The Perfect Manhattan Cruise: A Scenic Boat Ride in NYC

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When I think of New York, I think of a vibrant, exciting, and crowded city. Relaxing is not a word that comes to mind. And yet when I recall the Manhattan cruise that N- and I went on, that’s the first word I’d use to describe it. The AIANY Around Manhattan Architecture Tour was the perfect Manhattan cruise. Here’s why I enjoyed it so much:

It circumnavigated Manhattan

When I was doing research, this tour stood out to me because it went all around Manhattan, which was not the case with most of the other boat tours I looked at. The cruise also ran for a generous amount of time—2 hours and 45 minutes.

The yacht was spacious and comfortable

We sailed in a 1920s-style yacht called Manhattan. The windows and skylights made the cabin bright and airy. We sat at old-style booths with tables and green-fabric banquettes. Little touches like navy rugs and throw pillows completed the picture.

Cabin on the yacht Manhattan

We visited in December, and the heating was excellent in the yacht. They have air-conditioning in the summer too.

I learned about architecture

The tour is a collaboration between Classic Harbor Line and the American Institute of Architects New York (AIANY). It’s run by actual licensed architects and focuses on the New York architecture you see from the yacht.

There were no jokes, audience participation schemes, or crowd-pleasing measures—just architectural content. Our tour guide had a monotonous voice and a matter-of-fact narration style. Nevertheless, his architectural knowledge was evident, and he shared this knowledge in detail. I learned interesting new things about New York architecture.

The deck was perfect for photography

It was so much fun to take photos of the New York skyline from the yacht’s deck. Surprisingly, I had it all to myself for the most part. It was cold outside and the other guests preferred to stay in the cabin.

The deck on the yacht Manhattan

The deck on the yacht Manhattan

It was a small group tour

This relaxing cruise was the complete opposite of the noisy, crowded Statue Cruises ferry ride that I’ve also taken in New York. Our small group was spread out in the cabin with our own seating areas, and everyone was comfortable.

Cabin on the yacht Manhattan

They served hors d’oeuvres and champagne

They laid out a selection of hors d’oeuvres and offered one free drink per person—red, white, or champagne. I chose the champagne.

Champagne on a Manhattan cruise

Time just flew by

I sat inside half the time, admiring the views and listening to the guide while sipping my champagne. The other half, I was out on the deck taking photos, leaning on the rails, and feeling the cold wind on my face. The hours went by quickly.

Enjoying the Manhattan cruise

This was one of my most enjoyable experiences in New York throughout my visits so far. I highly recommend it.

The New York skyline at sunset from a Manhattan cruise yacht