New York's Long Island stretches 110 miles from the metro boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens to the eastern resort communities at the Hamptons and Montauk. Though the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled against granting it legal definition as an island in 1985, proclaiming it a peninsula instead, the Atlantic Ocean laps it on the east and south sides, with the Long Island Sound on its north and the relatively shallow East River separating it from the mainland to the west.
All of that water provides plenty of boating opportunities, and a number of commercial sightseeing and dinner cruises take advantage of the calm waters; pleasant breezes; and lovely landscape of Long Island, the Manhattan skyline, and the sights of New York Harbor for scenic photo ops or a memorable backdrop to a meal.
The Majestic Princess sets sail for New York Harbor from the Port Washington Town Dock at 347 Main Street in Port Washington nightly from April through October. The four-hour cruise begins at 7 p.m. and glides past Long Island's Gold Coast and Millionaires' Row in Kings Point and Sands Point, the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, the headquarters of the United Nations, South Street Seaport, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the Freedom Tower.
Dinner includes an assortment of hors d'oeuvres, followed by a buffet with entrees ranging from prime rib of beef to breast of chicken to Atlantic salmon fillets plus a vegetarian pasta dish, seasonal sides, and a selection of desserts.
You can enjoy a drink from the open bar during the first three hours of the cruise. A live DJ provides the entertainment.
Children ages 3 and up may accompany their parents, although the cruise line does not offer a children's rate and baby strollers, carriages, and car seats are not permitted on board for safety reasons.
Boat crew members can accommodate passengers using collapsible wheelchairs or those less than 30 inches wide.
A cruise on the 450-passenger, three tier Skyline Princess yacht may tour New York Harbor or the Long Island Sound, depending on the itinerary you choose. The New York City skyline tour takes in the Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. On a Long Island Sound tour, you enjoy views of Fort Schuyler and Fort Totten, Sands Point, the Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy, Hart Island, the Throgs Neck and Whitestone Bridges, North Shore mansions, and more.
Standard cruises depart from the World's Fair Marina in Flushing Queens, with options for brunch, lunch, dinner, or shorter sightseeing cruises without a meal. You can also book special holiday cruises or charter a yacht for a private excursion.
Flynn's Fire Island Dinner Cruises on the Moon Chaser depart from Captree State Park in Bayshore at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings in July and August. You must make a reservation for the 40-minute ride to Flynn's at Ocean Bay Park on Fire Island, where you dine at an all-you-can-eat surf-and-turf buffet and listen to live music before the 10:30 p.m. return boat ride.
You can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail from the well-stocked cash bar on the boat.
The Lauren Kristy, a turn of the century-style riverboat, sails from the Bay Shore Marina on the Great South Bay, along the shores of Fire Island. The midday cruise includes a lunchtime buffet; the evening cruise includes a buffet dinner, DJ, and cash bar. Reservations are required.