The Big Apple's big attractions are best seen from the moon, but recent budget cuts in the space-tour industry have kept sightseeing within the stratosphere. See the city from the surface of the other final frontier with today's Groupon: for $13, you get one ticket to see Manhattan by boat with your choice of one of three different guided boat tours from Harbor Experience Companies (up to a $27 value). Choose from the classic New York Water Taxi's Statue of Liberty Express, a luxurious Circle Line Downtown ZEPHYR Seaport Liberty Cruise, or Circle Line Downtown's fast and furious SHARK Speedboat Thrill Ride.
The Statue of Liberty Express ($25) is the classic hour-long NYC boat tour. Cruise on a catamaran past Manhattan's skyline as you take in the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, and other Big Apple bigwigs. Get up close and personal with the Statue of Liberty as you blast Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher" from your boombox, all while learning facts about the city and theories on Lost from your tour guide. Check the schedule for cruise times.
The ZEPHYR Seaport Liberty Cruise ($27) sets you adrift on a luxurious yacht for a tour of New York's legendary landmarks. From your climate-controlled, plush-and-mahogany chamber aboard the ship, you'll get an eyeful of Manhattan's mainstays, including the Chrysler Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State Building. Venture onto the full sun deck or the ship's other outdoor decks to wash down your sightseeing sojourn with a sun-poured glass of vitamin D. Check the schedule for cruise times.
If you want to squeeze a harbor cruise into your lunch break or dental-office wait, satisfy your need for speed on the SHARK Speedboat Thrill Ride ($23). The heart-handshaking, 30-minute speedboat ride blasts out of South Street Seaport's Pier 16 with the gusto of a Miami Vice rerun, zipping by landmarks on a stream of seaspray. The tour features music and Manhattan merriment, making it a great trip for students and corporate groups (children and microscopic CEOs must be at least 40" to ride). Check the schedule for cruise times.
The Village Voice voted New York Water Taxi's stop-and-go tour best taxi ride in 2007, and reviewers from the International Press Association and TheTravelEditor.com liked their cruise past the Big Apple:
- Imagine a taxi ride free of drivers' cell-phone conversations...a ride without the need to question the route or glance at the escalating numbers on the meter, a ride where you never had to contend with any traffic or decrepit shock absorbers or broken seat belts. And the salt spray—well, that's simply a bonus. – The Village Voice
- Being native New Yorkers, we have visited many of these locations on land, but rarely get a chance to see them from the sea and on a beautiful day with the cool summer wind blowing in our hair it was truly a delight. We enjoyed the informative tour guide who made it all so much better. Even New Yorkers can learn a bit about history and some inside scoop about plans for future construction projects and little known facts. The filming of some of the exciting parts of "War of the Worlds" was filmed on the site of the Naval Yard. Did you know that the fourth fastest growing industry in New York was the motion picture industry? We didn't either, until we took this cruise. – Andrew Rapoport and Sara Milkovich, International Press Association
- The ride alone is worth it. Bring a camera and sit up top to photograph the city’s icons including the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. – Wendy Connett, TheTravelEditor.com