Last spring we had the opportunity to visit New York for a few days and fit in a lot of sight seeing in a short amount of time. On our last evening in NYC we wanted to do something special together and decided to book a Harbor Lights Sunset Cruise through Circle Line Sightseeing Tours. We arrived at the pier with enough time to grab a bite to eat before boarding the boat. Since it was only April, we knew to dress warmly. Some passengers even brought blankets along! It was chilly, no doubt!
Inside the boat there was plenty of room but the best view was in the open on deck. This tour takes you around Manhattan as the guide directs your attention to points of interest and gives everyone a bit of a NYC history lesson. It's a big boat, so if you're outside you'll be listening to the narration through a speaker. If you're indoors you'll be able to ask the guide a few questions between destinations. Standing to take a photograph is allowed, but you're asked to sit down quickly afterward and not to stand or linger in the isles. Taking photos from the less crowded covered portion of the boat isn't really an option because the windows are quite cloudy.
The view approaching the Brooklyn and Manhattan Street Bridges was my favourite. As the sun began to set, the buildings came alive with a million tiny twinkling lights. The city that never sleeps.
A thick fog rolled in as we made our way to our final destination, the Statue of Liberty. As darkness fell and we approached Liberty island, she appeared to be floating on the fog itself. Glowing an eerie green, looming so high above. I've seen a few monuments that disappointed in person, but this was not one of them. I was anticipating taking the perfect photo, and here it was, the ideal moment, such unusual weather, and the perfect view! When performance time came, I flopped! I just couldn't get my camera to co-operate. Not used to taking photos in foggy conditions, I just couldn't get the light meter to adjust correctly. It was probably the most frustrating photography moment I've ever experienced. More than anything I wanted to capture what I was seeing in person ; the illuminated emerald goddess floating on a pedestal of clouds. Instead I was getting images that looked more like a green, grany blob. Eventually, I realized that if I didn't give it up I'd miss the moment entirely. I whipped out my iPhone, snapped the picture below, and stared wide eyed as we drifted away, back toward the dock.
This tour promotes itself as being Instagramable but my suggestion would be that unless you're a very confidant photographer and have the right equipment for low light situations, don't bother stressing yourself about taking the perfect photo. I wouldn't consider this particular cruise to be very photo friendly anyhow. It's more of a basic history lesson and casual tour that's good for families and larger tourist groups. Everyone enjoyed it in our group. It wasn't a WOW experience except for the great view of the statue at the end, but I do think we got what we paid for. The boat was clean enough and not too crowded (although I'm sure spring tours are less popular). We booked ahead online in order to get a ticket for the evening cruise.
Here's the tour we chose for our last look at NYC : Circle Line Sightseeing Harbor Lights Sunset Cruise NYC