August 22, 2012

Cruising Together

Ten Family-Friendly Boat Cruises Around Manhattan

By Maggie McNamara

A boat cruise around the city is one of the most magical and quintessential city experiences. And the summertime is often the best time to schedule one for your fun-loving fam. Here are ten suggestions for trips that will take your family around the city and back.

Liberty Harbor Cruise

Explore some of the historic sites along the New York Harbor—including Ellis Island, the World Trade Center, and the Brooklyn Bridge. This one-hour,  narrated cruise tour will teach your family the history and legends about these sites as you enjoy the beauty of the view. And your kids will appreciate the snacks, soft drinks, and souvenirs available on board for purchase. Daily in July and August, weekends in September. Adults $13, seniors (62+) $10, children (5-12) $5, children 5 and under free.

Liberty Cruise

This 75-minute boat ride takes you down the Hudson River to visit Lady Liberty. Enjoy narration by a professional guide as you witness views of Ellis Island, the World Financial Center, the historic immigration center, and the rising One World Trade Center. Food is available for purchase on board. Refer to cruise schedule for dates and times. Adults $27, seniors (65+) $24, children (3-12) $19, children 2 and under free.

Beast Speed Boat Ride

Want to experience what 45 mph on water feels like? Then the 30-minute Beast Speed Boat Ride is perfect for you. Make your way down the Hudson River toward the Statue of Liberty in a custom-built, 70-foot offshore racing powerboat. (Children must be 40” tall to ride). Refer to cruise schedule for dates and times. Adults and seniors $26, children $20.

Circle Line’s Kids Cruise Series

On this boat,  it’s all about kids as families travel down the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty with live, kid-friendly entertainment. This cruise includes an interactive tour guide, a juggler, magician, balloon artist, and live musicians. With prizes and giveaways, picture-taking opportunities, kid-friendly food and drink, and the Berenstain Bears to boot, this cruise is sure to put a big smile on your little one’s face. Refer to cruise schedule for dates and times. Adults $28, children (3-12) $20, children 2 and under free.

The Chelsea Screamer

Wear your bathing suit, or prepare to get a little wet when you hop aboard the Chelsea Screamer. Explore the lower Hudson River and the New York Bay on this little speed demon, with views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. It’s the perfect way to cool off on one of these hot summer days. Operating through October, call 212-924-6262 for private booking information and prices.

New York Water Taxis Hop-On/Hop-Off Service

Experience a New York City cruise at your own pace. As the name suggests, the Hop-On/Hop-Off service lets you stop at as many sites as you like along the route so that you can explore them by foot. Popular sites include DUMBO, South Street Seaport, and Hudson River Park. Or stay on board for the complete 90-minute tour. Runs year round. Adults $26, children (3-12) $16.

Big Toot!

For an inexpensive way to cruise around the city, hop aboard Big Toot, a form US Navy launch. Owned and operated by Project City Kids, Big Toot offers 50-minute harbor rides every weekend May through October. Best part is: kids ride free! Operates on a first come, first serve basis (consult the website for schedules). Adults $10, children free.

Manhattan Island Cruise

In three hours, Manhattan Island Cruise will take you all the way around the island, offering sights of three rivers, seven major bridges, and all five boroughs. Your part-historian, part-entertainer guide will introduce you to over 25 world-renowned landmarks, including a close-up of the Statue of Liberty. Food, beverages, and souvenirs are available for purchase on board. Refer to website for schedule. Adult $36.99,  child (3-12) $23.99, senior (65-99) $31.99, infant 2 and under free.

Bear Mountain Full Day Cruise

For a day’s escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, consider a Bear Mountain full day cruise. The beautiful Bear Mountain is just 45 miles and one 2.5-hour scenic cruise ride north of New York City. The cruise will take you there and back, giving you two hours in between to get out and enjoy the scenery. Pre-order picnics are available. Refer to website for schedule. Adult $49.99, child (3-12) $37.97, senior (65-99) $40.99, infant 2 and under free.

New York Sunday Brunch Cruise

Enjoy a Sunday of decadence aboard this luxury yacht. Experience two hours of panoramic views, live music, and an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet. And while you munch on brunch, witness the Art Deco spires of the Empire State Building,  Winter Garden, Battery Park, Governor’s Island, Ellis Island, and more. Refer to website for schedule. Adult $68.13, child (2-12) $37.30, infant 1 and under free.

NYC Audubon Summer EcoCruise

If bird-watching appeals to your brood, you’ll want to hop aboard the NYC Audubon Summer EcoCruise while it’s still warm! This 90-minute ride will take you under bridges and past monuments as you take in the wonders of birds in flight and perched in their natural habitats. Adult $35, child $25.


Sign up for our free weekly parenting newsletters full of local tips, weekend events, advice, giveaways, and more!
Find more great articles like this in our Blogs, Daily Scoop, and Things To Do sections.

Trackback from your site.

Comments (1)

  • Karen


    We took our 3 kids, all under the age of six, on a liberty cruise down the Hudson River. They absolutely loved it. It was a beautiful day to be on the water, the kids loved seeing the Statue of Liberty, police boats, tall buildings, etc. You can find coupons on line – $5 off each ticket.


Leave a comment