On Monday, December 9th, Circle Line Sightseeing along with our sister company World Yacht Dinner Cruises, are set to hold a first-in-history Christmas event, "Holidays on the Hudson: Lighting of the Ships and Boat Parade."
So just what is "Holidays on the Hudson: Lighting of the Ships and Boat Parade?"
First and foremost, we will jointly hold a holiday-themed free event on Pier 81/Pier 83 to watch a newly-invented specatcular: The Lighting of the Ships. The festive parade of New York Cruise Line ships will be led by a Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer-decorated tugboat, followed by an array of over 5,000 feet of sparkling and glittering lights. Onlookers can sip hot chocolate, take their pics with Santa Claus, and simply enjoy the cheer and view of the majestic river boats (as if the skyline wasn't enough).
This brand new civic event is open and free to the public!
There will also be two specialty boat cruises deaprting for approximately 75 minutes to benefit local non profits - one on Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises and the other on World Yacht. Both of the New York organizations that we are hosting are committed to enhancing the lives of New Yorkers, and this is a tradition we hope to keep annually for many years to come.
Giving is what Christmas is all about isn't it? Too often that spirit gets lost in the shuffle and we feel extremely fortunate to be able to give back to those who give consistently to their community.
More about the non-profit boats:
Circle Line will be hosting a holiday party for the non-profit Room to Grow, a local organization dedicated to supporting families and enriching the lives of babies born into poverty throughout their critical first three years of development. On board, families will enjoy food and drink donated by Circle Line’s concessions partner, Legends Hospitality, family-friendly entertainment, and a visit with Santa Claus complete with gifts for all the kids. One lucky family, chosen by Room to Grow, will have the opportunity to light the boat before it embarks on the fun-filled cruise.
World Yacht will be hosting an evening for Friends of Hudson River Park; a non-profit organization dedicated to the completion, care, and enhancement of the Hudson River Park. On board World Yacht, guests will enjoy food and drink including hot chocolate and festive holiday cookies and snacks donated by World Yacht. The ship will also feature live carolers to help spread the cheer. The special honors of lighting the World Yacht ship will be given to a board member of Friends of Hudson River Park and will happen simultaneously with Circle Line’s lighting – filling the entire pier area and river with a beautiful, holiday vision.
Festivities and photos with Santa begin at 5pm at Pier 81/Pier 83 (W. 41st/42nd Street). Lighting of the Ships will take place at 5:45pm and the boats will then begin boarding. The boat parade will take place from approximately 6:15 to 7:30pm.
Come one come all!
Wrapping up our ten week series of blogging on board our boats, we culminated #bloggeronboard with a night cruise. Our Harbor Lights Cruise sails nightly during peak season at 7pm and weekends only at 6:30pm beginning on October 28. Keep in mind this cruise does not sail year round so be sure to buy tickets before November 25 or after February 27!
So what is the difference on a Harbor Lights Cruise? The Harbor Lights Cruise does the same route as our Semi Circle Cruise, with one big difference: sailing at night.
While the cruise begins around dusk and offers sunset pictures (which can be absolutely stunning in person and in pictures) it also offers new york at night by the end of the journey.
It definitely gets a little chilly at night during this time of year so be sure to dress warm. Our boats offer indoor and outdoor decks, but obviously most folks want to be outside for the photo opps. Especially the ones downtown! You always have the option of sneaking out to the bow or stern of the boat if you don't want to be crowded up top trying to get that perfect shot.
This cruise appeals to people from all over, especially the ones who have heard of the magnitude of new york at night. On this cruise I met people from Paris and Munich! On the left is Fred from Paris and Laura and Cybila from Munich are on the right.
One of the best parts of the cruise is settling snug into a good seat with a cup of hot cocoa. I couldn't help but wonder what on the cruise smelled like fresh brownie mix. I followed the scent wafting through the bottom level of the boat and found it was hot chocolate being poured much more than the beer and wine!
This cruise is also great for a date, the intimacy of sunset is just the perfect setting for love birds.
There are still four weeks left to see for yourself until next year. If you'd like to see #newyorkatnight, book your Harbor Lights Cruise today.
That concludes our #bloggeronboard series! Hope you enjoyed it!
Our Bear Mountain Cruises are fully underway, and so is the autumn foliage. #BloggeronBoard hopped on our favorite fall cruise up the Hudson River on Sunday to check out the scenery, the hiking and of course, Oktoberfest. With several available dates left - some sold out and some remaining - we wanted to let our readers know some insider tips before they head up the mountain. This blog is all about preparedness so here are the ways we found for you to act like a boy scout before you take a hike with us to Bear Mountain State Park.
Fully charge your phones and cameras – There are endless photo opps at Bear Mountain. Every time you turn around, there will be a picturesque Instagram-able moment you will want to capture. Bear Mountain State Park is absolutely stunning. There is also a 2.5 hour journey up the Hudson River with nonstop sights along the way. The journey goes by pretty fast. There are snacks and drinks available for purchase on board, but don’t eat too much if you want to eat the German goodies at the park.
Bring cash – Most of the food and beverage carts will take credit cards, but there also small shops and local vendors who have $15 or more minimums. Getting cash on the mountain can be a bit of a challenge, though there are a few ATM's in select buildings in the park. It is much easier to come with cash and enjoy your time there, rather than look for an ATM.
Choose the right shoes – Keep in mind, these are hiking trails. There are over 50 of them. So you definitely don’t want to be in sandals, heels, or white sneakers. The best bet is to wear a pair of boots so that you can weather any terrain. The fun of Bear Mountain State Park is in the exploration, so why be restricted in where you can go? The group is there for a solid 3 hours so if it rains and you're in the wrong footwear, your feet will get wet and muddy.
Lines can be deceiving – At Oktoberfest, everyone wants a Bratwurst with sauerkraut, a Knockwurst with caramelized onions or a cold German beer so they jump on the first line they see.That line can lengthen, wrap around and ultimately block your view of…the line with NO PEOPLE ON IT just around the corner. There are enough food vendors to go around, so if you are standing on a long line, make sure there isn’t a short line right under your nose.
Don’t miss the boat! – Though we wish we could stay at the park and Oktoberfest all day, we simply can’t. The boat leaves after approximately (3) hours and we will let you know an exact return time upon exiting the vessel. Please keep track of the time, and try to make your way back a little early to ensure you are coming home with us. Some people opt to stay at the gorgeous hotels they have on the property like Bear Mountain Inn. While stunning, these modernly rustic accommodations have limited capacity and often sell out. So please do not rely on them to have “room at the inn.” Also, “bear” in mind that if you do choose to stay, you will need to buy another ticket in advance to take you home the following day. Many of our Bear Mountain cruises sell out, so due to capacity restrictions on the boat, Circle Line 42 cannot be sure to have space for you without that ticket for your ride home.
[Bruce, Nicole, Maria and Lisa from Bridgewater, NJ and Bayside, NY; a humorous bunch we met along the hiking trail]
Til next week,
Our Kids Cruise is perhaps the best thing that ever happened to parents (and kids) on the weekend. Launched in 2012, we offer trips up the Hudson to the Statue of Liberty specifically for the little ones from 10am to 11:15am from April through October. Here's a look at Saturday's cruise, which offered everything from face painters to magicians to the Anna Banana Band. There is also a narrator to offer fun facts about the Statue of Liberty. We only have one Kids Cruise left for the season, so be sure to buy your tickets now for October 26th. We will even have the Berenstain Bears aboard that one!
First, kids love our face painters! These talented ladies can paint sparkly butterflies, animals, flowers, the works. This is one of the many reasons that our Kids Cruises make the perfect destination for children's birthday parties in NYC.
We also have magicians making things disappear right before their eyes. Like Samantha's from Hicksville, Long Island. Samantha was very amused by these tricks, but we're not sure if she could already tell what he had up his sleeve. While our magicians and facepainters entertained upstairs and on the outer deck, downstairs offered a whole lot of dancing with the Anna Banana Band.
And of course like all of our other cruises, there is always the fun of simply seeing the sights. From left to right below is Baby Javier and his mom from Belle Mead, NJ, Lola and her parents who live in New York but are Australia natives, Jakiya and Zaniya from Brooklyn with their Dad and Lady Liberty, and one lone sailer observing the view and using her Kids Cruise bookbag in style.
To book a cruise with your little one or send along to someone else with little ones, click here.
Until next time,
The time has sadly come to say goodbye to a cruise that Circle Line 42 launched this year, the Thirtsy Thursday DJ Cruise. Thankfully, this is only temporary. Before Thirsty Thursday goes on hiatus for the winter months, we just wanted to pay homage to some amazing happy hour memories. From Conga lines to special events to 92.3 NOW FM promotions and their resident disc jockey, DJ Yonni; Thirsty Thursday has left a lasting impression on many New Yorkers.
Thirsty Thursday was born in May of this year. As a happy hour cruise around the Hudson River form 6:30-8:30pm, it offered a refreshing alternative to stuffy Manhattan lounges and run-of-the-mill dives. Our live DJs have spun everything from EDM to Top 40 to Classic Rock aboard our top deck, and the dancing never stopped.
Thirsty Thursday also allowed us to link up with great partners, culminate one-of-a-kind promotions like our #NYCin24 (24-hour slumber party), and entertain a myriad of special guests like the Naked Cowboy and the Harlem Gospel Choir.
It was also the perfect platform to hold unique events like our "Handles and Hashtags" social media party held on August 29th. The event prompted social media specialists from all over New York City to craft their best Tweets, Instagram posts, videos and photos -- all in 90 minutes. This meant that our Thirsty Thursday was "tweeted" about 171 times and Instagram(-med) 46 times on a single cruise!
Obviously, they were at a bit of an advantage taking pictures during sunset around the New York Harbor - everything looks beautiful! Even those who were not participating in the contest continued to snap away. It's impossible not to.
As we say goodbye to Thirsty Thursday for 2013, we are also really looking forward to bringing it back next summer. We plan to up the ante next year with even more contests, promotions, themes and good ole' fashioned fun.
Even Lady Liberty says "Cheers" to our Thirsty Thursday Cruises!
Circle Line 42 brought "Handles and Hashtags" to the water last night, a one-of-a-kind social media mixer. The event was intended to serve as a hybrid of old-school and new-school social networking, (as well as get so much platform-play that it crashed Twitter and Instagram). And it worked. Okay so it didn't crash all of Twitter but we swear we succeded in an outage or two. And no that wasn't just because phone signals get a little funny around FiDi.
The event brought together social media mavens from all over New York City and pinned them against one another for a "Tweet of the Night" contest. After receiving a nametag with their handle at the dockside check-in, guests picked a hashtag out of the hashtag bag.
So, what are Handles and Hashtags? Or as social media heads know it, @'s and #'s.
Simple. Your "handle" is essentially your username. For example, ours is @Circleline42.
A "hashtag" is the word or phrase prefixed with a pound sign. Or the old pound sign, which is now called a hashtag sign. Confused yet? No? Okay, so a hashtag is simply a way to designate a term and provide a means of grouping on social media so others can search for it. Example: #CL42
When our social rainmakers were finally on board, they were in a race against the clock to curate the funniest, most creatively brilliant Twitter or Instagram post. They were allowed to use photos, videos, other handles, other people's hashtags, whatever their fancy.
The only two rules were: be sure the hashtag picked i.e.#theDJ had is used in every entry as well as our static hashtag #CL42. (Tacking #CL42 on the end is how we were able to track the night's activity on Twitter and Instagram and see who entered).
The entries were pouring in by the minute as our techie socialites worked their fingers (and their 3G networks) to the bone. Literally, the boat's outer deck was filled with people typing, shooting and dancing the night away. Our DJ (#theDJ) kept them abreast of time.
At 8 PM, the contest was closed and posts were reviewed by the judges. There were so many good ones to choose from! In fact, we even picked an honorable mention in addition to our first, second and third places. Our #1 (that's number one not hashtag one) social media-ist was Jess Spar, who took home a brand new Canon camera.
@Azim1200, @twostepprocess and @kingsofNY also took home prizes including two tickets to brunch on World Yacht and two tickets to the Thirsty Thursday Dj Cruise on Circle Line.
People were still dancing (very enthusiastically to Isley Brothers' "Shout!") long after the boat was docked. It was an amazing night that led to alot of new friends. Not to mention -- wait no let's mention it -- 46 new Instagram posts, several new Instagram videos, and a tweeting 171 tweets!
Until next time,
This week for #bloggeronboard, I went to see the most popular girl in Manhattan, Lady Liberty. Our Liberty Cruise is the shortest-length cruise that Circle Line 42 offers, at approximately 1 hour long. It offers less commentary than our other cruises, because it really hones in on one specific site, the Statue of Liberty!
Despite some overcast skies, outside seating on the vessel was packed. I was surprised. Sometimes on a sunny day, the covered inside seating can be full sparing chairs outside. On a murky day, I found many covered inside seats empty and the outside full. I guess you can never really predict where people will want to sit. But you can predict what kind of hats they'll wear!
We began our journey sailing past the U.S.S. Intrepid and then making a big ole' U-turn in the middle of the Hudson River, which was almost Beast-like in nature (but much slower and more carefully).
Speaking of the Beast, our green machine sped right past us and delighted our guests as we got started.
I chatted a bit with Marybeth and her son Jack from Redding, CT. As it turned out, it was Jack's idea to come on board, but interestingly Marybeth had been on Circle Line's Liberty Cruise before. "We were on the Highline and he turned to me and said he wanted to take [the Circle Line 42 Cruise]. I haven't been on this since I was in elementary school myself," said Marybeth.
I also met Shanna, Kylie, Janae and Lativia on the bow of the boat -- where many people like to take their best pictures. The girls were from Brooklyn and know Manhattan well. "We really wanted a fun summer activity and we'd never been on this tour before," said Shanna. "I thought this was a great way to learn the history."
Learning history and Circle Line 42 Sightseeing Cruises are synonymous. So what has changed with history? First Mate Tom Fitzgerald has been with Circle Line for 39 years. "The biggest difference from 1974 to now, is the way people dress. Today they dress much more casually, laid back," said Fitzgerald. "People used to come on board in suits on Sundays. They'd go to church and then come here."
It's true that our cruises are casual and laid back. But you can always feel free to dress up if you'd like!
Last but certainly not least on my journey; I met Circle Line's teeniest traveler of the day, Sadie. Sadie was there with her mom Jeanne. Jeanne and Sadie are Brookynites that were showing off Manhattan to some Ohio friends in town. This is one of the best reasons to take a Circle Line Cruise around New York City --to show off to your friends!
Until next week,
This week for #BloggeronBoard, I went halfway around Manhattan on our Semi-Circle Cruise. The cruise is approximately an hour and a half, and is ideal if you have seen the city before or are in a time crunch and cannot take the Full Island Cruise.
Once again, I lucked out with gorgeous (sunny and breezy) weather. Which always means full boats. This trip I sailed on our "Queens" vessel, which not only has a bar on the bottom but also on top. Our patrons are always welcome to beer, wine, soda, coffee or other drinks at the bar. And don't forget the concession stand downstairs stocked with plenty of snacks and goodies.
So then we were on our way! I met a ton of awesome little ones on the boat. First, was Jonathan from Tampa. Jonathan was here in New York with his mom, all dressed up in a suit and ready to go see a Broadway show that night. Very dapper. Next, were a group of teeny tots in from Westchester with their moms. I love when our locals check the city out from a new vantage point -- or show Manhattan to their children for the first time.
We also had an usually high amount of Italians on board this week. Bellisimo! As it turns out, Italy has a little "break" of sorts right now, and we are happy they chose to spend it with us. Like Anna and Vincenzo from Milan sporting the Statue of Liberty hat and our big happy group on top deck.
I met some lovely Calfornia natives on the stern of the boat, (a place that's excellent for taking pictures of what's happened behind you and also good for our smokers). Lance, Natalie and Emily from San Dimas, CA were really stoked to be on board. "New York is very different, it's a different world here," said Lance. "But it's a good different."
I chatted a bit with them about their stay and then was able to capture an amazing shot, getting in our American Flag and the beauty of the river.
It's pretty obvious that you can get exquisite shots from our vessels. It does get a little tough with everyone snapping at once; I suggest finding and nestling your way into a spot that works for you. Typically crowds form in the bow of the boat and on the top deck. Since the Semi-Circle Cruise goes around the tip of Manhattan and back; you will have more than one chance at pictures as the boat comes back down the Hudson and into Pier 83. So not to worry if you cannot capture things on first passing!
And don't forget: Even if you have seen the sights before, there is always opportunity to see something in a new light and gain new perspective. I have seen Lady Liberty a hundred times, but this shot was priceless. And my favorite one of the day.
Until next week,
Welcome back to #BloggeronBoard, our 8-week adventure series inspired in part by NYC & Company's campaign using America's striped and hidden wonder, Waldo.
If you did not grow up with Where's Waldo, he is the Americanized version of Where's Wally (an adventure picture book character hidden in complex illustrations). We at Circle Line 42 salute Waldo's adventurist ways and decided to take our readers on weekly adventures through our blog.
This week: I braved The Beast.
The Beast is a 30-minute thrill ride around the Hudson River up to 45mph and offering a thrill a minute. It's scary, it's exhilarating, it's wet, wild and windy and it's a liberating blast.
Though I would love to be able to blog in real time for all of my excursions, blogging on the Beast is virtually impossible. It would be like to trying to write on a roller coaster.
However, in an effort to never be your "beast of burden" we have come up with 5 top tips to unburden your Beast ride.
1. Get there early - Leave yourself a fair amount of time. The Beast leaves every hour on the hour (until 6pm) for approximately 30 minutes. Lines for the Beast appear as quickly as a speedboat. One minute, you may not see anyone and think you are safe. The next minute, we might have full busloads of eager children wrapping and zig-zagging their way into the line. The Beast holds up to 132 people, but once those seats are full, they are full. But don't worry, there is always another chance to get on board in less than an hour if you do miss it.
2. Choose seating wisely - The Beast speedboat makes a splash during many unexpected twists and turns. Some people opt to get as soaked as possible; others would prefer to stay as dry as they can. There is a strategy!! Sitting closer to the outer back will likely make you look like you just got out of the shower. Captain Mad Dog Duffy calls the back "the swimming pool." The front tends to be a more of a "spritzing" or at least that's what our European friends like to call it. The aisle seats should keep you safer on those turns but if you are looking to walk away bone dry, I would suggest you bring a blow dryer (for after).
3. DO NOT WEAR LIP GLOSS! - While this may sound a tad feminine, I have to strongly advise against lip gloss, lip stick, lip balm, ChapStick, or any other lip enhancement/moisturizer/tint/color/primer/plumper or other if you have longer hair. Why? I found out the hard way. The Beast goes so fast through the Hudson that the wind is smack in your face. Which feels AMAZING. However, strong winds plus long hair plus sticky lips equal disaster. I wanted to close my eyes and simply enjoy the breezes (these are not light breezes) but my hair was literally stuck to my face. If your hair is secured tightly, this may not present a problem, but if you have ever ridden in a convertible with the top down, you know how hard it is to secure anything!
Check out a video here.
4. Take care of your electronics - It is extraordinarily tempting to take photos and videos while on the Beast. You are free to do so, but at your own risk. Again, the winds are high and the waters are splashy. Even six seconds of Vine video footage made me nervous that my phone would wind up in the Hudson. Electronics left in bags could also be dangerous even if the bags are on the floor or in your lap. Shield them as best as you can throughout your journey, plastic bags would be the safest bet. I also suggest taking your pictures at the beginning, at the end, and at the Statue of Liberty where the boat slows down and enables some quality picture taking time. (Our staff will offer to take your picture at Lady Liberty as well).
5. Put your hands up - Most of all, have fun. The Beast is a great way to forget life for 30 minutes and simply enjoy. Whether it is for the music or not, placing your hands in the air makes it such a freeing experience, like you are a bird on the Hudson River. Of course, our staff may make you want to stay on guard and on your toes. They have a few tricks up their sleeves to entertain the guests (hint: super soaker is one). Captain Gary, Maverick and the gang may just get you either way, so I say, throw your hands up and ride the Beast.
Book your tickets here!
Until next time,
This week marked the start of our 8-week adventure blog series #Bloggeronboard, or if you're not familiar with hashtags, Blogger on Board.
Every week I will be virtually taking you on a different Circle Line 42 cruise, as well as getting a little time to chat with those on board, and obviously checking out the views.
This week I jumped on board our Full Island Cruise, a tour just shy of three hours (yes, like Gilligan's). I chose the Full Island Cruise because it's our most popular product, offering over 101 sights along the way.
I struck gold by choosing Tuesday, which was possibly the most beautiful day in New York City that I have seen all summer. Not too hot, no humidity (a New York anomaly) and even a perfect slight breeze. With weather like this I expected our boats to be packed, and I was right. I boarded nice and early knowing a lot of people would want to sit outside up top. They did.
Tip: Since our cruises are first come/first served, be sure to arrive early to get your boarding passes and get on the boat quickly for the best seats.
Surprisingly, many people also chose downstairs or inside. I suppose it's preferential. I noticed many people with small children choosing downstairs, enabling the ability to roam around a bit. Downstairs is also where the concession stand is so if you want easy access to beer, wine, soda, chips, hot dogs and other goodies -- downstairs is the place to be. Plus, it's climate-controlled; so it is toasty when it's chilly outside, airy when it's warm and it's protected from the rain!
Personally, I liked experiencing the cruise from both floors.
The cruise offered a mixed bag of guests, ranging from a high amount of New Yorkers (Brooklynites showing off Manhattan to their friends and family, former Queens residents who showed New York to their child for the first time, Manhattanites choosing to see their beloved city from a new angle) to some sunny Californians and then across the Atlantic to Germany and Austria residents. What a place to people-watch!
Note: There is truly nothing like seeing a child's face light up as they are seeing New York City for the first time, or even the tenth time!
Speaking of glowing children, as we set sail, I met a very special guest and her very special dog Sparkle (no, he wasn't a real live pup, though a live puppy cruise would be so much fun). Jordan, a resident of San Diego, was enjoying "the whole thing" and it showed.
Our tour guide Malachy Murray, who embodies a New York personality in so many ways, leant some really interesting history as we got underway.
Even having grown up here, I was learning a fact a minute from the tour that I had never heard before. Facts about the very first cell phone tower, skyscrapers purchased in cash, and the (failed) idea of zeppelins being anchored on top of the Empire State Building! As Malachy said to the boat, "You'll know more about New York City than our natives."
Malachy "left us" to our own devices after a bit so we could take pictures and wander the ship. Like our shorter cruises, our Full Island Cruise allows you to get amazing shots of The Statue of Liberty. We always come so close to the iconic statue, it is truly breathtaking every single time.
Usually, the statue is everyone's favorite part (like Jasmine from Switzerland). However, Marvin and Elisa (here for four weeks from Austria) loved the Financial District. And I love Marvin and Elisa's jobs for giving them four weeks of vacation time!
Check out our Vine page or #boggeronboard to see a clip of the Freedom Tower up close. Which reminds me...If you want a chance to get to the top, this may just be it. Port Authority is holding a contest for the best Freedom Tower photo. The shots you can get from our boat are simply exquisite, so if you want to win, hop on a Circle Line.
As we cruised around the island, I also met a group from Germany who offered some interesting points. Norbert said, "It's hard to say the best part of the cruise, but you definitely get different views than other parts of the city. I grew up in Berlin and it's kind of the same thing. There are buses but the only way to see Berlin is from the channels."
Norbert hit the nail right on the head. In fact, Berlin or no Berlin, most people agree that being able to actually go around the island is an amazing advantage. Hailey from Connecticut and Layne from California (below) who are friends from school in Colorado said the exact same thing, "The whole [idea] of being able to go all the way around the island is really cool."
Next we headed all the way out past Yankee Stadium. This was the secret "Where am I" pic of the day that Andrew Pemberton, Brandon McNamara, Phil Hall, Corrie Franse, Michelle Acquaviva Rookwood and Heidi Green ALL got correct on our Facebook page. Nice job guys!
Tour guide Malachy gave us the low down on the boroughs as well as East River sights, which are much less common knowledge than their western counterparts.
Somewhere around the Henry Hudson Bridge, we spotted some adventurous children cliff-jumping for fun across the way (not off the bridge). Our guests waved to the boys who then whistled and dove and showed off their juvenile summer courage and spirit. (I do not advise anyone to cliff-jump, however, especially children).
Our cruise drifted lazily by the New Jersey Palisades and Malachy just allowed us the time to be lazy, which was great. The whole boat simply sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the peace and greenery.
Before coming back into our home dock, I met two awesome girls, Vivian and Allison, who stopped to pose for a pic. Vivian was "pretty sure" this is the first time she has seen Manhattan like this (though their family boasted some NY natives). Vivian also said she was definitely not bored. And neither was I.
Until next week's adventure,
Blogger on Board