All tickets include open bar and a delicious dinner. Live DJ playing top hits will keep you this Independence Day memorable along with your favorite drink. Enjoy the show of the July 4th fireworks. This is a NYC Dance Cruise. Aboard and sip your favorite drink, eat delicious food, dance and enjoy! You will get a 3-Hour premium open bar, food, and complimentary party favors. VIP Tickets include priority boarding and a reserved table at private lounge with a bottle of MOET to cheer this Independence Day. Enjoy the views of Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, One World Trade Center and more! This is a great experience to celebrate in style. Treat yourself into this unforgettable experience.

  4. July_4th_New_York_City_Fireworks_Cruise_with_Buffet_and_Live_DJ_

    04 July 4th New York City Fireworks Cruise with Buffet and Live DJ

    Celebrate July 4th on this New York City Fireworks Cruise. Depart for the evening to the beats of a live DJ. Enjoy a buffet style menu featuring pasta, finger foods, chicken, salad, desserts and more! Sip on an alcoholic beverage from our onboard cash bar. Grab the festive party favors provided as the firework show begins. Your cruise will return once the fireworks end. What’s Included:

    • July 4th New York City Fireworks Cruise 
    • Buffet Style Menu featuring pasta, chicken, salad, finger foods, dessert and more! 
    • Live DJ Music
  5. Circle_Line___4th_of_July_Fireworks_Cruise

    05 Circle Line 4th of July Evening Cruise

    Circle Line is a very well-known sightseeing cruise operator in New York and also offers one of the best 4th of July cruises. The cruise includes a light dinner with classic summer dishes and great drinks. Most importantly, however, you will enjoy guaranteed views of the fireworks, particularly from the outdoor deck space.

    What you’ll get:

    • light dinner
    • drinks
    • live DJ
    • guaranteed views of the 4th of July fireworks
  6. 4th_of_July_Fireworks_on_Clipper_City_Tall_Ship

    06 4th of July Fireworks on Clipper City Tall Ship

    See New York City’s 4th of July Fireworks from the deck of a tall ship for the ultimate visibility and photo ops. Help the crew raise the sails and navigate the ship, or just sit back and enjoy the show. Each year’s fireworks show consists of more than 40,000 shells exploding above the East River for a brilliant display celebrating the nation’s birth. Buy tickets in advance to avoid the last-minute scramble for 4th of July plans!

    • Food and beverages included
    • Best possible vantage point for fireworks show
    • See the NYC skyline from the water
    • Open bar throughout the cruise
  7. New_York_City_Fourth_of_July_Fireworks_Cruise_with_Lobster_Dinner

    07 New York City Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise with Lobster Dinner

    Grab a front row seat for New York City’s fireworks display on this Fourth of July cruise with lobster dinner. Get an up-close look at the Manhattan skyline while digging into a buffet-style dinner with an open bar. A DJ will spin tunes on board to keep the party mood going.

    • New York City Fourth of July fireworks cruise with lobster dinner
    • Delight in superior views of the fireworks display on this fun, casual cruise
    • Enjoy an open bar and gorgeous vistas of the Manhattan skyline
    • Dance the night away as DJs spin the latest hits and quintessential party songs
  8. NYC_July_4th_Macy_s_Fireworks_Family_Friendly_Festive_Boat

    08 NYC July 4th Macy's Fireworks Family Friendly Festive Boat

    Your cruise will have a live DJ on 2 floors and 2 dance floors. There will be 4th of July giveaways, a light buffet, a cash bar, and fun toys for the children. While waiting for this spectacular show in the sky, you’ll see famous landmarks including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Freedom Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the NYC skyline. As the boat docks getting ready for the show, the DJ will have music to dance to for full family fun. 

    Macy’s has been hosting a 4th of July fireworks show in NYC since 1958. The Brooklyn Bridge and the East River are the new stars of the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, the largest fireworks show in the United States. You’ll have front-row seats to the fireworks show, as special firing platforms will be set up along the span and about 50,000 pounds of fireworks are set to launch!

  9. 4th of July Brunch Cruise

    09 NYC 4th of July Brunch Cruise

    This 4th of July brunch cruise is one of the newest boat tours where you can celebrate the Independence Day of the USA in a wonderfully relaxed way. The ship has three different decks where you can combine sightseeing with brunch. The icing on the cake is the live DJ on board who will entertain you on this tour from George Washington Bridge to Brooklyn Bridge.


My personal recommendations

What is the best boat tour in NYC in the summer?

Personally, I have three different favorite tours. First of all, I very much enjoy the sunset sailing tour to the Statue of Liberty.

Next is the sailing tour with live jazz – it doesn’t get much better than that in my opinion.

And if you’re looking for a dinner cruise that’s more than worth the price, there’s nothing better than the Bateaux Dinner Cruise.

FAQ

Where do the boat tours start in summer?

Most boat tours depart from Chelsea Piers (Pier 61/62) and some from Pier 42, both on the Hudson River.

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 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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