September 2

Is a New York City Dinner Cruise Worth It?

Are New York’s famous dinner cruises really worth the price?

A dinner cruise in New York City is a great way to unwind after a day of sightseeing in the city. However, the jewel of your NYC trip may also end up being one of your biggest splurges in the city.

Prices start at raround US$150 a head and up, making it likely one of your pricier meals during your stay in NYC. There is, however, a reason why generations of dazzled visitors from across the world have turned the dinner cruise into a rite of passage. 

new york dinner cruise start

The dinner is a moment distinct to New York – the city lights reflecting on the water, the fine food, delicate ambiance and sense of place to it all. A cruise in New York City with dinner, drinks and good company will be something to remember for years. 

dinner cruise nyc

Can You See the Statue of Liberty During a New York Dinner Cruise?

Any dinner cruise in New York will have a mandatory drift past the Statue of Liberty. It’s worth confirming this detail at the time of booking, but you’d be nonetheless hard-pressed to find a cruise that doesn’t offer views of the statue. The real issue is getting a good view.

As a general rule of thumb, most New York dinner boat cruises pass the statue on the starboard side (the right side).

If your cruise has more than one level, go for the highest deck possible – again, on the right.

There are several cruise companies that offer dinner cruises in NYC, but we highly recommend Event Cruises NYC ( The booking process is very easy with their app, the service was exceptional, and the cruise was a lot of fun! 

What to Wear on a Dinner Cruise in New York?

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to get fancy in New York, this is it. In fact, NY city dinner cruises have garnered a reputation for being sticklers for fine attire, with some operators enforcing strict dress codes.

For example, the well-established Bateaux Dinner Cruise may not allow jeans, sneakers or t-shirts aboard. While you won’t be expected to turn up in a tuxedo, men should wear a tie and jacket with slacks and professional or formal footwear.

dinner cruise nyc

Women have a little more choice, with most ladies arriving in either cocktail dresses, smart pantsuits or similar semi-formal outfit.

Other cruises are somewhat less demanding, meaning there is a little flexibility on just how formal you want to go. And as we were traveling with our son, this was the option we went for.

We chose to do our dinner cruise with Event  Cruises, which advises its visitors to aim for business casual, which is more or less what you should expect from most venues. Aim for smart but comfortable, and wherever you go, you’ll fit right in with the crowd.

sunset nyc dinner

No matter how dressy you want to go, take note that you will want to bring something warm for later in the evening. Even if its warm in the city, the river can still get breezy at night.

Dinner on a boat NYC style shouldn’t be ruined by chilly weather.

What Food do You Eat During a NYC Dinner Cruise

It of course depends on when you go as the menu changes, but there is one thing I can guarantee: the food will be good.

dinner cruise nyc food

When we went, our three course menus offered a few options for each, but Liza and I went for the grilled salmon as main course and Teo opted for macaroni with duck meat. 

macaroni nyc dinner cruise

For dessert we had chocolate mousse and cheesecake with blueberries, all of it delicious. 

How Long is a Hudson River Cruise?

While NY city dinner cruises usually last for between two to three hours, full and multi-day cruises can also be arranged. USA River Cruises offers an eight day luxury cruise to Albany.

Leaving directly from the hustle and bustle of NYC, the cruise spends the first day spoiling visitors with views of the city, while the rest of the week offers visits to historic towns along the river.

dinner cruise fun

If you’d rather something lighter than a multi-day voyage, short day trips are also possible – and they’re more than just dinner cruises. Along with providing a massive nine day river tour, Classic Harbor Line has a brunch cruise on an intimate early 20th Century yacht. Other cruise lines offer afternoon and lunch options.

Bear in mind all of these meal-oriented cruises are usually at least semi-formal events. For something more casual, dedicated sightseeing tours are also frequent and fabulous. Event Cruises (and most other companies) have good value river tours.

nyc dinner cruise

Circle’s tours are between one to three hours; their most popular being the 2.5 hour circle tour, which rings Manhattan and includes a photo stop at the Statue of Liberty. Meanwhile, Skyline Cruises has a longer four hour tour that covers famous sites like the Brooklyn Bridge, while also providing an on-board three course buffet.

night nyc dinner cruise

Yet Event Cruises has cruises that most other companies do not offer. They have specific whale watching cruises (new in 2022...who would have said that you could go whale watching in New York?), fall foliage cruises, wine and cheese if you want your cruise to be more than just any NYC cruise these are the ones to join. Plus kids are welcome in all of them!

So, Is a NYC Dinner Cruise Worth It?

In my opinion, if it's within your budget, it's a definite go. Besides getting the fantastic NYC skyline river cruises are famous for, you'll also enjoy a great dinner with very good food and a bit of a party at the end.

In fact, the DJ said that the party we created during our cruise was something he had never seen before! And if you have any doubts of how the cruise ended, check this out as our wrap up 🙂


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