This past week I joined my son, mother and sister on a tour of Manhattan. You may be wondering why I would do that when I live near New York City and have for many, many years! For one thing, it was a boat tour. I was invited by Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises to go on their Harbor Lights Tour. Who can resist the city at night? For another thing, my mom was visiting from out of town and I knew she would get a real kick out of seeing NYC all lit up at night. In addition, my son is very Instagram-obsessed at the moment, and I knew that he would get a lot of enjoyment out of snapping photos while circling the island. (And I was right!)
Sure enough, we all loved circling the island of Manhattan, getting up-close and personal views of our favorite landmarks. We hopped on the boat at 42nd Street and 12th Avenue. Boarding was easy and efficient. From the Statue of Liberty to the United Nations to the Empire State Building, we saw NYC from what seemed like an “insider’s” view. We rode under bridges, passed the newly built Freedom Tower and rode along side Governor’s Island. We had a professional tour guide share details and wonderful tid-bits about all the sites we passed. Whether you live in NYC or not, you will enjoy the incredible views and history provided by the guide. As the sun went down and the city lit up, the moments on the boat became even more precious and exciting for all of us.
Playing tourist isn’t always easy, though. We arrived 30 minutes before the ride took off and all the good seats were gone. There are a few things I wish I had known beforehand so here are a few tips to make your cruise a success for you and your family:
1. Arrive early, as in one hour before departure. There are a limited number of seats available on the top deck, which is outside and offers the best views. Once those seats are taken, you must sit inside, only peering through windows.
2. The tour guide sits inside most of the time and is resistant to passengers getting up to take photographs. There is more freedom outside and I highly recommend standing outside to capture great images.
3. Concessions are pricy on the boat, so bring a few bottles of water and then head to Gotham Market on 45th Street and 11th Avenue afterwards for amazing, reasonably priced food.
4. Bring a good camera that is fully charged. You won’t want to be camera-less on this ride!
5. Book your tickets online in advance and save money ($5 each, which adds up).
For more information, visit the Circle Line Boat Tours website.
Disclosure: Holly was given complimentary tickets to facilitate this review, but all opinions are her own.
– Holly Fink
Holly Rosen Fink is a mother, marketing consultant, writer and blogger for a number of sites, as well as her own, The Holly Chronicles.