A very popular option for many of our clients following their wedding in Central Park is an evening river cruise with their party. It’s a great way to combine drinks, food, music and celebrating with some sightseeing. A cruise around the end of Manhattan at sunset is a wonderful way to see the city.
I was lucky enough to be gifted a sunset cruise from Bateaux New York River Cruises with a friend in May. The moment we walked on to the vessel we were warmly welcomed by our wonderful host. The tables are within the glass-enclosed deck, so a party can enjoy the beautiful views whatever the weather. We were seated beside the window; there are tables alongside the window as well as inside the deck, and it’s possible to reserve a table beside the window for uninterrupted views. The ships are very flexible when it comes to seating. Tables for two, four and larger groups can be arranged to suit almost every party and occasion.
Bateaux New York have several vessels, they have a 360 degree tour on their website to give you a good idea of the space you and your party can expect to be in. Some of them have better accessibility than others, so contact them if you have any members of your party who may require assistance when on board. There will of course be other guests aboard the yacht, so you would be sharing the space for your wedding reception, but smart attire is encouraged for these cruises, so the other guests won’t be bring down your aesthetic!
Our waiter was friendly, helpful and attentive. The courses were an amuse-bouche, appetiser, main and dessert. We selected the courses all in one go from a menu and they came with long pauses in between. They do this so that guests can eat a course and then go outside to enjoy the views as they pause in the middle of their meal. They permit smoking on these outdoor decks. If you have any dietary restrictions in your party, be sure to inform them when you make your booking.
As we made our meal selections a professional photographer made her rounds of the tables. When our couples get married in Central Park, sometimes they go to a location in Midtown on the way to Chelsea Piers to take photos along the way. Then their photographer might come with them to capture some photos as they board the vessel. Keep in mind that there will also be a photographer on board to capture your party once you have set sail.
First, the yacht travels down the Hudson and around the tip of Manhattan, quite close to the Statue of Liberty as the sun begins to set, and then up the East River. We sailed up to the Brooklyn Bridge and were able to take lots of photos there as the sun began to set. Then we went back down the East River and over to Liberty Island just as the sun set right behind the Statue of Liberty, so she looked naturally lit up. Then we ate our main course as it went dark all around us and the lights of Manhattan lit up. Check out some of their example menus.
I quite often get motion sickness. It was terrible as a child and not much better as an adult! I was a bit unsure about drinking quite a lot of champagne and eating a meal on a boat on a river, but it was fine! Bateaux New York operates only inside New York Harbor, on the Hudson River and the East River, which are both very calm bodies of water. What’s more, the ship is very stable, so I could hardly tell that we were moving.
We were entertained during our trip by a quartet and singer – belting out all the classics you’d expect while enjoying the views of New York City from the river. Towards the end of the evening, some guests got up and danced, so I’d expect them to be happy to accommodate any requests when it comes to a newlywed couple’s first dance.
Myself and my friend are both moms to small kids and we enjoyed our rare night off! We each have two kids under six so they would not have been allowed on the dinner cruise. If you have young kids in your party, consider a Spirit cruise or a lunchtime cruise. Children under 3 are complimentary on the lunch and brunch cruises, and a discount is offered for children between the ages of 3 and 12.
When booking a cruise for a party, you can choose to include alcoholic drinks or to have a cash bar, water and tea and coffee are included in the price of the meal. We were lucky enough to have drinks included in our cruise, so we enjoyed champagne all night. Or glasses were topped up frequently by our lovely waiter. Before we ate our dessert we were invited up to the top deck to meet the Captain’s first officer and enjoy the views from a higher vantage point, with another glass of champagne! I expect this treatment would also be offered to newlywed couples!
Bateaux New York river cruise prices vary depending on day of the week and time of day. Prices are higher on weekends, so if you’re visiting New York from another country as many of my clients are, then it’s worth considering marrying on a weekday to make big savings. The evening cruises are most popular with my couples, and they board from 6:15pm and cruise from 7pm until 10pm.
Call 866-817-3463 or use their online booking system to book your cruise, either on the evening of your wedding, or as a nice activity to share with your party in advance of the wedding day. Please note that the photos in this post are far from professional standard. They are taken by myself or my friend with a camera phone, after a long day in the sunshine attending a client’s beautiful wedding in Central Park, and also after drinking an increasing quantity of champagne as the sky gets darker!
If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, no matter what you decide to do to celebrate in the evening, visit our website, or follow us on Pinterest, “like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram for lots photos of newlywed couples in New York.