In a previous post on NYC Sights, I recommended the Staten Island Ferry for incredible views of Lower Manhattan, One World Trade, the Statue of Liberty, and the entire Manhattan skyline for free. Now, with some strategizing (getting to the ferry terminal early before the line forms, asserting your spot on the Statue side of the ship, and making an efficient loop to get back on the same ferry), this is an excellent way to view the harbor and the Manhattan skyline.
However, if you want to avoid the masses and spend a longer, carefree, quality amount of time on the water, you have other options.
This past Saturday, I tried one of those options, namely a day sail on Classic Harbor Line’s Schooner America 2.0. When I researched boating opportunities for NYC, Classic Harbor’s harbor cruises had great reviews and the sailboat I wanted. Motorboat cruises are very ordinary ways to cruise the harbor, but a sailboat offers both the views of the harbor and the excitement of the crew fixing the sails and navigating to shut off the motor and truly sail. My partner-in-crime for this adventure and I both want to learn how to sail (considerably smaller sailboats), so that was another reason for a sail.
Another highlight- the boat was not crowded, which was a refreshing change of pace from Manhattan as well as more touristy trips. This cruise is for visitors or New Yorkers- it’s a nice way to get out on the water, not a tour. The cruise was quiet, not narrated, included beer and soda, and offered wine and champagne as well. The guests on our cruise had various purposes for being there as well: a date, a ladies’ day out, a double date, a quiet bachelor party sailing before their evening festivities, families, photography enthusiasts, and individual explorers.
The crew is friendly and takes care of the ship while regularly making sure you have something to drink and taking pictures when asked. The ship itself is beautiful and the newest addition to the Classic Harbor Line ships. The trip heads out from Chelsea Piers down the Hudson River, into the harbor, past the Statue of Liberty, lingers by Lower Manhattan, and makes its way back to Chelsea Piers.
I highly recommend sailing the America 2.0 this summer. Try the late afternoon (4:30-6:30) or sunset cruise to maximize your views of Manhattan in the daylight and not get too hot before the sailboat leaves the dock for the harbor breezes. I hope to sail again and bring family or friends soon. Check out the photos from my cruise below.
Note: if you are not familiar with Chelsea Piers, like me, you will find the Classic Harbor Line check-in outside behind the Pier, not inside it.