When you live on an island, there’s no shortage of boat tours to be had. But how do you know which ones are amazing, and which ones are just amazingly overrated? We did the research and have come up with a list of the best boat tours in NYC that offer both incredible experiences and views.
Best party tour
If you want to party on the water, then the Rock the Yacht cruise from Hornblower cruises is the perfect choice. This three-hour cruise around Manhattan features a nightclub vibe with DJ, dancing, and an optional open bar. Take selfies in front of some of NYC’s most famous landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and Freedom Tower. This is a great cruise for celebrating special events or when you want a one-of-a-kind experience.
Best sightseeing tour
For those that want to see it all, book passage on the Circle Line Complete Manhattan Island Cruise. This is the only New York City cruise that circumnavigates the entire island of Manhattan, treating you to impressive vistas of more than 25 of the city’s landmarks. This is a great tour for first-timers, and the onboard guide narrates the adventure with stories from the city’s fascinating history. The boat leaves from Pier 83 in Midtown, and snacks and drinks are available for purchase onboard.
Best family-friendly tour
When you think of NYC boat tours, you probably imagine cruising around the island. But what about boat tours that are actually on the island? The Venetian gondola tour on the Lake in Central Park will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Europe. The kids will love it! The gondola holds up to six people and can be reserved for $45 per half hour. For a more affordable option that is just as fun, rent one of the many rowboats that are available from 10am to sunset for $15 an hour.
Best sailing tour
There’s no better way to see New York from the water than from the largest tall ship in the city. The historic Clipper City is a massive topsail schooner that boasts more than 5,000 square feet of sails and makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. They offer a wide range of sailing adventures, from the Sunset Wine and Jazz Sail to the Burlesque Sail. The Clipper City departs from Slip 2 at the south end of Battery Park in Lower Manhattan.
Best budget tour
Finally, no list of amazing boat tours is complete without mentioning the Staten Island Ferry. Though it’s a no-frills commuter barge, it’s both iconic and free. The ferry runs 24 hours a day and gives riders unbeatable views of Lady Liberty and Lower Manhattan. Climb aboard from South Ferry in Battery Park and prepare for a quintessential New York City experience. Did we mention that it’s free?
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