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Alive After Five Happy Hour Cruise
Photograph: Courtesy Hornblower

11 best dinner cruises in NYC for spectacular views of the Big Apple

All aboard! These elegant skyline dinner cruises in NYC turn yachts and steamboats into floating restaurants.

Written by
Time Out contributors
Shaye Weaver
Rhys Thomas

There can’t be many better ways to enjoy dinner with a view than to hop aboard a dinner cruise in NYC. And you know what? That’s why we’ve rounded up the best of the dinner cruise bunch in New York to make that experience even easier. The city sparkles the brightest in the summer (it’s still here, right?) so it’s time to take advantage of the many floating restaurants that sail up and down our two rivers. Rooftop bars and beaches are musts, but a dinner cruise is something special to do with your loved ones. Even the best restaurants in NYC can’t compare to the experience of eating out on the water, and most of these dinner cruises offer prix-fixe menus or buffet meals on enormous three-level ships, sailing taverns and ritzy yachts. Whichever you choose, the ambience just can’t be beaten. Bon voyage – and bon appetit, too!

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Best dinner cruises in NYC

New York Dinner Cruise
Photograph: Filip Wolak

1. New York Dinner Cruise

Patrons flock to Hornblower’s climate-controlled sun deck for the decadent three-course meal and artisan cocktails. With entrée options like honey sesame chicken, oven-roasted flounder and braised beef short ribs, we can’t blame them. It’s hard to not want to get up and dance as you cruise past iconic New York City landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Brooklyn Bridge to complimentary live jazz.

Where is it? 111, 11th Avenue, New York.   
Budget range? A pricy one, but well spent for an evening cruise through New York's harbour accompanied by some keys.  
Time Out Tip: There aren't many seats on the top deck, so it's worth getting there a little earlier to skip the queue. 

Alive After Five
Photograph: Paul Seibert

2. Alive After Five

Gather your clocked-out coworkers and friends and board the Alive After Five cruise, which makes the most of happy hour—it actually lasts two hours—along the Hudson River in City Cruises’ Sensation yacht. You’ll have two climate-controlled decks to choose from, plus a covered roof deck, multiple dance floors if and a DJ to get the party moving. This isn't just a cocktail cruise, there's pasta, Tex-Mex and other food options depending on the admission level you choose.

Where is it? The yacht departs from Pier 15 at 78 South st. 
Budget range? Live it up on this classic yatcht without needing to break the bank.  
Time Out Tip: Drinks aboard this vessel are a little dearer than usual (even for New York), so you might have to sweet talk the bartender a little.

New York Dinner Cruise
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Wally Gobetz

3. New York Dinner Cruise

Cruise both the Hudson and East Rivers on this two-and-a-half-hour venture set to music from a quality pianist playing classic jazz, blues and Broadway hits. While aboard you'll be served a lavish three-course dinner as you marvel at Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building. You'll set a course from Pier 61 and be able to dance and eat the night away with some of the best views of the city going.

Where is it? Board at Pier 61 Chelsea Piers, West 23rd St.
Budget range? Unobstructed panoramic views of New York's most iconic landmarks for less than 100 bucks. Steal. 
Time Out Tip: Think smart casual when it comes to the vibe of this cruise ship - the perfect excuse to grab the buds and set sail. Just be sure to book together to avoid a seating mishap. 

Bateaux New York Dinner Cruises
Photograph: Courtesy Bateaux Cruises

4. Bateaux New York Dinner Cruises

Departing from Chelsea Piers, Bateaux offers frazzled New Yorkers a relaxing three-hour, three-course getaway cruise along the Hudson. Pair a romantic view of the Manhattan skyline from a glass-enclosed deck with a veritable feast: Entrées include dishes like miso-glazed cod with oyster mushrooms and sugar snap peas and jumbo lump crab cakes with corn succotash. Sip on cocktails, wine and beer from a fully loaded cash bar while live jazz musicians provide the soundtrack for a twinkly evening aboard this dinner cruise.

Where is it? Head to Pier 61 Chelsea Piers.
Budget range? A pretty decent price to see this dazzling city lit up as you float along it, especially when you cash in on the unlimited mimosa brunchtime special.
Time Out Tip: There's a semi-formal dress code for this floating shindig, so skip the sandals and bring a tie. 


This 3-hour cruise down the Hudson River combines delicious food with dazzling sights. Sail past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island while sipping on premium drinks and snacking on a decadent charcuterie board packed with cheese, meat delicacies, nuts, jam and olives. Once you‘ve admired the view and the plush boat interior, which features rare wood finishes and collectables, it’s time to sit down to dinner and tuck into gourmet salads and special desserts, while you’re serenaded by a live jazz band. 

Where is it? Head to Pier 76 Hudson River Park.
Budget range? A good price for top-notch food, views and live music. 
Time Out Tip: Gratuities aren’t included, so make sure you bring cash. 

Waterfront dining is elevated to a whole new level of luxury on this three-hour dinner cruise with refined decor, beautiful views of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge at night and an evening of live music performances. Among all this, guests will also get the chance to sit down to a carefully curated six-course dinner prepared by accomplished chefs and sip on fine wines and premium spirits.

Where is it? Head to Pier 76 Hudson River Park.
Budget range? At the higher end of the scale. 
Time Out Tip: The boat will only wait 10 minutes for latecomers, so get there on time. 

Skyline Cruises
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Claudia B.

7. Skyline Cruises

Spend four hours sailing the NYC harbor, gazing out over landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. In the height of comfort, no less, as the decks are climate controlled. There's also a DJ onboard, a dancefloor and an American buffet offering three courses, from short ribs and grilled bruschetta chicken to lemon sole stuffed with crabmeat–stuffed lemon and pasta. It's worth knowing that Skyline caters for brunch and lunch too.

Where is it? Board at World's Fair Marina.
Budget range? A spot aboard this stellar cruise is a little pricier, but who could resist twirling around a rooftop dancefloor?
Time Out Tip: Planning on popping the question? Skyline can customize your booking to make it a night to remember.   

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Hell's Kitchen

Seriously. What could beat tucking into a buttery lobster roll while enjoying peaking sunsets over the Hudson? If this sounds like your vibe, then get ready to kick back at this floating three-deck lobster shack, spanning 9,000 square feet between the outdoor top deck and bi-level interior dining space and lounge. Set off on a two-hour cruise headed to the Statue of Liberty, while enjoying a menu featuring a raw bar and fresh New England seafood like Maine lobster, fish tacos and clam chowder. Pair your meal with red and white wine selections, bottled beers and summery signature cocktails served by the glass or pitcher.

Where is it? Over at Pier 81.
Budget range? A cheap and cheerful option ft cold buckets of beer 
Time Out Tip: Happy hour is 4-7 pm (Monday - Wednesday), so if you want to keep em' coming, head to the boat before then. 

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Not into lobster? Head next door to get your hands on the banging street tacos aboard this one-of-a-kind three-level floating Mexican restaurant made for good times. Situated on a luxury yacht, La Barca boasts a large outdoor deck area, and two temperature-controlled indoor decks, accompanied by three bars that serve a selection of agave-based spirits, tequila and more. The boat takes several cruise trips a day, meaning you and the gang can enjoy swaying to a mix of Latin pop, salsa and dance hitstaking in the city's skyline as you float along the Hudson River. 

Where is it? La fiesta begins at Pier 81
Budget range? An affordable dining experience for those who like to party. 
Time Out Tip: After Darka on Sunday night is where the real fun is  - 
Free tequila and mezcal tastings and a live DJ guaranteed to make you 'get off your ass' and onto the dancefloor. 

World Yacht
Courtesy: World Yacht

10. World Yacht

Okay, we're heading back into lobster territory to tell you about this fun New England spin on a Manhattan cruise. Select the Rollin' Down the River package and you'll be in seafood heaven aboard this original Lobster Boat that sets sail from Pier 81, offering fantastic views of Manhattan's Skyline – iconic spots like Hudson Yards, One World Observatory and SOL – as you bite into one of Connecticut's famous Lobster rolls. Wash it down with a signature cocktail or frozen drink of your choice. The cruise lasts approximately two hours and sets sail at 7 pm. 

Where is it? Meet by Pier 81. 
Budget range? A decently-prized casual cruise.
Time Out Tip: 
Want to catch the Sunset? Set off at 5 pm for an hour-long cruise for views of Manhattan's Upper West Side. Whatever floats your boat. 


Looking for more of a party atmosphere?

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