Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise – 2024 Insider’s Guide

Sweeping views of Manhattan and Lady Liberty, sun-soaked sojourns across the Hudson River and Brooklyn Bridge scenery come together for one awesome aquatic adventure. Uncover even more of the beauty of the Big Apple when you reserve a Circle Line Cruise.

Follow along to learn everything you need to know about Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises.

Whether you are obsessed with architecture and can’t wait to scope out the Empire State Building or have a more romantic rendezvous in mind, Circle Line offers several classic and special event cruises.

Delight in the fireworks and festivities of the fourth of July, or sample seasonal beers and themed food specialties on a Spring Fling Day Cruise. 

However you decide to marvel at the majesty of New York City, Circle Line Cruises has you covered.

About Circle Line Cruises

Wondering what’s so special about Circle Line Cruises? It’s more than just your typical sightseeing ferry NYC! As New York’s oldest and largest provider of scheduled and chartered sightseeing cruises, Circle Line has over 75 years of experience.

An unparalleled attraction ideal for tourists and locals alike, every Circle Line Tour is professionally narrated. Sea-worthy explorers can rest easy knowing the Circle Line only utilizes the most modern fleet for all Circle Line tours. Built for both comfort and style, these top-of-the-line ships ensure every passenger’s safety and enjoyment.

Their world-class fleet was designed for sightseeing and makes perfect vehicles for many popular events, including entertainment cruises, happy hours, charters, and more. Glimpse at the Empire City’s most storied landmarks as you revel in the history and culture of this iconic island.

Whether you choose to book premier seating Circle Line or standard seating, you will appreciate unobstructed views of the Lady Liberty and other iconic Circle Line landmarks. Circle Line Cruise premier seating is available on Tripster!

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises - NYC, New York, USA
Jet off on a sightseeing cruise in NYC this summer

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

Dreaming about the Top of the Rock, or have you been craving the historic vistas of Liberty and Ellis Island? Whatever your Big Apple fantasy, Circle Line Cruises has a multitude of options to assuage even the most discerning travelers.

Cover the best of the Empire City in 24 hours or less when you book a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise:

Best of NYC Cruise

Is it your first time encountering the magic of Manhattan? Gaze upon the most breathtaking attractions and awe-inspiring city skyline views when you opt for a Best of NYC Cruise. This 2.5-hour watery escapade is the classic cruise that put the Circle Line on the map. Many would agree that this is the best Circle Line Cruise Manhattan NY.

Sit back, relax and snap away as you cruise past over 130 of the city’s most renowned landmarks, from semi circle line cruises to full circle tours. This comprehensive cruise presents it all, from spellbinding cityscapes of One World Trade Center to the legendary Yankee Stadium. Indeed, this is the only NYC cruise that completely circumnavigates the island of Manhattan and features all three rivers.

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Departing from the Midtown West Pier 83 at West 42nd Street, this expertly narrated cruise dives deep into the story and origins of the world’s most famous city. Appreciate the Manhattan skyline during your trip!

Keep those peepers peeled as you won’t want to miss the panoramic pleasure of passing:

  • The Empire State Building
  • The Chrysler Building
  • The High Line
  • The Statue of Liberty
  • Ellis Island
  • South Street Seaport
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Manhattan Bridge
  • United Nations Headquarters
  • Gracie Mansion
  • George Washington Bridge
angled shot from boat on water with buildings in distance during night at Harbor Cruise Lights Circle Line Cruise in New York City, New York, USA
photo credit: Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises via Facebook

Landmarks Cruise

Got slightly less time, but still want to see it all? Ideal for architecture lovers, the Circle Line Landmarks Cruise packs all the best of Lower Manhattan, Midtown, and the East Rivers into one arresting adventure.

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Soak in the scenic spectacles of One World Trade Center, Ellis Island, DUMBO, South Street Seaport, and more on this 1.5-hour excursion. Listen up as your award-winning tour guides regale you with fascinating facts, stories, and historical know-how regarding the city’s most recognizable sights. 

Feast your eyes on heavenly highlights such as:

  • Empire State Building
  • Chrysler Building
  • High Line
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Manhattan Bridge
  • Williamsburg Bridge
Harbor Lights Cruise by Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises on water with buildings in background at night with fireworks in sky on New Year's Eve in New York City, New York, USA
photo credit: Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises via Facebook

Liberty Midtown Cruise

Got your heart set on getting up close and personal with the big lady in green? Discover the dazzling gravitas of the Statue of Liberty when you reserve your very own seat on the Liberty Midtown Cruise, also known as Circle Line Liberty Cruise Standard. You can also choose Circle Line premier seating for a more comfortable trip.

Cozy up inside your luxurious cruise vessel, or take in the splendor of Lady Liberty ‘al fresco’ from the incredible outdoor deck. This one-hour cruise contains a scenic passing of the sprawling Hudson Yards, One World Trade Center, and the High Line Park.

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History buffs will be in true heaven as you effortlessly glide just feet away from Manhattan’s most iconic statue. Grab that phone or camera, as you’ll need to document this once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity. 

Swing by the tip of Southern Manhattan, and don’t forget to take in:

  • Empire State Building
  • Chrysler Building
  • Ellis Island

Harbor Lights Cruise

Looking to impress a special someone? Pull out all the stops and pump up the enchantment when you ditch the daylight for an awe-inspiring evening cruise. The Harbor Lights Cruise is an unparalleled way to observe NYC’s most charming landmarks and institutions. This is the best island cruise in Manhattan! 

Grab a cocktail or glass of wine from the onboard bar as you settle in for a scintillating night of towers, parks, and memorials. Swoon over Chelsea Piers and the Williamsburg Bridge before enjoying the exquisite visual of an orangey-red fiery orb disappearing behind the silhouette of Lady Liberty. 

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This informative 2-hour cruise also features stops at:

  • Empire State Building
  • Chrysler Building
  • High Line
  • Ellis Island
  • One World Trade Center
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • South Street Seaport
  • Manhattan Bridge
boat on water with people aboard and bridge and buildings in background at night at NYC Harbor Lights Night Cruise in New York City, New York, USA
photo credit: Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises via Facebook

Spring Fling Day Cruise

Feeling the fresh florals and sunshine of NYC in the Spring? Appreciate even more of the great outdoors when you plan for a full 30-mile cruise up the heavenly Hudson River. The Spring Fling Day Cruise is a 4.5-hour river cruise to the 800-foot tall Hook Mountain.

Raise a glass of vernal lager or ale as you regale in the rousing melodies of Americana and Country Rock. Spot the famed Sing Sing Prison, cruise on by the rugged Hudson River Palisades, and appreciate the legacy of Lyndhurst Mansion.

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Amateur birders will be pleased with the diverse array of avian species that populate this picturesque area, including ravens, hawks, ospreys, and the occasional Bald Eagle. 

Other incredible Spring Fling Day Cruise Highlights include:

  • The George Washington Bridge
  • The Tappan Zee bridge
  • The Little Red Lighthouse
  • The Cloisters
  • Lyndhurst Mansion
  • The Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse
people aboard Landmarks Cruise by Circle Line Cruise with buildings in the distance on a cloudy day in New York City, New York, USA
photo credit: Donna Karla Calingo Gargaceran via Facebook

July 4th Fireworks Cruise

Celebrate the red, white, and blue with the best view in Manhattan when you soak in electrifying fireworks from the middle of the East River. There’s no better way to reign in Independence Day than with a July 4th Fireworks Cruise. Then, stuff yourself silly with a summer buffet of fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, and mac ‘n cheese. Or crack open a cold one as you enjoy the open bar offerings of beer, wine, and soda.

Set sail for an evening of extraordinary patriotic pleasure as you spend 5 hours spotting the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade Center, and the Statue of Liberty. Later on, as the sunlight disappears, prime yourself for a gasp-inducing display of colors and lights as you witness the dazzling drama of New York City’s 4th of July Fireworks Celebration. 

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*Currently, Circle Line Cruises has no New Years’ Eve Cruise schedule, but please check their website and social media channels for the most up-to-date information.

The Beast

Like your sightseeing with a side of screaming? Hold on to your hat, and prepare for some high-speed hijinks when you dare to conquer the Beast. This thrilling attraction is the Empire City’s only jet-powered speed boat attraction. Steel your nerves as you experience the full power of this 1400 BHP-horsepower monster.

Achieve racing speeds up to 45 mph as you zip through the Hudson River and sweep by the Statue of Liberty. Leave the electronics at home as there’s a high chance you will be SOAKED!

people aboard bright green boat called The Beast by Circle Line Cruise on water with boats in the background in New York City, New York, USA
photo credit: Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises via Facebook

Know Before You Go:

Can’t wait to begin your water-bound tour of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and more? Before you kick off your Circle Line Sojourn, there are some essential things to note:

  • Circle Line asks that you arrive 30-45 minutes before your departure time to allow enough time for box office check-in and boarding
  • No outside food or beverages are allowed on Circle Line Cruises, but there are concessions and a full bar onboard the ship for additional purchase.
  • There are two types of seats to choose from, Circle Line premier vs standard seat. There is a clear difference between Circle Line premier seating vs standard. Premier seats are inside with air conditioning and windows. In addition, premier seats are cushioned while the Circle Line standard seating are non-cushioned.
  • All Circle Line Cruises operate rain or shine.
  • Every Circle Cruise ship features a temperature-controlled indoor deck and free wifi
  • Circle Line Cruises always depart from Pier 83 on West 42nd Street
  • Pier 83 is easily accessible by public transit or driving 
  • Circle Line provides convenient parking just steps away from their boats for $30
  • Always look out for new cruises! Bear Mountain Cruise is a must-not-miss!
Circle Line Cruise on water with buildings and bridge in background during day with blue sky in New York City, New York, USA
photo credit: Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises via Facebook

What to Bring

Bubbling over with excitement to score those Battery Park or Manhattan Bridge views? Then, ensure your Circle Line Cruise is nothing but smooth sailing when you come prepared. 

For a fuss-free adventure, we highly recommend packing the following items:

  • Camera/phone
  • Portable Battery Pack
  • Light Jacket/rain Jacket dependent on weather
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Extra cash for onboard purchases
  • Circle Line Cruise tickets

Museums, monuments, and memorials, oh my! The City that Never Sleeps is packed to the brim with premier attractions and sights. Change up your staid sightseeing routine when you reserve a riveting Circle Line Cruise.

Since 1945 Circle Line has set the gold standard for NYC sightseeing cruises. With their voracious appetite for adventure and unquenchable attention to customer service, every Circle Line Cruise delivers an unforgettable experience.

people aboard Circle Line Cruise Best of NYC during the day with bridge and buildings in background in New York City, New York, USA
photo credit: Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises via Facebook

Savor epic Statue of Liberty views, fall for the charm of the Chrysler Building, or ogle the inspiring architecture of High Line Park. Trade in your next matinee or movie night for the amorous appeal of the Harbor Lights, or commemorate our country’s birth with the best fireworks display to view.

Ready to discover the dynamic appeal of the Big Apple? Book America’s Favorite Boat Ride today!

Tell Us, What’s Your Favorite Circle Line Cruise?

Leave us a comment below!

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Written by Isis Maya Nissman

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central...

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