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Taking a Cruise with Kids in NYC

New York will welcome you and your whole family with open arms. If you are traveling with children, a cruise in Manhattan will amaze them. Here are some tips to make the experience with them on board perfect.

Carmen Navarro

Carmen Navarro

6 min read

Taking a Cruise with Kids in NYC

New York as seen from the cruise ship | ©bryan...

You've almost got one foot in the Big Apple and you're finalizing the details to make the trip unforgettable. If you're thinking about taking a cruise on the Hudson but are worried about whether your kids will enjoy it, you can be sure they'll love the experience.

Here's a list of important factors to keep in mind to book the best New York cruise and make the most of the experience with the whole family.

1. What is the best cruise to take with children?

Cruise with the Statue of Liberty in the background| ©Thank You (21 Millions+) views
Cruise with the Statue of Liberty in the background| ©Thank You (21 Millions+) views

There are a variety of cruises that ply the waters of the Hudson, but the most interesting for children is the one that lasts an hour and a half and crosses the south of Manhattan, taking you to the Statue of Liberty.

Besides the fact that the duration of the cruises is very appropriate for children to keep them attentive and interested throughout the crossing, they will love to get to the Statue, see it up close and see Manhattan Island from afar. In addition, these cruises depart in the morning and at noon, so you won't have to get up too early and you will be able to enjoy the most pleasant temperatures of the day.

Best of all, it is the most economical option and you can do this cruise for just over 30 € per person. If you think your children might want more (you would prefer to extend the navigation even a little longer to continue contemplating the views) there is a similar cruise of two and a half hours that skirts a wider part of Manhattan and will offer you views of more skyscrapers.

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Book in advance

Children on the cruise| ©Jenn (Yana)
Children on the cruise| ©Jenn (Yana)

If we are usually more or less flexible when traveling, when traveling with children it is better to avoid leaving too many things untied. If you plan to take a cruise with the whole family, it is best to compare prices online, check schedules and above all, book early.

Especially if you are traveling during school vacations, which usually coincide with the high season in the city, the demand will be very high and you may not find places for everyone on board the ship that best suits your needs or the schedule that suits you best.

So to avoid last minute scares, book your cruise as soon as you are clear about your travel dates.

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3. Night cruises, best avoided with children

Night cruises| ©Tony Fischer
Night cruises| ©Tony Fischer

Night cruises are wonderful, romantic, intimate experiences... there are even dinner cruises in New York on fully premium vessels to celebrate a special evening in the city. But they are not the best option when traveling with children.

They are three-hour cruises, they take place late in the day and there is live music. Definitely not the plan that would win over the little ones.

There are in fact some cruises that do not allow children under 6 years old to board, do not have a children's menu and do not offer special prices or rates for children, so the expense is not usually worth it. By the way, if you are worried about the price of Manhattan cruises, you can read in this article a comparison of budgets according to the route and the vessel.

4. What to do with the baby stroller?

Baby strollers on the pier| ©Marion Doss
Baby strollers on the pier| ©Marion Doss

On the vast majority of New York cruises you will be able to take your baby stroller on board. When you go to board, go to the ticket office and they will give you (free of charge) a ticket for the baby and you will be able to board the stroller without any problem.

In fact, the crew will tell you if there is a more accessible place for you to board with the stroller easily and comfortably, so as you can see, everything is ready to sail with children.

5. Will the little ones get seasick?

Cruises along the Hudson| ©Thank You (21 Millions+) views
Cruises along the Hudson| ©Thank You (21 Millions+) views

The chances of getting seasick aboard one of these cruises are negligible. The waves do not usually affect the Hudson, which is well protected in all weather conditions. The voyages are not excessively long and the vessels are large and stable.

In short, these cruises have all the ingredients for young and old to have a pleasant time on board without worrying about anything. Even so, if you think you run the risk of getting a little seasick, ask the crew which are the best seats to get some fresh air and feel less seasick. They have a lot of experience sailing so they will be happy to advise you.

In any case, in case of extreme wind, snow or low visibility, the organization will cancel the departure of the cruise, so you will have no problem in receiving a refund of the activity if you cannot embark.

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6. Protect them from the sun or cold

Consider the weather| ©Daiga Ellaby
Consider the weather| ©Daiga Ellaby

If you travel to New York in the summer, it is very likely that you will enjoy a splendid sunny day... but also quite hot. If you cruise during the middle hours of the day, protect the little ones (although this is also good for all of us) from the sun and heat. Bring a cap for them, cool water and sunscreen.

If, on the other hand, you are traveling in winter, you will need to protect them from the cold and wind so that they can spend some time in the open part of the boat to enjoy the views. Although there is a covered part where you can sit, at some point you will feel like going out to contemplate the city skyline in all its splendor.

7. Will the children be able to sit?

Child enjoying the cruise| ©Johnny Jet
Child enjoying the cruise| ©Johnny Jet

Yes, seating is available for all passengers on all vessels, so your children can sit in their own seat. Please note that for safety reasons, infants or very young children must sit on an adult's lap.

As you can see, this is a very pleasant and recommendable activity to do with children, since in addition to being entertained, they will be able to enjoy some time sitting down, something that is surely appreciated after a long day walking through the long streets and avenues of New York.

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8. Arrive at embarkation early

Dock with New York in the background| ©Ana Paula Hirama
Dock with New York in the background| ©Ana Paula Hirama

Time management is sacred when traveling with children and even more so if you have to take a train, a ship or a plane. Cruises in New York usually depart very punctual* and although they don't require a lot of security checks, it is best to be there at least half an hour in advance.

You can imagine that although New York is relatively stroller-friendly, it is not always easy to move around the city by subway, you will have to look for the most accessible subway or bus stops, wide sidewalks... In short, calculate that getting to the pier will take some time, so you better not risk it and leave well in advance.

A good option considering that the docks are usually south of Manhattan or west of Midtown, is to take the opportunity to plan a walk around the area before boarding. For example, there are some cruises departing from the Hudson Yards area, so it's a good time to walk around the floating park on the High Line, for example. This way, you'll make better use of the time in your traveler's schedule and make sure that rushing doesn't play tricks on you.

9. Are there special rates for children?

Children on the cruise| ©Eden, Janine and Jim
Children on the cruise| ©Eden, Janine and Jim

Yes, there are reduced fares on most routes for children under 12 years of age of up to 15%. Children under three years of age who can sit on their parent's lap travel free of charge.

Before booking a ticket for children, make sure you know which fares apply to them. In Hellotickets, for example, you can directly select the age of the travelers and you will be shown the price of each ticket according to their age.

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