New York City
Boat Tours & River Cruises

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Our most recommended New York City Cruises & Boat Tours

60-Minute Cruise Around the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

1. 60-Minute Cruise Around the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

Take a 60-minute boat ride to within 100 feet of the Statue of Liberty. Cruise right under the Brooklyn Bridge and see the most famous skyline in the world. Your live English guide will point out the sites as you journey along the river including the Empire State Building, the new Freedom Tower, the Manhattan Bridge, Governor's Island, and more. Make use of both the indoor and outdoor seating, along with large open windows for your viewing pleasure. Get within touching distance of "Lady Liberty" and then move on to Ellis Island to take photos of the famous entry point to New York City. Marvel at the skyline of Manhattan and its famous skyscrapers, including the new One World Trade Center. Glide down both the east and west sides of Lower Manhattan on this roundtrip cruise, and purchase drinks and food from the concession stand aboard the boat. 

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NYC: Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island & Pre-Ferry Tour

2. NYC: Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island & Pre-Ferry Tour

Discover the history of Lower Manhattan on a walking tour of Battery Park, then hop on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Upgrade your tour to experience the latter landmarks with a guide. Learn about the unique history of Battery Park on a 30-minute guided tour with an experienced local guide. Located at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, the 25-acre green park has a varied history and many classic monuments to explore. Learn about the Battery Cannon, Battery Oval, Coast Guard Memorial, Bosque Gardens, and the circular Bosque Fountain. Finish at Castle Clinton, built for the War of 1812 as a centerpiece of the revitalization efforts of the park. Board the ferry for Liberty Island. Benefit from priority boarding. Cross New York Harbor to the Statue of Liberty. Built by Gustave Eiffel, Lady Liberty was a gift to the United States from France. Take a self-guided tour with audio headsets that come in multiple languages. Travel to Ellis Island to hear about the immigrant experiences at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. It is thought that at least 40% of all current US citizens can trace one or more of their ancestors here. Journey how the facility processed new arrivals at the start of their lives in America. Upgrade to a fully-escorted tour and listen to your English-speaking guide bring the history of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to life. This option also includes a guided tour of the 9/11 Memorial after you return to Manhattan.

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New York: 90-Minute Landmarks Cruise Skip-The-Box-Office

3. New York: 90-Minute Landmarks Cruise Skip-The-Box-Office

Spend just 90 minutes to take in many of the iconic sites of midtown and lower Manhattan on a Semi-Circle Cruise. You'll enjoy magnificent views of the world's most recognizable skyline and get a close-up look at Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. See it all with fun and knowledgeable tour guides who bring to life the breathtaking sights and the fascinating history behind the Big Apple. Sail down the Hudson, cruising around the Battery, and up the East River. You’ll pass under the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridges to the United Nations – and then head back to Pier 83, the starting point for the tour.

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New York: Harbor Lights Night Cruise Skip-The-Box-Office

4. New York: Harbor Lights Night Cruise Skip-The-Box-Office

Experience New York at sunset on a 2-hour cruise of the harbor, and take in all the sights and lights of Manhattan aboard a climate-controlled boat. Grab your friends, family and coworkers - or even a totally random stranger - and embark on an unforgettable journey of the harbor with "Lady Liberty" keeping watch! With a drink in your hand, purchased from the fully stocked bar, feel the breeze on your face and be mesmerized by the shimmering skyline. Get endless photo opportunities to make you an Instagram star as you sail past legendary attractions such as the Statue of Liberty and get perfect views of the Freedom Tower - One World Trade Center, Empire State Building, Pier 54 (Titanic Pier), Battery Park and more. See where millions of immigrants were processed when they arrived in America at Ellis Island, cruise past Governors Island, the South Street Seaport and Brooklyn Bridge. Get unrivalled views of the Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge and Chrysler Building, and discover the East Village, United Nations Building and USS Intrepid Pier from a different perspective. 

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New York: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Sunset Cruise

5. New York: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Sunset Cruise

Take a 60-minute cruise to enjoy views of famous landmarks on the Manhattan skyline during a New York City sunset. Depart from Pier 36 right under the Brooklyn Bridge and travel toward South Street Seaport and Battery Park. Watch the sunset behind the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Get up close to within 100-feet of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for the most incredible photos opportunities as the sunsets. Admire views of One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Battery Park, and more. While aboard, make the most of the full cash bar with snacks and drinks available to purchase.

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Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: Fast-Track Access

6. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: Fast-Track Access

Take a 30-minute Live guided tour in English of Battery Park where you can learn its unique history with a local guide. Located at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, the park has an interesting history and many monuments. You will learn about the Battery Cannon, Battery Oval, Coast Guard Memorial and Bosque Gardens and Fountain. Your tour will also encounter Castle Clinton, which was built in anticipation of the War of 1812 and was the centerpiece of the revitalization efforts of the park. Your guide will then assist you through the various procedures to board the ferry to Liberty Island where you will benefit from priority boarding and save precious time. You will receive priority access to the ferry Line to Liberty Island, before crossing New York Harbor to the Statue of Liberty. Built by Gustave Eiffel, “Lady Liberty” was a gift to the United States from the people of France. You can take a self-guided audio tour with the provided headsets, available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, and Arabic Then, cross to Ellis Island to learn about the immigrant experience at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. It is thought that at least 40% of all current US citizens can trace one or more of their ancestors to Ellis Island. Here you are able to pick up your audio guide on arrival (available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian and Arabic) and explore independently. Journey through the 60-plus years that the facility processed new arrivals at the start of their lives in America. Alternatively, upgrade to an escorted tour and benefit from the services of an English-speaking guide on Ellis Island. This option also includes a guided tour of the 9/11 Memorial once you have returned to Manhattan from Ellis Island.

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New York: Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Early Access Tour

7. New York: Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Early Access Tour

Be the first of the day to discover two of New York’s most iconic monuments with exclusive first ferry tour departure to Liberty Island, with a visit to the Statue of Liberty Museum and Ellis Island. Arrive at the grounds just under the watchful eye of Lady Liberty, where great views across NYC's skyline, Lower Manhattan, and the Big Apple await. Hop on the ferry to Ellis Island and follow in the footsteps of some 12 million immigrants and learn about the process those hopeful individuals went through to settle in America. View and walk the Stairs of Separation, growing to understand the Island's two very unique names - "The Island of Hope" and "The Island of Tears". After your guide has explained to you the history, they will give you the option to continue your exploration of Ellis Island on your own with the audio guide (included) or return to The Battery on the ferry with them. If you wish, feel free to stay on Ellis Island a bit longer to explore your personal heritage and find all the unique and interesting sights in the special location.

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New York Harbor: Best of NYC Cruise Skip-The-Box-Office

8. New York Harbor: Best of NYC Cruise Skip-The-Box-Office

Enjoy a relaxing 2.5-hour cruise of New York Harbor and Manhattan Island as you discover the secrets of the city. You will circle Manhattan, passing 3 rivers, 7 major bridges – including the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge – 5 boroughs, and more than 101 sights in New York’s legendary skyline. Get close up to the Statue of Liberty and see Manhattan just as the great explorers would have seen it at the end of their long ocean journeys. Tour the city by water and see the outer boroughs drift by. Fun and knowledgeable tour guides will bring the city that never sleeps to life, telling fascinating stories about the breathtaking sights as you sail. This popular cruise goes all the way around Manhattan Island! Not only do you see the Best of New York, you see it all. Cruise highlights include up-close views of the Statue of Liberty, Randall’s Island, High Bridge, Columbia University, Harlem, Gracie Mansion, South Street Seaport, Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium, The Cloisters, Grant’s Tomb, The Little Red Lighthouse.

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NYC: Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and 9/11 Memorial Tour

9. NYC: Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and 9/11 Memorial Tour

Visit over 12 top downtown NYC attractions with this special access ticket and tour. Save time and see more: Statue of Liberty, Museum Access, Ellis Island, 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, New York Stock Exchange, Charging Bull, Federal Hall, Federal Reserve Bank, Trinity Church, Fearless Girl, and more. Meet your guide in the Financial District to learn about the history of NYC, the early Dutch settlement and how it transformed to the financial capital today. As you walk along Wall Street, you’ll see the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Reserve Bank and other financial and historical institutions. Next stop is the 9/11 National Memorial where you’ll see the enormous reflecting pools, the largest man-made fountains. You’ll hear stories of the events, tragedy and heroism of that day. The guide will take you directly to the Reserve ticket line where you will get priority boarding to the ferry that will take you to Liberty Island. Before sending on your way to Liberty Island, your guide will tell you the key things to check out on Liberty and Ellis Island as well as share the amazing stories of America immigration and the story behind the Statue of Liberty. It is a better experience to explore the Liberty and Ellis Island at your own pace after you are given the history and the key sites to check out. You decide where you’d like to spend more time – whether it is to learn the history and construction of the Statue, admire the views of NYC or look for your ancestors’ names on Ellis Island. As you sail to the island you’ll see the amazing NYC skyline. Get those cameras ready for amazing views of Lady Liberty and NYC. Once on Liberty Island, there are handheld audio guide (available in 9 different languages) you can use while exploring the islands and museums. 8:45: Meet expert guide outside the fence of 24 Broad Street 9:00: Guided tour of Wall Street and the Financial District 10:00: Guided tour of the 9/11 Memorial 11:00: Board Statue Cruises ferry for Liberty and Ellis Island -  Audio Guide available on Liberty Island

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NYC: 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, and Statue of Liberty Tour

10. NYC: 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, and Statue of Liberty Tour

See iconic sights in New York City with this walking tour. See the somber 9/11 monument. Walk by Wall Street's Charging Bull statue on the way to Battery park. Ride the Ferry to the Statue of Liberty and visit the Ellis Island Museum. Meet your guide at St Paul's Chapel and walk to the 9/11 Memorial. Reflect at the Memorial Pools and learn about the design choices used for this monument. Marvel at the skyscrapers in NYC’s financial district. Snap pictures of the emblematic Charging Bull. Let your guide tell you about the Statue of Liberty at Battery Park. Board a ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Listen to your audio commentary as you take a self-guided tour at the Statue of Liberty. Continue to the Ellis Island Museum. Explore this former immigration complex on a self-guided tour. Find out about the history of immigration in this diverse city.

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New York City boat tours: Everything you need to know

Although we automatically think of the Hudson River when it comes to New York City, the city actually has two more rivers. The East River separates Manhattan from Brooklyn, Williamsburg, and Long Island City, and the Harlem River marks the border with the Bronx borough.

Do you dream of seeing the city from a new angle or are curious to know the location of "Miracle on the Hudson?” Have a look at some suggestions for New York City boat tours to make the most of your time in the Big Apple.

Skyline cruises in New York City

Even if you’re visiting New York for the first time, we bet you’ll be able to point out the most famous buildings. The Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, and the One World Trade Center are just some of the well-known landmarks you can spot from the Hudson River.

In the city that never sleeps, you can choose from a variety of boat tours focusing on the iconic skyline. Architecture enthusiasts will enjoy the Official NYC Architecture Cruise, where actual architects double as travel guides for three hours. Can you guess how many bridges are around Manhattan? Well, after the cruise, you'll probably be able to name a few more than the Brooklyn Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, and Queensboro Bridge.

Other skyline-themed cruise options include 60- to 90-minute trips from the East Side to the West Side. All come with plenty of selfie-perfect backgrounds and a guest appearance by Lady Liberty.

Dinner cruises in New York City

Can you imagine having dinner with your own view of New York City? Enjoy a meal of Italian beef meatballs from your private table as the (appropriately named) Spirit of New York cruises along the East and Hudson rivers. Wrap it all up with dessert, drinks on the rooftop lounge, and dancing to the beat of the onboard DJ.

If you’re looking for an authentic sailing experience, climb aboard the 1929 vintage schooner Shearwater. It’s not just a yacht; it’s a floating landmark that will take you on a two-hour sailing and wine tasting expedition around Manhattan. Cheese and snacks are included.

Statue of Liberty cruises in New York City 

A gift from the French in the 1800s became New York City’s most famous attraction. The Statue of Liberty stands for freedom and once stood as a beacon of hope for immigrants arriving on Ellis Island. The best way to see its full glory? On a river cruise with unobstructed views.

But if you want the full experience, choose the Statue of Liberty: Pedestal Express and Ellis Island tour. You’ll get skip-the-line admission to the Statue, the Pedestal, and the Museum, plus live guided tours. 

River taxis in New York City

What color are typical New York river taxis? Yellow, of course. Hop-on Hop-off NYC Water Taxis are a unique and fast way to get to top attractions in one day. Water Taxis stop at Pier 83 (near Hell’s Kitchen), Slip 6 - Battery Place (World Trade Center, 9/11 Memorial, and view to Statue of Liberty), Pier 16 (view to Brooklyn Bridge), and Pier 1 - DUMBO (Brooklyn).

If you prefer a ferry experience, choose a classical hop-on hop-off boat tour around Manhattan. These ferries stop at most of the same places but also include a ticket to see the view from the top of the One World Observatory.

New York City river cruise tips

If you're planning to combine sightseeing on land and the river, look for a cruise that includes access to attractions. A hop-on hop-off option is also a great idea if you’re an active sightseer.

Wear flat, comfortable shoes and pay extra attention when getting off and on the boat. 

In addition to going on river cruises, you can also experience life like a local and catch one of the commuter ferries. The Staten Island Ferry runs 24/7 and since it’s free, it’s also a great alternative if you’re on a tight budget. You’ll get views of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan. NYC Ferry and NY Waterway are the two other companies operating commuter ferry routes.


Other Sightseeing Options in New York City

Want to discover all there is to do in New York City? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about New York City

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 6,150 reviews

What a way to see the famous skyline at night ! Crew and musicians were brilliant and very attentive. Only downside was they had cancelled our time (due to not enough passengers I presume) and we hadn’t been informed , the lady did say she’d tried calling and mailed but we never received anything. They compensated us with a drinks package. We stopped right outside the Statue of Liberty and had great photo opportunities and didn’t feel rushed. Highly recommended and was certainly a highlight on our trip.

Christian was a wonderful guide. We were greeted immediately at the meeting point and given clear directions throughout the tour.

It was a wonderful experience, great music, wonderful staff and unforgettable sights to see of the Manhattan skyline

The tour guide was very nice and especially down to earth person easy to speak with, friendy

Plenty of good information and tips on what else to see and do. Fun Santa was present then.