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The best boat tours in NYC

All aboard! Book these boat tours in NYC for incredible views of the Statue of Liberty and other iconic landmarks.

Scott Barrow

Why settle for NYC bus tours or walking tours when you could cruise the harbor on a boat tour? The upper deck of a yacht or rail of a sailboat offers some of the most incredible views in NYC, from the breathtaking skyline to legendary New York attractions. Plus, you won’t have to deal with packed subway cars or jammed city streets. Better book your tickets ahead of time, though: Locals and tourists alike will no doubt have some of these cruises, sunset sails and yacht parties on their list of can’t-miss things to do in the summer.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to New York City tours

Best boat tours in NYC

Circle Line: Complete Manhattan Island Cruise

Circle Line: Complete Manhattan Island Cruise

The Circle Line’s famed 2.5-hour guided circumnavigation of Manhattan Island is a fantastic way to get your bearings and see many of the city’s sights as you pass under its iconic bridges. It’s the only sightseeing cruise to circle the island, giving you unparalleled views of three rivers and all five boroughs. You’ll even pass within 100 feet of the Statue of Liberty. Better get your camera ready! $35–$42

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/bvi4092

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New York Harbor Hop-On Hop-Off Cruise

New York Harbor Hop-On Hop-Off Cruise

Like their earth-bound counterparts, New York water taxis are bright yellow, speedy and a great way to get around town. Unlike street taxis, they run on a set schedule and you can hop on and off as you please to enjoy neighborhood attractions along the way. $19–$30

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Statue of Liberty Express Cruise

Statue of Liberty Express Cruise

Perfect for the sightseer who knows exactly what he or she wants, this New York Water Taxi express tour goes right to the Statue of Liberty—no pit stops this time. Listen to an expert guide point out some lower Manhattan landmarks before pausing for photos right next to Lady Liberty. And since this cruise only takes an hour, it’s easy to fit into even the busiest itinerary. $18

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New York City Twilight Sail

New York City Twilight Sail

Sail off into the sunset on a Manhattan By Sail cruise. You’ll still see all the iconic New York sights, but with a much more nautical vibe. Order a drink from the full bar as you watch the sun set behind the Statue of Liberty and the skyline come alive with glittering lights. $15–50

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Rock the Yacht New York City Party Cruise

Rock the Yacht New York City Party Cruise

Get a taste of the Big Apple’s nightlife scene with this evening boat tour on the East River. Hornblower’s Rock the Yacht booze cruise has everything you need: a fully stocked bar, plenty of hors d'oeuvres, a dance floor and a killer DJ. Whether you go for the basic ticket or upgrade to the premium open bar, you’re sure to have a night to remember. $32–113

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Circle Line: Landmarks and Brooklyn Cruise

Circle Line: Landmarks and Brooklyn Cruise

So you’ve already seen the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center and all the other big Manhattan attractions. Start exploring Brooklyn on this cruise from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint. You’ll pass under the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges as your guide points out local landmarks along the waterfront. $32–39

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Hudson’s By World Yacht New York Dinner Cruise

Hudson’s By World Yacht New York Dinner Cruise

You’d be hard-pressed to find another restaurant with views this good. Board the three-level yacht Hudson’s at the 41st Street Marina for a three-course meal and two-hour sightseeing cruise. You’ll order off a seasonally inspired menu of dishes like mussels simmered in white wine, pan-seared salmon and wild mushroom pappardelle. Upgrade to a higher-priced ticket to also enjoy a wine pairing curated by the boat’s sommelier or a premium open bar and make your evening that much more luxurious. $120–190

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Circle Line: Beast Speedboat Ride

Circle Line: Beast Speedboat Ride

Adrenaline junkies will want to book tickets for this supercharged half-hour ride through New York Harbor. The 70-foot speedboat known as the Beast zooms toward Statue of Liberty at 45 miles per hour, kicking up plenty of waves. In fact, the ride can get so intense that guides recommend wearing wetsuits. $22–25

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Champagne Brunch Sail in New York City

Champagne Brunch Sail in New York City

Fresh air, ocean waves, unlimited prosecco and a massive brunch spread of bagels, lox, cream cheese, quiche, fresh fruit and more—it’s fair to say that this midday cruise on the Shearwater really does have it all. Sit back and relax and the crew guides the restored 1929 sailboat out into the harbor. If you’re lucky, the captain will even let you take a turn at the helm. $30–97

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Michael Vadon

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Private New York City Sunset Boat Tour

Private New York City Sunset Boat Tour

Don’t want to share your views of the city skyline? You don’t have to on this private two-hour tour of the Hudson River at sunset. It’s your party, so you can bring any food or drinks you like on board. The crew will greet you with a complimentary bottle of champagne, too. You’ll feel like a high roller as you kick back on your yacht for the evening. $500–700

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/dumbonyc

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