best boat tours in NYC

The City That Never Sleeps, New York is a treasure trove of adventure, and the best boat tours in NYC epitomize the concrete jungle’s allure to a tee. The streets are always buzzing with activity and you’ll never run out of things to do in NYC, which is exactly why more and more travelers are turning to the water to escape the crowds.

Gliding down both the East and the Hudson Rivers, these enchanting adventures present a wonderful change of pace from the jam-packed streets; showing off a new, utterly beautiful perspective of New York City.

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1 – The Beast speedboat ride by Circle Line Cruises

The Beast speedboat ride by Circle Line Cruises

Rating: ⭐️ 4.8/5 (371 reviews)

“Great! Super excited and so much fun! It’s worth it for those who have children!!! Gives a super excited and very good to cool off!!! My 10 year old son loves it!” Aracy, Getyourguide

Designed exclusively for adrenaline junkies, The Beast NYC combined a highlight reel of sightseeing with a high-speed, max-thrills adventure on the picturesque rivers that surround Manhattan.

Capable of hitting dizzying speeds of 45 miles per hour, this custom speedboat promises dramatic powerslides, jumps and bursts of speed guaranteed to get the heart rate up.

But it’s not just about the excitement; the Beast is also a terrific way to check out the quintessential New York City landmarks. In between spins down the Hudson and jumps on New York Harbor, you’ll be able to float slowly by the Statue of Liberty and catch a stunning panorama of the Lower Manhattan skyline.

The Beast speedboat departs from Pier 83 on the Hudson River.
The BEAST speedboat lasts approximately 30 minutes.
Tickets for the Beast cost between US$30 and US$35 per adult and US$25 per child.
The Beast departs from Pier 83 on the Hudson River and makes its way down to the Statue of Liberty and the New York Harbor.
A comical and professional English-speaking guide — usually either Mad Dog, Wild Thing or both — is present on the speedboat.
Unfortunately, the Beast speedboat tour in NYC is not wheelchair accessible. Pregnant women and guests shorter than 3-foot-3 are not advised to ride due to the high-speed nature of the activity.
It is not advertised that there is WiFi on the speedboat.
Except for certified service animals, pets are not permitted.
Smoking is not permitted on the Beast speedboat ride.
There are no toilets on board the Beast. Use the restrooms at the Pier 83 facility before boarding.
Boarding begins a half-hour before departure so it is recommended to arrive early.

Our review

The BEAST Speedboat experience is a great alternative if you want to see the Statue of Liberty. The hosts are funny, nice, and make sure that your adventure is equal parts thrilling and breathtaking. If you are visiting in the warmer months (and don’t mind getting a little wet) and want a quick and fun way to see iconic parts of the Lower Manhattan skyline, this is a fantastic choice!

2 – Harbor lights cruise by Circle Line Cruises

Harbor lights cruise by Circle Line Cruises

Rating: ⭐️ 4.6/5 (126 reviews)

“It’s was great!! We sat on the very top of boat & we had a great view & beautiful evening! A highlight of our NYC visit!!” Angela, Tiqets

The Harbor Lights Cruise by Circle Line Cruises is an iconic and romantic way to explore the New York City skyline at night. This slow-paced, 2-hour cruise takes you along the Hudson River, past the Lower Manhattan skyline and up the East River, dishing up stunning views of famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Battery Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Roosevelt Island along the way.

As the skyline twinkles under the moonlight, you’ll be treated to lovely views of skyscrapers like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the Freedom Tower from afar.

On board the luxurious boat, you can relax on comfortable outdoor decks or in the climate-controlled indoor cabin while listening to the value-packed narration from knowledgeable guides.

The Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises depart from Pier 83, which is located close to West 42nd Street and 12th Avenue.
The Harbor Lights Cruise by Circle Line Cruises lasts approximately 2 hours.
Tickets for the Harbor Lights Cruise by Circle Line Cruises cost approximately $50 for adults and $40 for children aged 3-12. Kids under 2 can join for free without a ticket required.
The Harbor Lights Cruise takes you along the Hudson River, past Lower Manhattan and then up the East River which separates Manhattan with Brooklyn and Queens.
The tour takes place in English. However, there is also a free downloadable app available in 6 additional languages: Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian and Mandarin Chinese
Except for the restrooms, the Circle Line Harbor Lights cruises are wheelchair and stroller accessible, making it a good option for travelers with mobility impairments.
Free WiFi is available onboard the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises.
With the exception of certified service animals, animals are not allowed on the tour.
Smoking is not allowed on board the Harbor Lights Cruise.
There are toilets on board the boat, as well as at the Pier 83 departure point.
It is advised to arrive 45 minutes before your Harbor Lights departure time.
You can also receive a 100% refund if you cancel up to a day before the tour starts.

Our review

The Harbor Lights Cruise by Circle Line Cruises is one of the best boat tours in NYC for anyone looking to see the city’s beautiful skyline lit up at night.

If you’re looking for a relaxing way to see the sights while learning about the landmarks, it’s a wonderful option.

Read more: Fun things to do in New York City at night

3 – Statue of Liberty & Midtown sightseeing cruise by Circle Line Cruises

Statue of Liberty & Midtown sightseeing cruise by Circle Line Cruises

Rating: ⭐️ 4.6/5 (27 reviews)

“We loved it!!!! The tour guide was awesome, very funny and informative. I would definitely recommend it!” Anna, Tiqets

A fast, fun and thrilling way to visit the iconic Statue of Liberty (without the heavy price tag of going to Liberty Island itself), this popular daytime cruise combines classic Lower and Midtown Manhattan sightseeing with an educational twist.

With live narration from the knowledgeable crew, you can learn about the history and significance of Lady Liberty — an icon who has held the torch over Manhattan since 1886 — as you take in spectacular views of the concrete jungle’s skyline.

En route to Lady Liberty, you’ll also get to see notable landmarks like Chelsea Piers, the High Line, Governor’s Island and the Lower Manhattan skyline.

The Circle Line Cruises Statue of Liberty tour departs from Pier 83, which sits at the end of West 42nd Street near 12th Avenue, straddling the Hudson.
The cruise itself lasts approximately 1 hour. However, it is recommended to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure to allow time for boarding.
Tickets for the Statue of Liberty & Midtown Cruise start at US$29 for adults and US$20 for children (3-12 years old).
There is also an onboard café where you can purchase food and drink.
Starting from Pier 83, the Statue of Liberty & Midtown Cruise takes you on a journey around Manhattan. You'll cruise south down the Hudson River and pass by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island before looping back up towards Midtown.
The tour is officially conducted in English, however, all Circle Line tours also offer a free app. The app features translations in 6 different languages including Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese and German.
The Statue of Liberty & Midtown Cruise is fully accessible for wheelchairs. If you require additional specific assistance, you can contact Circle Line ahead of time to make arrangements.
Free wifi is available onboard the cruise.
It is not advertised whether pets are allowed on the Statue of Liberty & Midtown Cruise. However, due to safety regulations, it is unlikely that they would be permitted unless they are a service or companion animal.
There is no smoking allowed on the cruise.
The Circle Line ships are equipped with restrooms for customer use.
The Statue of Liberty & Midtown Cruise is a popular tourist activity, so it is recommended to book tickets in advance to secure your spot.
The cruise operates year-round, with departures every day. It can get very cold on the water during winter, so make sure to bring extra layers.

Our review

Great for families and first-time visitors who want a quick but in-depth look at the Statue of Liberty, this cruise is the perfect balance between sightseeing and relaxation. The tour guides are knowledgeable and entertaining, providing interesting facts and anecdotes throughout the journey. Take a seat on the open-air upper deck when the weather’s warm to really soak up the beauty of the New York skyline. Definitely recommend!

Read more: Statue of Liberty last minute tickets

4 – “Best of NYC” sightseeing cruise by Circle Line Cruises

“Best of NYC” sightseeing cruise by Circle Line Cruises

Rating: ⭐️ 4.7/5 (43 reviews)

“It was the most relaxing entertaining cruise ever I’m gonna do it yearly now perfect way to see New York” Simonne, Tiqets

Lasting close to 2.5 hours, this cruise acts as a highlight reel of the five boroughs, taking you down all three NYC rivers (the Hudson, the East and the Harlem) and passing by infamous sights like Ellis Island, One World Trade Center, Yankee Stadium and more.

In total, you’ll cruise under 20 different bridges — none more famous than the Brooklyn Bridge — learning all about the history and architecture of this great city along the way.

Compared to most other boat tours in NYC, the “Best of NYC” sightseeing cruise by Circle Line Cruises provides a much more comprehensive look at the city’s iconic landmarks and skyline.

The Best of NYC cruise departs from Pier 83 at West 42nd Street in Manhattan.
The cruise lasts approximately 2.5 hours on the water, plus the boarding time.
Tickets for the Best of NYC cruise usually cost US$49 for adults and US$40 for children between 3-12 years old.
Starting from Pier 83, the "Best of NYC" cruise takes a circular route around Manhattan Island. You'll first venture south along the Hudson toward the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island before heading north to cruise under the Brooklyn Bridge. From there, you'll loop back around to see Yankee Stadium and other famous landmarks before finishing where you started.
The tour is officially conducted in English with a live guide. However, Circle Line also offers a translation sightseeing app, with information in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Mandarin and Portuguese.
The Best of NYC cruise is wheelchair accessible.
Free WiFi is available on board.
Service animals are allowed on board with guests. Pets, however, are typically not permitted. You can contact the tour provider for any special circumstances.
Smoking is prohibited on board the Best of NYC cruise.
There are multiple restrooms available on board the ship, as well as at the Pier 83 departure point.
There is a cafe and bar on board the Best of NYC cruise, serving a variety of snacks and beverages for purchase.

Our review

The “Best of NYC” cruise is a fantastic and incredibly relaxing way to see the iconic sights of New York City. The circular route around Manhattan Island ensures that you won’t miss any major landmarks, and the onboard tour guide adds another layer of excitement and knowledge to the experience.

Try to get in line early to get the top back seats!

Read more: Best family things to do in New York City with kids

5 – Manhattan sightseeing cruise by Circle Line Cruises

Manhattan sightseeing cruise by Circle Line Cruises

Rating: ⭐️ 4.3/5 (106 reviews)

“A spectacular boat ride, with fantastic views. Highly recommended” Isabel, Civitatis

Focusing on the many faces of Manhattan, this 90-minute tour shows off the diversity and beauty of New York City’s most famous borough.

With commentary from your local crew the whole way through, you’ll learn about postcard-worthy landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, underrated spots like the UN Headquarters, and all of the towering skyscrapers in between.

For the best things to do in Manhattan, this tour offers an overview of the city’s highlights, passing by iconic neighborhoods like Chinatown, Greenwich Village, and the Financial District, where you can catch a glimpse of the Freedom Tower, Manhattan’s tallest building.

The Manhattan sightseeing cruise by Circle Line Cruises departs from Pier 83 at West 42nd Street, near 12th Avenue.
The cruise lasts approximately 90 minutes, plus time for boarding and disembarking.
Tickets start at $41 for adults and $32 for children (age 3-12). Kids under 3 can join the tour for free.
Like many of the best boat tours in NYC, this cruise starts and ends at the same location, Pier 83. From there, it moves south along the Hudson River towards Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty before a short stint up the East River to pass the Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges.
An onboard tour guide provides live commentary in English as you cruise along the river. You can also download the Circle Line app where translated narration is available in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Mandarin.
The Manhattan sightseeing cruise is wheelchair accessible. However, it is recommended to inform the company beforehand if you require any special assistance or have accessibility needs.
Free wifi is available onboard for the convenience of all passengers.
Animals are not permitted onboard, except for certified service animals.
Smoking is not allowed on-board the cruise, or any tours operated by Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises.
There are restrooms available onboard for passengers to use during the cruise.
You can wait until 10 am on the same day to book your ticket. However, it is recommended to book in advance to secure your spot as this particular tour can be popular and sell out quickly during peak travel season.

Our review

Manhattan is as postcard-worthy as they come, and there’s no better way to appreciate it than from the water.

The Manhattan Sightseeing Cruise serves up a fresh perspective of the Big Apple’s iconic skyline. If you’re looking for a leisurely and entertaining way to take in the sights and learn more about the city’s history, this tour is a must-do.

Read more: Best NYC city tours

6 – New Year’s Eve cruise by Circle Line Cruises

New Year’s Eve cruise by Circle Line Cruises

Rating: ⭐️ 4/5 (104 reviews)

“My husband and I had a wonderful new year’s eve. The firework at the statue of liberty was incredibly beautiful, the atmosphere on board really great.” Matteo, Viator

NYC is special any time of year. But when the city is lit up with sparkling Christmas lights and colorful fireworks on New Year’s Eve, it reaches a whole new level of magic.

Besides the obvious advantages of viewing the city’s skyline, the cruise also gives you a front-row seat to the festivities as the clock strikes midnight.

With an open bar full of cocktails, as well as delicious hors d’oeuvres and a DJ spinning the latest hits, there’s arguably no better way to ring in the new year.

The New Year's Eve cruise by Circle Line Cruises departs from Pier 83 at West 42nd Street and the Hudson River.
Starting at 10 pm, the cruise lasts around 3 hours.
Tickets for the Circle Line New Year's Eve cruise start at US$249 per person.
Starting at Pier 83, the cruise will take you on a journey along the Hudson River down to the New York Harbor. You will cruise around Lower and Midtown Manhattan before ending up at the Statue of Liberty for the midnight fireworks.
The official language of the tour is English, however, there is no designated tour guide for this event so language isn't vital.
The cruise is wheelchair accessible.
Free WiFi is available for guests.
With the exception of certified service companions, no animals are allowed on Circle Line cruises.
Smoking is not allowed on the cruise or any Circle Line cruise.
Several toilets are available on the cruise.
Compared to other NYC boat tours, expect this one to be busy. Therefore, arrive at least an hour before departure time to ensure you get your tickets processed and secure a good spot on the boat.

Our review

Compared to the chaos that is the Times Square ball drop, a cruise along the Hudson River is a peaceful and luxurious way to celebrate the start of a new year. The open bar and the live DJ set the mood terrifically, but it’s the skyline lit up with fireworks that steals the show. 10/10.

7 – Manhattan architecture cruise by Classic Harbor Line

Manhattan architecture cruise by Classic Harbor Line

Rating: ⭐️ 5/5 (703 reviews)

“This was a great way to look at all of New York famous buildings and learn about their history! I would go again!” Jessica, Viator

In partnership with AIA New York (the American Institute of Architects), this cruise is tailor-made for architecture enthusiasts.

Departing from Chelsea Piers aboard a luxury 1920s-style yacht, this cruise takes you on a 2-hour ride along the Hudson River, showcasing some of Manhattan’s most iconic feats of human engineering — the Empire State Building, the Woolworth Building, the Chrysler Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge, to name a few.

On board, a licensed architect will guide you through the history and design aspects of each structure, giving you a newfound appreciation of the myriad diverse architectural styles that make up New York City.

The Classic Harbor Line architecture cruise departs from Pier Pier 62 in Chelsea Piers, on the west side of Manhattan.
This in-depth architecture cruise lasts approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes, not including time for boarding.
Adult tickets are approximately US$112 per person. There are no children's tickets due to the heavily-narrated nature of the tour.
After departing from Chelsea Piers, the yacht will make its way down the Hudson River before circling around the southern tip of Manhattan. As it continues along the East River, it will pass by famous landmarks such as the United Nations Headquarters Roosevelt Island.
The boat will then sail along the Harlem River to circle the northernmost point of Manhattan before heading back down the Hudson River towards Chelsea Piers.
This architecture cruise is conducted in English only.
Unfortunately due to the old style of the 1920s yacht, it is not accessible for wheelchair users.
It is not advertised whether or not there is wifi available on the yacht.
It is not permitted to bring pets onboard the yacht. If you have a service animal, you may bring them on board with proper documentation.
There is no smoking allowed onboard the yacht or any Classic Harbor Line vessels.
Bathrooms are available on board for passenger use.
Every architecture cruise also includes a free glass of wine or beer to enjoy.

Our review

A non-negotiable NYC boat tour for architecture buffs, this highly educational adventure combines all the best elements of a harbor tour with a comprehensive look at the city’s most iconic buildings. The guides are great at telling the story of how NYC has developed throughout the eras! 10/10.

8 – Sunset Yacht cruise by Classic Harbor Line

Sunset Yacht cruise by Classic Harbor Line

Rating: ⭐️ 4.9/5 (223 reviews)

“We had the best time on the Manhattan II. It was all so elegant and festive with lovely music, amazing cocktails, and great food options.” Bonnie, Getyourguide

By day, the New York skyline is a feast for the senses. But as the sun goes down and the colors change; as the buildings begin to be illuminated by sparkling lights, it becomes all the more enchanting — and there’s no better vantage point for it all than a Classic Harbor Line 1920s-style yacht on the Hudson River.

Easily one of the more romantic boat trips in NYC, this sunset yacht cruise escorts you down the Hudson, past Battery Park and the South Street Seaport en route to the New York Harbor.

Take your pick from the open-air deck or the glassed-in back-deck observatory; either way, expect picture-perfect sunset views.

The Classic Harbor Line sunset cruise departs from Pier 62 in Chelsea Pears, located on the end of West 22nd Street on the Hudson River shoreline.
The sunset yacht cruise lasts around 1.5 hours, not including boarding or disembarking.
Tickets for the Classic Harbor Line sunset cruise cost around US$86 per person.
Starting from Pier 62, the yacht will sail south down the Hudson River towards Battery Park in Lower Manhattan.
After spending some time near the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge, you'll turn around and go back up the Hudson to where the tour began.
The sunset yacht cruise has an onboard English-speaking guide who will share insights about the notable landmarks as you pass them by.
Due to the vintage nature of the yacht, limited accessibility is available for wheelchair users. It is recommended to contact the tour operator in advance for more information based on your particular circumstances.
It is not advertised whether or not there is wifi available onboard the yacht. However, it is best to assume that there will not be and to enjoy the views without distractions.
Only certified service animals are allowed.
Smoking is not permitted on board this or any other Classic Harbor Line NYC cruises,
You will find clean, well-maintained restrooms available on board the Classic Harbor Line sunset cruise.
The departure time of this cruise varies depending on daily sunset times. So make sure to double-check the tour schedule before booking.

Our review

The beautiful, historic boat adds an extra level of romance to this already special sunset cruise. The views are breathtaking and the friendly crew make sure you learn a thing or two along the way. Ideal for those warm summer nights, this intimate, classic yacht cruise is definitely worth the extra few bucks.

9 – Sailing on the Schooner Adirondack by Classic Harbor Line

Sailing on the on the Schooner Adirondack by Classic Harbor Line

Rating: ⭐️ 4.9/5 (138 reviews)

“I will keep unforgettable memories! It’s actually my favorite moment in New York. I absolutely recommend!!” Laura, Getyourguide

Taking place on a glorious 80-foot schooner (a big sailboat), the Schooner Adirondack by Classic Harbor Line promises a wonderful 2-hour retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the New York streets.

As you set sail from Chelsea Piers, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Lower Manhattan, with the chance to snap pictures of the Statue of Liberty and the southern tip of Manhattan — glass of bubbly in hand.

Expect to hear plenty of colorful commentary about the world-famous landmarks as you sail by.

The Schooner Adirondack departs from Chelsea Piers (West 22nd Street and the Hudson River) in Manhattan.
This sunset cruise usually lasts around 2 hours.
Tickets for the Schooner Adirondack sunset cruise usually cost around US$96 per person
The Schooner Adirondack sets sail from Chelsea Piers and heads towards the Statue of Liberty, passing by famous landmarks such as Ellis Island, Battery Park, Governors Island, and more.
Classic Harbor Line's Schooner cruise has an English-speaking crew and captain.
Unfortunately the Schooner Adirondack is not wheelchair accessible.
It is not advertised whether or not wifi is available on board the Schooner Adirondack.
Unless a service animal, animals are not allowed on board the Schooner Adirondack.
Smoking is not permitted on board the Schooner Adirondack.
Restrooms are available on board the Schooner Adirondack.
Guests receive a complimentary drink on board.

Our review

A less touristy experience compared to other sightseeing vessels, this sailing experience is a fantastic option for open-aired Lower Manhattan sightseeing.

Given that this sunset cruise is more popular with adults, it’s an excellent choice for couples or friends looking for a peaceful evening on the water.

10 – Evening Jazz Cruise by Classic Harbor Line

Evening Jazz Cruise by Classic Harbor Line

Rating: ⭐️ 4.7/5 (172 reviews)

“Wonderful experience in every way! An unforgettable ride, with excellent attention from the crew, personalized and warm. The best thing about my stay in New York!” Pamela, Getyourguide

One for the music aficionados, this toe-tapping cruise takes you along the Hudson River with live jazz music ringing out as you sail. With a complimentary drink in hand, you can sit back and take in the iconic Manhattan skyline transforms from day to night.

Operated by Classic Harbor Line, the Evening Jazz Cruise transports you back to a bygone era; not only through the music, but through the 1920s-style luxury yacht as well.

As you sail past picturesque spots like the Financial District and Governor’s Island, you’ll hear classics from Duke Ellington, modern R&B grooves and everything in between.

The jazz cruise departs from Chelsea Piers, conveniently located on Manhattan's west side at Pier 62.
Generally, the jazz cruise lasts around 90 minutes, plus time for boarding.
Tickets cost around US$108 per person. Sometimes, at least 2 people are required to make a booking.
After setting sail from Chelsea Piers, the cruise will take you along the Hudson River toward the South Street Seaport and back again.
Tours are operated in English, with a friendly guide who will provide interesting commentary about the sights and sounds along the way.
Unfortunately, due to the age of the vessel and lack of accessibility equipment, this tour is not wheelchair friendly.
It is not advertised whether or not free WiFi is available on the yacht.
Pets are not permitted on board the jazz yacht cruise unless they are certified service animals needed to perform a task. Emotional support animals are not permitted.
Smoking is not permitted on the jazz cruise.
Restrooms can be found onboard.
A free alcoholic beverage is included in the ticket price, and additional beverages can be purchased on board.

Our review

A guaranteed magical evening on the water, this cruise takes the culture and excitement of a jazz concert to the serene setting of a yacht. It’s a very romantic experience that’s not at all touristy compared to some of the other sightseeing cruises. 10/10 recommend for music lovers!

11 – Holiday cruise by Classic Harbor Line

Holiday cruise by Classic Harbor Line

Rating: ⭐️ 4.8/5 (303 reviews)

“This was one of the best NYC experiences ever! So glad that we did this, I definitely will be recommending it to anyone that is visiting New York City.” Krystal, Viator

If you’re lucky enough to be in New York City during the holiday season, the Big Apple comes alive with bright lights, festive decorations and Christmas cheer.

On board the Classic Harbor Line’s NYC Holiday Yacht Cruise, not only are you blessed with lovely views of the skyline — particularly that of the Financial District — but you’re immersed in a winter wonderland of carols, cocoa, cookies and holiday spirit.

The luxurious yacht features a glass-enclosed cabin, heated interior and plenty of blankets to ensure you stay nice and cozy when it’s cold outside – a lovely overall experience.

The Holiday Yacht Cruise leaves from Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers.
The cruise lasts approximately 90 minutes.
Tickets for the Holiday Yacht Cruise usually cost around US$118, with taxes and fees included
This tour starts and ends at Chelsea Piers, making its way down to the New York Harbor where you'll get a close-up view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
This cruise is operated in English, with a friendly crew on hand to answer any questions.
Since this vessel is a classic, vintage yacht, it is not wheelchair accessible.
It is not advertised whether or not wifi is available on board, but you'll likely be too busy admiring the views and indulging in holiday treats to worry about it.
Unless you have a certified service animal that helps perform a task (i.e. Guide Dog), animals are not allowed on board.
Smoking is not allowed on board the yacht.
You will find restrooms on the yacht.
Holiday jazz cruises only operate during the holiday season, starting in November. Due to limited availability, it's advised to book in advance.

Our review

Guaranteed to leave you feeling oh-so festive, the Holiday Yacht Cruise embodies what NYC at Christmas time is all about: twinkly lights, warm drinks, and scenic views. The music and hot cocoa are delightful, and the detailed holiday décor is the cherry on top.

12 – Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Cruise by Attractions4Us

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Cruise by Attractions4Us

Rating: ⭐️ 4.1/5 (143 reviews)

“I love the one hour ride, it was fun to see the Statue of the Liberty really close, there was a wonderful oportunidad to take very nice pics to of around of the bay!” Elena, Tiqets

Operated by Attractions4Us, this affordable sightseeing tour takes you onto the picturesque waters of New York Harbor aboard a three-level paddle boat.

You’ll get within 100 feet of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, learning about the rich 150-year history and significance of these iconic landmarks along the way from your upbeat, expert crew.

The boat boasts both indoor and outdoor viewing areas, allowing you to snap those envy-evoking photos of Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline regardless of the weather.
Take your pick from daytime cruises, romantic sunset cruises, or a moonlit night cruise.

These tours depart from Pier 36 Slip 3, located at 299 South St on the Lower East Side (near the Manhattan Bridge).
The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Cruise lasts approximately 1 hour.
Prices are generally US$35 per adult, US$32 for seniors 66+ and US$25 for kids 2-11. 10% discounts are often available if booked online.
This cruise starts at Manhattan's Lower East Side, at Pier 36. From here, it sails south down the East River to the New York Harbor, passing under the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge along the way.
The audio guide is available in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish. The crew's primary language is English.
The experience is both wheelchair and stroller accessible.
Free WiFi is available on the boat for the duration of the cruise.
Only certified service animals are allowed.
Smoking is not permitted on the boat.
There are toilets on board for passenger use.
Be extra mindful of the departure point being on the East River, since most boat tours in NYC depart from the Hudson River.

Our review

This adventure is a great option for anyone wanting a quick and easy boat tour experience to squeeze into a day of sightseeing. The crew is helpful and the audio guide is very insightful. Its East River departure point is very convenient too. Recommend!

13 – Adventure boat ride by New York Media Boat

Adventure boat ride by New York Media Boat
credit to New York Media Boat

Rating: ⭐️ 5/5 (493 reviews)

“It was fun experiencing the speed boat on the waves; all the different angles of the sights was nice to take pictures and memories!” Marco, Viator

A fast-paced, hair-raising ride adventure awaits with New York Media Boat. Taking place on the New York Harbor where you’re treated to top-notch views of the Freedom Tower, Staten Island and the underrated Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, this tour is not for the faint of heart.

You’ll be holding on for dear life as your experienced captain navigates through the waves and performs thrilling maneuvers – think jumps, powerslide, and rapid acceleration moves.

And in between high-octane spins, your captain will share all kinds of tidbits about the nearby landmarks (such as the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty).

The Adventure Boat Tour departs from the North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan — 225 Liberty St, New York 10281.
The exciting, fast-paced tour lasts approximately 1 hour.
Tickets are priced at US$99 per person, including local taxes.
After departing from the North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place, the tour heads to the New York Marina, passing by all the iconic Lower Manhattan sites, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Governor's Island.
This adrenaline-filled boat tour is led by experienced, English-speaking captains who are licensed by the US Coast Guard and are knowledgeable about the NYC area.
Due to the small size of the boat and the fast-paced nature of the tour, this boat tour may not be suitable for those with limited mobility. The boat itself is not wheelchair accessible.
It is not advertised whether the boat is equipped with wifi, however, it is unlikely given the fast-paced nature of the tour.
Only certified service animals are allowed on board the boat.
Smoking on the boat is strictly prohibited.
There are no toilets on board the boat.
This activity has a maximum of 12 travelers, ensuring a more personalized experience.

Our review

If you’re a thrill seeker, this rollercoaster-like tour is a no-brainer. The captain makes sure that the adventure is fun as well as educational, and you’ll get to see some of the most famous landmarks in NYC from a unique perspective. The tour is relatively short, so it’s easy to fit into your busy sightseeing schedule.

14 – Brunch or Lunch cruise by City Experiences

Brunch or Lunch cruise by City Experiences
credit to City Experiences

Rating: ⭐️ 4.3/5 (223 reviews)

“The sightseeing, the food, and the music was great. I would recommend the lunch buffet cruise on the Spirit of New York for any visitor to New York.” Ralph, Getyourguide

A great way to add a touch of luxury to your NYC sightseeing itinerary, the City Experiences tours – take your pick from brunch, lunch or dinner – provide a more leisurely pace compared to some of the other boat tours on this list.

As you make your way along both the Hudson and East Rivers on the Spirit of New York ship, you’ll be treated to views of landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower.

Meanwhile, you can tuck into an al-fresco-style buffet while you enjoy tunes spun by the onboard DJ – what’s not to love?

The City Experiences buffet tours start at Pier 61 in the Chelsea Piers, at the end of West 23rd Street.
The duration of these buffet tours varies between 2 and 3 hours, depending on which meal you choose.
3-hour dinner buffet cruises cost US$150 and US$205 per person depending on the day. 2-hour brunch buffet cruises cost US$145 for adults and US$125 for kids, but may also change slightly depending on the day. Finally, lunch cruises are more affordable, at around US$120 for adults and US$95 for kids.
All meal cruises set sail from Chelsea Piers and make their way south down the Hudson toward the Statue of Liberty. They then turn east, going under the Brooklyn Bridge and up the East River before returning back to Chelsea Piers.
There is no official tour guide for this activity. All crew members speak English should you have any questions.
This City Experiences tour is both wheelchair and stroller accessible.
It is not stated whether or not there is Wifi on board.
Apart from certified service animals, pets are not allowed on board.
Smoking is not allowed on board the boat.
You will find toilets on board, as well as at the departure pier.
Brunch cruises usually include eggs, salads, pastries, fruits and desserts. Lunch and dinner menus include a variety of salads; meat, vegetarian and seafood entrees; and a wide selection of desserts.

Our review

Not only is the food amazing, but so are the staff and the views. The cruises aren’t overcrowded, and there’s more than enough food for everyone to feast. The skyline views are epic, especially on dinner cruises, and the live entertainment is the cherry on top.

15 – Statue cruise by City Experiences

Statue cruise by City Experiences
credit to City Experiences

Rating: ⭐️ 4.3/5 (1097 reviews)

“Perfect boat ride to see Lady Liberty. Easy on and off, plenty of seating and standing room. Also loved the availability of snacks and drinks on board. Well spent 1.5 hours with my daughter.” Jana, Headout

Focusing on the infamous Statue of Liberty – a symbol of America that’s stood tall in the New York Harbor since the late 1800s – this short and sweet City Experiences tour acts as a sneak peek to the Lower Manhattan icons.

You’ll get to see the statue and her pedestal up close and personal, as well as cruise by other notable sights like Ellis Island, the historic South Street Seaport, and the upscale Seaport District.

This tour also offers an audio guide that provides insight-packed commentary on the landmarks as you pass them by.

Unlike most NYC boat tours, this one leaves from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, at Pier 36 (299 South St).
The tour lasts approximately 1 hour.
Expect to pay around US$33 per person when booked online.
After departing from the Lower East Side, the cruise will take you under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges before getting close to the Statue of Liberty. You will return to the starting point after 1 hour.
The audio guide is available in six languages: English, German, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Japanese.
This City Experiences cruise is both wheelchair and stroller-friendly.
Free WiFi is available on board for all guests to enjoy.
Pets are allowed on this particular cruise.
No smoking is allowed on board.
You will find restrooms on board the vessel as well as at the seaport.
It is advised to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to departure time to ensure a smooth boarding process.

Our review

One of the more affordable Statue of Liberty cruises, this 1-hour sightseeing tour is perfect for anyone on a time crunch in NYC. The audio guide is extremely insightful, telling the history of the area. The fact that you can cancel 24 hours before the experience and get a full refund provides that extra peace of mind. A+.

16 – Dinner cruise by City Experiences

Dinner cruise by City Experiences

Rating: ⭐️ 4.5/5 (378 reviews)

“I was very pleased with our cruise. The Statue of Liberty was a wonderful highlight and the crew members and music made it very memorable and moving.” Lesa, Civitatis

Combining a 3-course meal with live music and unlimited (non-alcoholic) drinks, this evening adventure promises a romantic, easy-going night out on the water.

With a non-compulsory semi-formal dress code, this cruise sells itself as an elegant alternative to the typical tourist sightseeing packages.

As you tuck into your delicious meal, you’ll be blessed with unobstructed views of the Lower Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and more.

If you’re traveling as a couple, this City Experiences excursion (by Hornblower) is the perfect date night option.

This dinner cruise sets sail from Chelsea Piers, dock 61, on the Hudson River in Manhattan.
The length of this NYC boat tour ranges from 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours.
This tour typically costs around US$258 per person (ages 6+).
The cruise begins at Chelsea Piers and sails down the Hudson River towards the Statue of Liberty, then back to the departure point.
There is no official tour guide but all of the English-speaking crew members are very knowledgeable about the city and its landmarks and can answer any questions.
This NYC cruise is wheelchair accessible but you must specify your needs when booking the reservation.
It is not advertised whether or not there is wifi on board.
Service animals are allowed onboard but pets are not permitted.
Smoking is not permitted on board this cruise.
Toilets are available on board the boat.
The 3-course meal consists of an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. There is also a bar on board where you can purchase alcoholic drinks.

Our review

Great views, great food, and a brilliant live band to top it all off! While it might be a little more expensive compared to other dinner cruises, the City Experiences Hornblower cruise promises a highly romantic excursion that’s worth every penny.

17 – Statue of Liberty Cruise by Liberty Cruise

Statue of Liberty Cruise by Liberty Cruise

Rating: ⭐️ 3/5 (102 reviews)

“This tour was the best. The guide was extremely knowledgeable. My daughter and I really enjoyed it and would take this cruise again.” Gigi, Viator

Operated by Liberty Cruise, who have run Lower Manhattan tours for years, this particular Statue of Liberty cruise is compact, affordable and highly educational — a great option if you’re looking for something simple and budget-friendly.

Thanks to a live narration, you’ll hear all about the history of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and immigration to America as you sail around the New York Harbor.

Regardless of the time of day, you’re treated to exceptional vistas of the Financial District’s skyline, plus the shores of Brooklyn, New Jersey and Governor’s Island.

This cruise leaves from Pier 36 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, located at 299 South St.
The cruise lasts around 1 hour and 10 minutes plus boarding.
During the week, adult tickets cost US$27 and kids (4-12) tickets cost US$22. On the weekends, tickets are US$42 and US$36 respectively.
After departing from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the boat will take you to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and back.
You will pass under the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge along the way.
A live, English-speaking guide will narrate the cruise.
Unfortunately, this cruise is not wheelchair accessible.
It is not advertised whether or not WiFi is available on board the vessel.
Service animals may be allowed but you should contact Liberty Cruises NYC ahead of time to make sure.
Smoking is not allowed on Liberty Cruises NYC vessels.
Toilets are available on board the boat.
The boat has three decks to choose from: Sky Deck (outdoor), Mid Deck (outdoor & heated indoor), and Lower Deck (heated indoor).

Our review

The views and the information are top-notch. Thanks to the cheap price, it’s a good option if traveling with kids. Getting on the boat leaves something to be desired, so make sure to arrive early to make the process smooth.

18 – Statue of Liberty Super Express Cruise by New York Water Taxi

Statue of Liberty Super Express Cruise by New York Water Taxi

Rating: ⭐️ 4.5/5 (1598 reviews)

“I went with my husband and we took a bunch of awesome pictures of the city during the sunset. I definitely recommend this!” Gabriela, Viator

Taking place in an iconic yellow NYC Water Taxi (boat-style), this short and sweet tour is tailor-made for those short on time,

Thanks to the smaller vessel, it’s faster to get around compared to bigger boats, yet still allowing enough time for great photo opportunities of the Statue of Liberty and the New York Harbor. The onboard narration ensures you’ll learn plenty about the iconic sights as you cruise by them.

Plus, the boat leaves every hour, so it’s easy to fit into an already jam-packed day of sightseeing.

This cruise departs from Pier 16 (89 South Street) on Manhattan's Lower East Side, near the Circle Line ticket booth.
The cruise lasts approximately 50 minutes.
Adult tickets usually cost US$29 and children’s tickets cost US$24.
After departing from the historic Seaport, you'll make a beeline for the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
The live narration is conducted in English.
This cruise is both wheelchair and stroller accessible.
It is not advertised whether or not WiFi is included on New York Water Taxi vessels.
Only certified service animals are allowed onboard.
Smoking is not allowed on the vessel.
New York Water Taxi vessels have one restroom.
Boarding is on a first-come, first-serve basis, so arrive early if you want upper-deck seats.

Our review

Fast and fantastic! If you have limited time to visit the area, this is a quick way to see a couple of New York’s main tourist landmarks. You get to see Lady Liberty up close and learn about its history. Great value for money too. Definitely recommend.

19 – 4th of July Fireworks Cruise by Go Sailing NYC

4th of July Fireworks Cruise by Go Sailing NYC

“I booked a 2 hour sail on the 4th of July as a surprise for my husband’s birthday and he said it was the best birthday present ever” Nina, Google Review

New York already boasts the world’s most recognizable skyline. But when the Fourth of July rolls around, the city takes it to a whole new level with festive fireworks lighting up the night sky.

The Go Sailing NYC cruise is more like a private party on the water; you’ll have the entire boat to yourself, with an open bar and catering options to turn it into a full-blown celebration.

As you sail around the New York Harbor, you’ll see Lady Liberty and the Lower Manhattan skyline up close, with luxury front-row seats to the dazzling fireworks.

The private 4th of July Fireworks Cruise departs from Pier 59 at Chelsea Piers (West 17th Street).
The cruise lasts approximately 4 hours.
This boat tour costs US$3,600 for a maximum of 6 passengers (plus $356 tax). Open bar options and catering cost extra.
You will sail from Chelsea Piers down to the New York Harbor and back. Being a private tour, you can customize your route to suit your interests.
The captain and informative crew are English speakers.
These sailboats are not wheelchair accessible.
It is not advertised that there is WiFi onboard the vessel.
Service animals are permitted but pets are not.
Smoking and vaping are not allowed on the boat.
Restrooms are available on board.
The yacht has a sound system you can plug your device into, so you can bring your own music to set the mood.

Our review

It’s not cheap, but it’s one of the more magical experiences you can have on the New York waterways. The views are spectacular and the crew are so friendly and respectful. If you want to celebrate Independence Day in style, there’s no better way.

20 – Sailing on the Shearwater Classic Schooner by Manhattan by Sail

Sailing on the Shearwater Classic Schooner by Manhattan by Sail

Rating: ⭐️ 4.5/5 (53 reviews)

“Beautiful views of Hudson, Manhattan, Brooklyn, East river, Statue of Liberty. And the journey is really comfortable!” Sam, Viator

Like stepping back in time, the Shearwater Classic Schooner sells itself as a nostalgic and elegant way to experience the New York Harbor. Dating back to 1929, the Shearwater has a rich history; and with its spacious outdoor deck, you’ll be treated to amazing city views.

You can expect a knowledgeable and courteous crew who can share interesting historical facts about the city and its iconic landmarks — the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge, to name a couple.

The incredibly relaxing tour, run by Manhattan by Sail, promises an intimate experience with only 37 passengers on board.

The Shearwater sets sail from the south side of North Cove Marina in Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan on the Hudson River.
The experience lasts approximately 90 minutes.
Typically, tickets for Adults cost US$60 and tickets for kids (0-12) cost US$35.
After departing from Brookfield Place, the Shearwater sails down the Hudson River towards Lady Liberty. You'll spend some time circling the New York Harbor before making your way back to the Marina.
The captain and crew speak English.
The boat is advertised as being both wheelchair and stroller accessible. However, it is recommended to contact Manhattan by Sail beforehand to make sure of arrangements.
WiFi is not advertised as being included on the sailboat.
Only certified service animals are allowed.
No smoking is allowed on the sailboat.
You will find a restroom on the boat as well as at the departure point.
The majority of seating is on the open-air deck so bring layers to keep warm.

Our review

A much more intimate experience than the larger tour boats, the Shearwater is a delightful adventure that combines peaceful and picturesque sightseeing with a touch of old-school sailing. The boat is beautifully maintained, the crew is friendly, and it’s decent value for money. Overall, a lovely afternoon experience.

21 – Tall Ship Sail aboard Clipper City by Manhattan by Sail

Tall Ship Sail aboard Clipper City by Manhattan by Sail

Rating: ⭐️ 4.5/5 (223 reviews)

“It was a great Saturday afternoon for a sail around NYC, the weather was outstanding, jazz music and atmosphere was on point. Thank you guys for a wonderful day in NYC.” Ray, Viator

Looking like an old-timey pirate ship, the Clipper City tall ship invites sightseeing travelers to join an open-aired adventure through NYC.

While the skyline views and up-close look at the Statue of Liberty and the Governors Island National Monument are notable highlights, the boat is an attraction in its own right.

This 158-foot long, 120-foot-high vessel is an impressive sight — able to accommodate more passengers than any other sailboat in the county.

Guests are encouraged to help with the ropes to raise the sails, making it a highly engaging experience too.

The Clipper departs from Pier 17 at the historic Seaport, just below the Brooklyn Bridge on Lower East Side Manhattan.
This cruise lasts around 90 minutes plus boarding.
Prices are US$60 for adults and US$25 for kids 0-12.
The Clipper travels from the historic Seaport down to the New York Harbor, boasting views of Manhattan’s Financial District.
The captain and crew primarily speak English.
The Clipper is accessible for both wheelchairs and strollers.
It is not advertised whether or not there is wifi onboard.
Service animals are permitted on the Clipper.
Smoking is not allowed.
You will find a restroom onboard.
If you ask the captain nicely, you can even have a turn steering the boat.

Our review

This tour is fantastic! Not only do you get to see the magnificent skyline and Lady Liberty, but you can also help hoist the sails and steer the ship. If you want more than just sightseeing – if you want an experience, then the Clipper is a great option.

22 – Sightseeing Cruise by N.Y.C Skyline Tours & Cruises

Sightseeing Cruise by N.Y.C Skyline Tours & Cruises

A relaxing, informative, and affordable way to see the Statue of Liberty and its surroundings, this N.Y.C Skyline Tours sightseeing excursion keeps it simple.

You’ll be able to sit back on the Majestic Princess and enjoy the scenery as a guide narrates your journey through some of New York City’s most iconic landmarks — the Freedom Tower, Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island and Governors Island, to name a few.

Take a seat on the open-air bow or back deck if the weather’s nice, or stay cozy indoors – either way, spectacular views await.

This cruise leaves from Pier 36 on Manhattan's Lower East Side, located at 299 South Street.
The cruise lasts approximately 60 minutes.
Tickets are US$25 per person plus US$1.50 each in fees.
This NYC boat tour takes you along the East River, passing under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges en route to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The insightful tour is narrated by an English-speaking guide.
It is not directly advertised on the website, but similar sized boats are typically accessible for wheelchair users. Contact NYC Skyline Tours if you have specific accessibility questions.
It is not advertised whether or not there is WiFi on board.
It is not directly advertised but only service animals will be allowed on board. Contact NYC Skyline Tours if you have specific questions about bringing service animals.
Smoking is not permitted on board the vessel.
Toilets can be found on the ship.
The Majestic Princess boat has an onboard bar with drinks and snacks available for purchase.

Our review

A no-frills and informative cruise that won’t break the bank, the NYC Skyline Tour is perfect for anyone looking to take in the quintessential sights within a shorter time frame.

Since it departs from the Historic Seaport, you explore the quaint neighborhood before or after the cruise too.

23 – Sailing tour in New York by Brooklyn Sail

Sailing tour in New York by Brooklyn Sail
credit to Brooklyn Sail

Rating: ⭐️ 5/5 (123 reviews)

“The captain was very knowledgeable about all the landmarks and very friendly with the all the customers treated everyone with respect. Will definitely book again.” Vincent, Viator

A more intimate sailing and sightseeing experience, the Brooklyn Sail cruise provides all the notable highlights of a Manhattan cruise (iconic landmarks, killer views and plenty of fascinating insights) without the need to actually set foot in the busy island.

Plus, being on a smaller boat means you get to sail closer to iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge.

The best part? With a maximum of six guests allowed on board, you can ditch the tourist crowds and enjoy a leisurely cruise with your nearest and dearest without the noise and chaos of a big boat.

The Brooklyn Sail experience departs from Pier 5 in Brooklyn (8 Joralemon St). The gate can be accessed from Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The cruise lasts between 2 hours and 2.5 hours.
Expect to pay around US$98 per person.
After departing from the Brooklyn Bridge Park, you'll sail down toward the Statue of Liberty and the New York Harbor. Following some sightseeing, you'll return to the departure point.
The knowledgeable captain speaks English.
Unfortunately, this small vessel is not wheelchair accessible. Strollers, however, are permitted.
Wifi is not advertised as being present on the sailboat.
Only service animals are allowed on Brooklyn Sail experiences.
Smoking is not allowed on board the boat.
There is a small restroom available on board the sailboat for guests to use during the cruise.
This tour is outdoors, so it only runs during the warmer months (from April to early November). Bring layers just in case.

Our review

This is far from the “typical” tourist experience. The Brooklyn Sail is a small-group, authentic, super fun couple of hours on the water. You feel relaxed, like you’ve got your very own boat, and the guides (Ian and Tyler) are incredible. Definitely recommend for anyone staying in Brooklyn.

Read more: Best things to do in Brooklyn

In the bustling metropolis of New York City, a plethora of companies provide intimate, private boat tours that offer a refreshing escape from the crowded streets (and the overcrowded, touristy sightseeing cruises).

If you love an exclusive experience, services like SamBoat and Click & Boat act as marketplaces for boat rentals, allowing you to navigate the city’s waterways at your own pace.

Whether you’re looking to charter a yacht and a captain for a luxury sunset cruise, or simply rent a small boat for a laid-back afternoon, these platforms have something to suit every preference and budget.

Let’s take a look at the most popular options below.

24 – Private sailing charters by Tribeca Sailing

Private sailing charters by Tribeca Sailing
credit to Tribeca Sailing

Oozing luxury, Tribeca Sailing boasts a slew of packages for intimate charters and private sailing tours.

The team offers bespoke trips on their gorgeous sailboats, ranging from family-friendly afternoon jaunts to romantic sunset cruises and twinkling moonlit city lights excursions — each with a maximum of up to six people onboard.

Bring your own food and drinks, connect to the speaker, and learn the ins and outs of sailing — it’s all part of the intimate adventure.

Regardless of the time of day, you’ll get a breathtaking perspective of the city’s iconic skyline, with the flexibility to customize your route as you please.

All Tribeca Sailing cruises depart from Manhattan's North Cove Marina at 225 Liberty Street in Battery Park City.
Tribeca Sailing tours last either 2 hours or 3 hours, depending on your chosen package.
For up to three guests, prices for the Tribeca Sailing charters range from US$495 to $550 for 2-hour hires.
For up to six guests, prices are between US$600 and US$950, depending on length and time of day.
The typical route is to go from Brookfield Place Marina in Battery Park, down the Hudson River to see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, then around Governors Island before returning.
However, Tribeca Sailing is happy to customize routes based on your preferences and interests.
Your captain is an English speaker and will also act as your tour guide.
Accessibility is not advertised on the Tribeca website. Contact them directly to discuss your needs.
WiFi is not advertised to be present on board the Tara sailboat.
Service animals may be permitted. Please check with Tribeca Sailing before bringing any animals on board.
There is no smoking allowed on the Tara.
The Tara has bathrooms on board, but it's recommended to use the public facilities in Brookfield Place prior to boarding.
The beautiful Tara sailboat is one of only five 1964 Hinckley Custom Pilot 35s.

Our review

The boat is charming, the captain is kind and easy-going, and the entire sailing trip is an absolute delight. The experience is intimate, personalized and so much fun. Don’t overthink it – Tribeca Sailing is the way to go!

25 – Private luxury daytime boat tour by NYCbySEA

Private luxury daytime boat tour by NYCbySEA
credit to NYCbySEA

Rating: ⭐️ 5/5 (25 reviews)

“Captain Mike was super friendly, our family had an amazing time definitely the way to see the city away from crowded ferry. We will definitely do it again when we are back in the city.” Nichole, Viator

If luxury and comfort are what you’re after, then the NYCbySEA opulent powerboat should sit high atop the list.

After stepping onto the elegant 28-foot vessel, you’ll be taken on an intimate tour past some of the Big Apple’s most postcard-perfect landmarks; the Freedom Tower, Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, to name a few.

Thanks to a maximum of 6 guests, it’s a wonderful alternative to the overcrowded tourist ferries. And, as the cherry on top, you’ll get an in-depth run-through of all the sights as you float them by.

The NYCbySEA powerboat trips leave from the North Cove Marina located at 250 Vesey Street, close to Manhattan's 9/11 Memorial.
The cruise lasts around 1 hour.
It costs $350.00 per group of 2 and an extra US$50 per person thereafter (to a maximum of US$550 for 6 people).
Setting sail from the North Cove Marina, the NYCbySEA tour will take you past some of New York Harbor's infamous including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governors Island and Brooklyn Bridge.
The captain and crew who double as the tour guides speak English.
This tour is unfortunately not wheelchair-friendly.
It is not stated whether or not WiFi is available on the boat.
Service animals are allowed on board.
Smoking is not allowed on the boat.
NYCbySEA advises you to please use the bathroom facilities at North Cove Marina before boarding.
Your captain will double as your photographer if you ask nicely!

Our review

The NYCbySEA private tour is a fabulous option for a quick showcase of Lower Manhattan’s sights. The personalized service and smaller groups make this a great option for couples and families looking for a more intimate experience. Skip the big, touristy boats and spend a little extra for this wonderful experience!

26 – Private boat charter by New York Harbor Tours

Private boat charter by New York Harbor Tours

With two boats in its shed — the 6-passenger Tireless and the 16-passenger Reliance — New York Harbor Tours can serve us a delightful, intimate experience no matter how many people are in your party.

Perfect for birthday parties and bachelor/ette shindigs, these cruises come in a handful of shapes and sizes — take a short sightseeing tour around the Upper New York Harbor (to see the Statue of Liberty), or opt for a circumnavigation around the entire Manhattan island.

Either way, you’ll be doing it in style aboard these vintage yachts with a friendly captain to boot.

The smaller Tireless boat is located at Pier 25 at Hudson River Park, while the larger Reliance yacht sets sail from the North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place.
You can choose between a short 90-minute tour or a more comprehensive 3-hour sail.
The 90-minute Daytime Downtown Loop costs between US$475 (up to 3 people) and US$1,575 (up to 16 people). The longer 3-hour Manhattan Circumnavigation costs between US$600 (up to 3 people) and US$2,000 (up to 16 people).
90-minute tours will go from Pier 25 down to the southern tip of Manhattan, and up both the East and Hudson Rivers. Longer tours circle the entire Manhattan island, passing by additional landmarks like Yankee Stadium and the Cloisters.
Your captain speaks English.
he Tireless and the Reliance do not have ramps for wheelchairs. If a passenger can get in and out of their wheelchair then the crew can get them on the boat. Contact the tour company if you have specific questions.
It is not advertised whether or not there is wifi on board the boats.
Pets are accepted on board the boats but it is necessary to consult with the tour company beforehand.
Smoking and vaping is allowed on private tours. On public tours, it is up to your fellow passengers.
There is a toilet on board each boat.
The New York Harbor Tours vessels are BYOB, with coolers available to keep your drinks cold.

Our review

Dave and the team are phenomenal! If you’re looking for an intimate, customizable, and scenic boat tour of New York City, look no further than Reliance (and Tireless) yachts. Dave and Joel are experienced and knowledgeable, providing an educational yet fun discussion throughout the tour.

27 – Boat rentals by SamBoat

Boat rentals by SamBoat

Offering the ultimate in flexibility and self-guided exploration, SamBoat is an online third-party marketplace — the boating equivalent of Turo — where you can take your pick from all kinds of different vessels scattered around New York City (and beyond).

From 101-foot superyachts in Long Island to 6-person motorboats in Chelsea Piers and bareboats in the Hamptons, you’ll find a wide selection of boats, ships and yachts to choose from – with and without skippers included.

Simply choose your dates, set your budget, and browse the marketplace to see what’s available.

Every boat rental listed on SamBoat has a different docking location point, so you'll need to check the specific listing for details.
You can rent vessels on SamBoat by the day.
Boat rental can be as little as US$200 per day for smaller vessels to $10,000+ for the larger, more luxurious options.
Where you go is entirely up to you, provided you comply with the captain's instructions and follow all applicable boating laws.
No tour guide is included with SamBoat rentals. A skipper is sometimes included.
Every vessel is different so you should contact the boat owner if you have specific questions.
Most private boats on SamBoat are not equipped with WiFi.
You will usually be allowed to bring your pets on board, but it's always best to check with the boat owner beforehand.
Since you will have a private boat, you can smoke or vape on the outer decks.
The presence of toilets on board depends on the specific vessel.
Some boats require a security deposit.

Our review

If you want to ditch the tourist scene altogether and really explore NYC off the beaten path, a boat rental is your best bet. Tip: Choose an option that has a skipper included so that you can sit back, relax, and let someone else navigate the waters for you.

What is the best time to go on a boat tour in NYC?

best time to go on a boat tour in NYC

The best time to take a boat tour in New York City is from April to June and September to early November when the city enjoys warm and pleasant weather. Even better, the tourist crowds are not as overwhelming as in July, August, or December, and it’s also a great time to bag some good cruise deals.

What happens in case of bad weather?

If you’re aboard your NYC boat tour and you encounter bad weather, you do not need to worry as most of the boat tour providers boast ultra-modern amenities like the climate-controlled cabin and indoor seating to avert the rain.

And in case, the boat tour is canceled due to extreme weather conditions, you’d either be provided with a different date for an excursion or the entire deposit, 100% of it, will be refunded to you.

How to book boat tours in NYC?

The best way to book boat tours in NYC is to do so online.

Several websites sell a huge array of boat tour options, so using a comparison service like TourScanner can help you compare prices and read reviews before making your final decision.

You can also visit ticket booths located at popular tourist spots like Chelsea Piers and the South Street Seaport.

Travel tips

  • Before booking a boat tour, it is advisable to keep a close eye on the weather. New York’s weather can change quickly, so bring an extra layer just in case.
  • During the summer months, the NYC sun can sizzle. Make sure you wear sunscreen and bring a hat that won’t fly away on a windy day.
  • Bring along a camera (or, at the very least, a fully charged phone) so you can take photos of the iconic Lower Manhattan skyline as you pass it by.
  • Sometimes boat decks can get a little slippery. To avoid any embarrassing falls and navigate the stairs with ease, make sure to wear comfortable shoes that have a good grip (flip flops and high heels should be avoided).
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Evan Bryce Riddle is a versatile and ambitious content producer whose passion for globetrotting runs deep. When he’s not crafting travel content, Evan is the Content Executive at Australia’s leading digital marketing agency, managing end-to-end video production and written content to build brands to 7 and 8 figures. Evan has also spearheaded content for world-leading digital media channels (TheRichest, TheTravel), written multiple published books, photographed weddings, and hosts the coveted MegaMinds podcast – a handful of highlights from his 10+ year content and marketing career. Where does the love for travel come from? Born in Melbourne, Australia but having grown up in Hollywood, Evan fell in love with international jetsetting from a young age. Fast forward to today and he’s visited 30+ countries, highlighted by a 4-year stint in vibrant Montreal.