Circle Line Cruises


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Circle Line Cruises provides travelers with a comprehensive overview of Manhattan and New York City. Over 60 million passengers have enjoyed the various cruises so far in the company's 70-year history. Adventurers love the company's boat nicknamed The Beast, which travels past the Statue of Liberty at 45 MPH. The cruise line attracts all types of travelers who desire to learn about New York City and its rich history. The cruises last from thirty minutes to three hours and are offered year round. Prices are very reasonable, starting at $29-$107 per person for a thirty minute to three-hour tour.

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The Good

  • Tour on the water
  • Affordable prices
  • Snacks on board

Tour on the Water

During the cruise, a tour guide points out the city's 123 landmarks, and shares trivia and information via a narration through the boat's speaker system. Travelers can move about freely aboard the boat at all times. The boats provide enclosed air-conditioned seating and uncovered upper deck seating options. Plenty of outlets are available for passengers to charge their phones while cruising.

Affordable Prices

The tour begins from Pier 83 and heads south down the Hudson River. The bow section opens up once the boat begins its route. Passengers get an excellent view of lower Manhattan before the boat makes a full spun in front of the Statue of Liberty. The port side of the ship makes for the best viewing spot because of the full circle it makes here. The boat then heads north along the East River where guests can see all the bridges. Along the way, the tour guide points out main attractions as well as dining and entertainment suggestions. Each cruise activities include:

  • Best of NYC Cruise: 2.5 hours- Adults: $41; Children: $29; Seniors: $36

Take your visit off the pavement with this NYC sightseeing tour that offers the very best of the best. Circle around the island as the tour guides reveal Gotham's hidden treasures. Absorb centuries of history in one mind-blowing cruise. Then go school the locals on their own city.

  • Harbor Lights Cruise: 2 hours - Adults: $36; Children: $29; Seniors: $32

Nothing quite compares to a NYC sunset cruise through city lights glistening like diamonds on the dark water. So grab some friends, family, coworkers or even a totally random stranger and enter the magical twilight scene of so many famous movies. Experience the Instagram potential as you watch the sunset and glide under the majestically lit Lady Liberty.

Snacks on Board

There is a snack shop aboard for passengers as well. Hotdogs, sandwiches, salads, ice cream, pretzels, soda, and alcoholic beverages are some of the choices of food options available. Guests may also bring their own food and beverages aboard the ship.

The Bad

  • Young children may get restless
  • Expensive snacks
  • Old boats

Young Children

Children under six years of age may get restless on the company's longer tour, especially in a confined area. A better fit for them would be the shorter one-hour cruise. Parents of younger children may also want to bring along activities and snacks to keep young ones preoccupied.

Passengers will want to arrive early prior to boarding. The outside and top seats fill up quickly, and guests tend to stay at their seats throughout the trip. When arriving, look for staff wearing red shirts to guide you where you need to be. The lines can be a bit confusing as there are several cruise line companies in the area.

Expensive Snacks

Food and beverages aboard the ship can be expensive. For example, a beer can cost a passenger around $8 and a mixed drink costs $12. Previous customers suggest bringing your own food and beverages aboard the ship. Pricing breaks down as follows:

  • Best of NYC Cruise: 2.5 hours- Adults:$41; Children:$29; Seniors:$36
  • Harbor Lights Cruise: 2 hours - Adults:$36; Children:$29; Seniors:$32

Old Boats

Some of the company's boats are very old and in need of upgrades. The PA system on certain boats have a tendency to go out from time to time, making it very difficult to hear what the Captain is saying. Some of the older ships lack modern amenities in their kitchens. Ask about the age of the ship prior to purchasing a ticket.


Tickets are available for purchase at the ticket booth, on the company website, and through various online vendors. However, guaranteed boarding is not available through the vendors. The only way to guarantee a reserved spot is to purchase tickets through the company's website or at the ticket booth. If you do not, you may find yourself not being able to board after waiting in a long line in the hot sun.

The tours guides have been reported to be a bit cheesy or overly chatty at times. The tour guides attempt to be entertaining by offering their own brand of humor, but this gets lost on visitors from time to time who can find them to be a bit annoying. Some consumers have complained that the tours guides were overly quiet or downright rude. This appears to be a matter of personal taste among passengers.

The Bottom Line

Circle Line Cruises is a perfect choice for travelers seeking a comprehensive overview of Manhattan and New York City without having to walk. The cruise line covers over 123 popular attractions and over 60 million passengers have enjoyed the voyage in the company's 70-year history. Thrill-seekers will particularly enjoy The Beast, which travels past the Statue of Liberty at 45 MPH. Prices are very reasonable and the cruises last from thirty minutes to three hours.

Downsides appear to be expensive food and beverages, long lines, and cheesy tour guides. Some of the older boats could use upgrades in kitchen facilities and PA systems. Passengers will want to arrive early prior to boarding and possibly bring their own food and beverages for the trip.

Overall, we would recommend using another cruise line for your travel needs. Visit our recommended cruise lines.