New York is amazing by land, air and also by sea (and river!). In this case, we're all about getting to know Manhattan from the water, but when it comes to booking a cruise on the Hudson it's normal to have doubts. There are a multitude of itineraries, prices and durations and choosing can be overwhelming.
But don't worry, because I have prepared this guide for you to know how long each cruise lasts and what differences there are in the itinerary of each one, so choosing will be much easier. Keep reading!
Duration of Manhattan cruises
Cruises that ply the waters of Manhattan can last anywhere from an hour and a half for the shortest cruises to three hours for the longest cruises. Depending on the time you have available, you can embark on an express cruise that will take you from the south of Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty or you can spend a relaxing evening touring New York on a boat while enjoying the skyline.
There are also intermediate options that will take you around Manhattan in about two hours or two and a half hours and you can choose to do it during the day, when the light hits the skyscrapers and the chaos of the city or at night, when New York vibrates more than ever with its lights under the starlight.
Comparative table of cruises by duration
- NYC Manhattan Circle Line Cruise around Statue of Liberty by day
- From $ 34
- 1h 30 min
- Standard Boat
- Brooklyn Bridge to Statue of Liberty
- Book now
- New York Buffet Dinner Cruise
- From $ 172
- Night Tour
- Luxury boat
- Full Manhattan and Statue of Liberty
- Book now
How long are New York dinner cruises?
Dinner cruises in New York are, logically, the longest and last three hours. During the tour, they circle almost all of Manhattan and take you as close as the Statue of Liberty. This way, you will have the best views of Brooklyn, Manhattan and all its illuminated skyline.
The boat is much larger and more luxurious than the day or standard cruises and they move at a slow pace so that the evening runs smoothly and relaxed and diners enjoy a nice dinner, can get up during the tour.... There is even live music!
On these longer, slower cruises, you hardly notice the rocking of the boat on the water and the feeling is very pleasant. It is an experience to relax and spend an unforgettable night on board, without rushing.
How long is the shortest Manhattan cruise?
The shortest cruise along the Manhattan waterfront lasts an hour and a half and will take you from the south of Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty, around Ellis Island and back to the starting time.
If you don't have a lot of time in the city or just want to experience sailing in New York without having to spend a whole morning or afternoon on the boat, this is a great option. You'll get great views of the Financial District and Brooklyn, with its famous Brooklyn Bridge that you'll see from a new perspective: from the water!
The cruise takes place aboard a fairly large vessel with indoor and outdoor seating, allowing you to enjoy great views no matter what the weather is like. In addition, the fact that it approaches Ellis Island will give you a more distant perspective of the island of Manhattan that will help you assimilate the enormous dimensions of its skyscrapers.
Do not expect the most premium experience aboard this ship, but the atmosphere is very good, it is not usually too crowded (unless you happen to do it on a holiday or special date) and you will enjoy it a lot.
Will I have enough time to see everything on a short cruise and is it worth it?
If you are short on time and this is the only option you can book, go ahead, it will be worth it! After all, you will see from the water the most important skyscrapers of the Financial District (starring the One World Trade Center), the Brooklyn Bridge, a true marvel of architecture and of course, the Statue of Liberty up close.
However, if you can take advantage and dedicate a little more time to the experience, there are two intermediate options that adding only 30 minutes or an hour more of navigation will bring you closer to Midtown, so that in two hours or two hours and a half you can see much more closely the Empire State or Rockefeller Center.
Also, if you open the range to cruises of this length, you can choose to do it day or night, to see lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and Midtown with all its illuminated buildings and bridges. For me, it is the best value for money and will allow you to see a great part of the city.
How far in advance do you need to be on board?
Fortunately, boarding doesn't take too long, as it doesn't require such strict security checks as helicopter rides, for example. Still, it is best to be at the pier at least 30 minutes in advance, especially for the night cruises that have a large capacity and diners are entering the ship little by little.
Note that there are some piers that are closer to subway stops, but they usually require a walk from the subway mouth to there. To avoid any setbacks, it is best to go with plenty of time to spare and take the opportunity to get to know the area before boarding, take pictures .... A cruise is a relaxing experience that you don't want to be late or rushing.
Duration of other boat trips in Manhattan
In addition to the scenic cruises along the Manhattan waterfront, there are ferry and water cab services or even free-stop boat rides (where you can hop on and off wherever you want) that will get you from one place to another between Brooklyn and Manhattan but will give you equally good views of the city from the water.
Trips can be as short as 10 to 15 minutes, which is how long it takes to get from one side of the river to the other.
Check out this article about the New York ferry where I give you some tips on how to use this means of transportation. You should also know that to get to the Statue of Liberty you will have to take a ferry from Baterry Park which takes about 30 minutes and is also very cheap. It is a good way to jump into the water without wasting too much time and taking advantage of the two experiences in one.