Classic Harbor Lines based at Chelsea Piers, offers a 90 minute cruise around the island of Manhattan on a 1920s style yacht named the Yacht Manhattan. Our cruise was at 5:15 on Father's Day and we lucked out with nice weather, easy parking, and a relaxing and unique experience we won't soon forget.
Classic Harbor Lines operates out of Chelsea Piers, the entertainment/sports complex just south of midtown Manhattan. It's along the West Side Highway, just at the start of Hudson River Park, and a few blocks from the High Line. Parking is available in the Chelsea Piers deck, or on street for those willing to drive around a bit (we found a spot instantly!). The ticket office is at Pier 62, and a friendly welcome awaits. The boat begins taking passengers about 5 minutes before sail time, so if you're early you can check out the Chelsea Piers skate park, or grab a sandwich at Wichcraft right on the pier. Food is welcome on the Yacht Manhattan, but there's no food for sale. There is one complimentary drink per person though!
Classic Harbor Lines keeps the crowd on the Yacht Manhattan small, so while we sat out on the deck for most of the time, we had no problem drifting inside later to eat the dinner we brought on board. With a blow of the horn, we were off! The captain introduced himself and his two crew members, who were attentive during our whole cruise. Captain David played some soft music while he wasn't telling us about the more popular sights.
So what do you see on the Yacht Manhattan? A lot more than you see from land! The cruise starts down the Hudson River, viewing Hoboken and Jersey City on the New Jersey side, and down to Battery Park City on the New York side. Of course what everyone wants to see is Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty and the cruise doesn't disappoint! We got right up close to the lady.
Then, it's into New York Harbor and up the East River. From there you see Governor's Island, head under the Brooklyn and Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges, and can see the Brooklyn Bridge Park and its 1922 carousel. We even saw a wedding at the park. Captain David narrates some of the sights along the way, but even without his guidance, it's an educational and relaxing ride. It was windy in spots, and minor splashing, but Captain David warns you when it's about to come. My children loved walking around the boat (with guidance of course) and their interest in the buildings and bridges they saw were piqued. Even better, my husband and I found new nooks to add to our list of New York places to visit!
When it was time to head back (the cruise takes you just north of the Williamsburg Bridge), we sat back and enjoyed the last of the views. The sun started to come out and we waved goodbye to the Statue of Liberty. After a smooth docking, we were off to home, thinking about when we could come back to Classic Harbor Lines again, maybe for a trip on the Schooner America 2.0 sailboat?