Want to experience New York City in a different way? Let me tell you all about the dinner cruise around Manhattan! 😁
New York is a city full of places to discover, and where everything seems to go faster than anywhere else. That's part of what makes the quieter moments you spend in New York seem even more unforgettable.
After a long day of sightseeing in one of the world's most beautiful cities, how about a meal on a luxury boat that will take you around Manhattan, cruising up and down the East River and the Hudson River?
I'm sure the prospect of spending a romantic moment with your lover is tempting. Or perhaps you'd rather have a memorable meal with family or friends in this unique setting? I had the chance to try out the dinner cruise in New York with some friends, and in this article I'll tell you all about this experience that I won't forget anytime soon!
The different types of dinner cruises in New York City
To start with, you should know that there are several types of dinner cruises in New York, on the boats around Manhattan. You can go as a couple or with friends or family.
In my case, it was with friends that I did this little 3-hour cruise, and we had a delicious time – quite literally! 😉
If you are a couple, you will be treated to a small and romantic table and an intimate atmosphere 😊
If you are with friends or family, you will be seated at bigger tables, and in a more friendly atmosphere. What’s more, as you will probably find out even if you do this experience as a couple, these dinner cruises can also be used to celebrate special occasions, such as weddings.
Here are some of the dinner cruises you can take in New York City:
Luxury cruise with brunch, lunch or dinner
La Barca all-inclusive Mexican dinner cruise
Jazz, hot chocolate and Christmas carols cruise
Manhattan brunch cruise with a drink
Either way, these cruises will allow you to enjoy a great meal while admiring some of the city's highlights from a unique vantage point. During our cruise, we enjoyed a candlelit dinner with a 3-course menu; but depending on the package, you can also have an all-you-can-eat buffet, sometimes in a more festive atmosphere, with a DJ present to set the mood.
Whether you are with a lover, family members or friends, I really don't think you will regret this experience. These cruises are very popular, and as such I really recommend booking your table in advance – if you don't want to have the unpleasant surprise of not being able to board due to lack of space 😕
Note that you can choose the type of meal you wish to have: brunch, lunch or dinner. This will allow you to do the cruise at a time that suits you best.
For me, the best option remains the dinner cruise, as you will be able to enjoy both a day and night view during this amazing nautical adventure 😄
My favourite: the luxury dinner cruise ⚓
luxury dinner cruise on a restaurant boat and I truly recommend it! 😀 The 2-3 hours cruise was on a ship whose curved walls and ceiling were entirely made of glass, giving a full 180 degree view! 🤩While in New York City, I took a
On top of the views of the Manhattan skyline or the Statue of Liberty at night, you'll be treated to a full, delicious menu and can relax in a chic, elegant atmosphere. Do remember to book your ticket well in advance though, for the cruise is very popular!
Enjoy the best views of Manhattan during a romantic dinner cruise
Our expectations before going on this dinner cruise in New York City were quite simple: we wanted to spend an evening on the water with friends in a rather chic setting, and I really wanted us to be able to enjoy absolutely magical views of Manhattan at night. Let me tell you right away, everyone enjoyed the evening and I was not disappointed! 😄
One of the great things about the cruising boats is that they have panoramic windows all the way around, on both sides of the ship and even on the ceiling. Thanks to these windows, we were able to enjoy a perfectly unobstructed view of the landscape throughout the cruise.
How the New York City dinner cruise works
The New York dinner cruise departs from Chelsea Piers – the piers in the Chelsea district of western Manhattan. At 7 p.m., as soon as we boarded, we were taken directly to our table, where glasses were already awaiting us.
A Jazz band was even present to add to the atmosphere, and the volume of the music was just right for us to chat without any problems 🎷
After enjoying our drink, it was time for the meal. Truth be told, the food took a back seat during our dinner – there was really a lot to look at, and I have to admit that we got caught up in the magical atmosphere. I can still tell you that the food was good, very well presented and prepared with fresh products. There was enough variety on the menu for everyone to find a dish that suited them 😋
The service was impeccable. There were plenty of waiters, and really everything was done to make us feel even more like we were having a unique time. If you choose a cruise that offers a buffet rather than menus, only cold dishes will be available – but there will still be plenty of variety, including vegetarian dishes.
While waiting for dessert (which came almost too quickly), we decided to go out on the front deck of the boat to get some fresh air and see the Skyline. Having the chance to see New York from the Hudson River as the sun sets is a rare privilege 🌇
During the last hour of the cruise, a DJ came and the atmosphere became more festive as more and more people joined the dance floor. Of course, don't expect a party worthy of Ibiza’s biggest clubs! The DJ chose to play pop tracks from well known artists, as well as some of the current hits, which was much more appropriate for the evening. We were also treated to some fitting tracks, such as Alicia Keys' famous "Empire State of Mind".
After a short time on the dance floor, we decided that it was a shame to miss what made this dinner so unique, namely the New York decor. So we chose to go to the ship’s upper deck to enjoy a little peace and quiet, and to spend a romantic moment under the stars, admiring the most beautiful sites of New York – which are even more beautiful at night 🤩
Book your activities in New York City! 🍏
Your trip to New York City is already planned but you haven't yet thought about the activities you will do once you get there? Don't worry, New York is known to be the city where one can never get bored!
In fact, don't hesitate to opt for a New York pass to visit must-see places like the Top of the Rock or the MoMA while enjoying interesting discounts! And don't forget to book your outings and visits in advance so that you won't have to wait on site 😉
Looking for an even more romantic experience?
I had chosen the classic option for my cruise, but if I had to do it again, I might choose some extras. For example, you should know that the classic formula does not always guarantee you a table all to yourself – you may have to share it with other passengers, even if in our case, we ended up not having to share.
For a dinner with friends or family, the classic formula is fine, but for a dinner for two, if you want to make sure your meal will be perfectly romantic, these little extras can be interesting.
You can choose the “romantic” option, with which you will be seated at a private table, decorated with roses, to enjoy a more intimate atmosphere. A "first class" option is also sometimes offered – it gives access to a VIP table and unlimited drinks.
Booking a dinner cruise
book your table beforehand. These reservations are not compulsory, but there is no guarantee that you will be able to board if you show up on the pier unannounced 😕These dinners are quite popular, and places on the boats are obviously rather limited. I therefore strongly advise you to
Dress code for a dinner cruise in New York City
While I was booking my own dinner cruise, I saw that proper dress was required. Of course you don't have to come in your best evening wear, but it is still necessary to avoid t-shirts, shorts or Bermuda shorts, as well as too-casual clothes in general.
We did this cruise during summer. As it was rather hot, I didn't wear a jacket – but in the end, the dress code was quite free. So I would simply recommend dressing just as you would if you were going to a rather fancy restaurant.
My opinion on this New York Dinner Cruise
Enjoying an excellent meal in such a setting, with this perfect atmosphere, is one of the moments that I remember best from my time in New York. The restaurant on board the ship is superb, the decor is of course beautiful, the food was good and the staff particularly pleasant. I have had the opportunity to eat on boats during other trips, and I must admit that this little cruise on the Hudson River left the best impression out of them all 😁
Whether for a romantic dinner, with friends, or to celebrate a special occasion, a dinner cruise in Manhattan is definitely one of those experiences I recommend you have at least once during your stay in New York City! 🙌
And this concludes my article on the dinner cruises. I hope you have enjoyed it and that it did convince you to try this unique experience during your own stay in the Big Apple. And if you are still wondering what to do in New York City during a trip as a couple, with family or with friends, you can check out my article on the Broadway musical Chicago – now that’s an outing that I'm sure will leave you with a great memory of New York City! 😀