Want to experience New York 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 and Hudson Rivers?
I'm sure the prospect of spending a romantic moment with the one you love 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 soon forget!
The different types of dinner cruises in New York
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. Finally, 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.
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 on the internet – 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 nautical adventure 🙂
Enjoy the best views of Manhattan during a romantic dinner cruise
Our expectations before going on this dinner cruise in New York were quite simple: we wanted to enjoy 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 programme 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.
It doesn't matter which side of the ship you sit on – since the ship travels back and forth, you won't miss a single view and you'll be able to enjoy a magnificent sight of Manhattan and Brooklyn throughout your evening. You will have the opportunity to see the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building and of course the Statue of Liberty, among others.
How the New York 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 (which was not champagne but a very decent French sparkling wine nonetheless), it was time for the meal. Truthbe 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, and you will be able to help yourself to anything you like, as many times as you want.
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 arrived 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.
This is really THE big plus of this dinner cruise in New York! The views are INCREDIBLE!
Looking for an even more romantic experience?
I had chosen the classic formula for this cruise, but if I had to do it again (and I hope that the opportunity will indeed arise very soon), 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 a '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 the dinner cruise
These dinners are quite popular, and places on the boats are obviously rather limited. I therefore strongly advise you to book your table. 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.
Le Dress Code pour un dîner croisière à New York
When I booked, 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 I realised that in the end, the dress code was quite free. So I would just advise you to dress just as you would if you were going to a rather fancy restaurant.
My opinion on the New York dinner cruise
Having 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 it's for a romantic dinner, with friends, or to celebrate a special occasion, a dinner cruise in Manhattan is definitely one of those experiences that I recommend you have at least once during your stay in New York.
And this concludes my article on the dinner cruise. Should you decide to go for it, I wish you all the best! Of course, you may want to avoid it if you happen to be particularly sensible to sea-sickness... 😄