Cruise and Dine With Spirit

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The Hudson & East Rivers

The Night Sizzles Aboard the
Spirit of New York Dinner Cruise

The Spirit of New York awaits us for a grand adventure.

The 7:30 p.m. sailing of the Spirit of New York cruise ship left Chelsea Pier 61 in Manhattan to provide its passengers with dinner, entertainment, and breathtaking city skyline views for three hours on both the Hudson River and East River. As one of the organizers of our event, I was aboard this dinner cruise with my friends and fellow MBA classmates from the part-time Langone Program at the NYU Stern School of Business.

Brooklyn Bridge, Battery Park City, South Street Seaport, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge were on our cruise itinerary.

Spirit Cruises offers lunch, dinner, and specialty cruises like the Jazz Cruise, Gospel Cruise, and the Moonlight Latin Cruise. All cruises are open to the general public and are available for group events. For private charter events, the ship can accommodate 600+ passengers. Celebrations while I was onboard included a prom, anniversary, and several birthdays. On this warm spring evening, the dinner cruise was sold out with almost 400 passengers.

The Spirit of New York embarked on its journey while playing classic tunes like "New York, New York" and "Mack the Knife." The dinner cruise included a three-hour cruise with exquisite views, large buffet dinner, live musical performances, and a dance club with a deejay. We sailed up and down the rivers for a truly unparalleled New York City experience.

Spirit Cruises is party
central for special events.

Shortly after 6:30 p.m., we boarded on the lower deck, which contained the dance club, deejay, and bar. The middle deck offered an elegant dining area with Broadway-style shows and dramatic skyline views through the windows. A dramatic spiral staircase from the center of the middle deck led us up to the upper deck, which offered another sophisticated dining floor for upscale group events. A separate top observation deck provided a perfect place for stargazing and every deck offered easy outside access for incredible views.

What makes this cruise so unique? "This is the largest ship we have," said the Cruise Supervisor, Octavio Martinez. "Unlike the others, this ship has three decks and a separate deck for a dance club and bar."

We cruised on the harbor past the skyscrapers of Manhattan, including the Empire State Building. Our journey brought us breathtaking views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Battery Park City, South Street Seaport, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

Our party dined on the more intimate upper dining deck. The buffet dinner was available about thirty minutes after the ship left the dock. Large silver buffet platters were set up both on the main and upper dining decks. Our guests praised the delicious dinner, citing that they were pleasantly surprised.

Honey-glazed ham and roast beef au jus is carved to your liking.

Dinner choices included Mediterranean mixed vegetable medley, Lasagna alla Bolognese, Lemon Chicken Scaloppini, Steamed Mussels, Roasted Vegetable Lasagna, Honey-Glazed Ham, Roast Beef au jus, and wild fluffy rice and red baby potatoes. Our attentive waiter served us salad, drinks, and delicious desserts — Cheesecake and Chocolate Mousse.

Whether you want to grab a cocktail and head to the dance floor, enjoy a show, or soak in the city lights, the ship is wide open for you to explore. After dining and checking out the phenomenal skyline views, we headed for the dance club. Downstairs, the lively crowd was already dancing to the pulsating music and lights. The rhythmic beat moved me so I led my girlfriends straight to the dance floor, and we all got down to Nelly's summer party anthem, "Hot in Here."

Besides all the good times, for me, the highlight of the cruise was an up-close view of the Statue of Liberty. Out on the deck, an announcement was made that we would be approaching soon and getting as close as legally possible. A woman entertainer began to sing a stirring live rendition of "God Bless America," and as if on cue, the passengers left the dining rooms for the outer decks to marvel at her glory.

The windblown author
enjoys the NYC skyline.

On the upper observation deck, the winds died down and we enjoyed the warm, calm night. As we gazed at Lady Liberty I reflected on the strength of the city and the nation in the face of 9-11. It was truly a humbling moment. I thought of how much I loved this city and the fierce spirit of my fellow New Yorkers. It was a beautiful, unique event and a night to remember aboard the aptly named Spirit of New York.

COST: Schedule and prices vary by the day of the week and season. The dinner cruise is $80 per person and the lunch cruise $43 per person. The dinner cruise includes a salad, buffet dinner, dessert, coffee, tea, and water. Other beverages and gratuities are not included.

HOW: To make reservations or to get more information on Spirit Cruises and its departure cities, visit

The Spirit of New York cruises depart from Pier 61 at the Chelsea Piers Sports Complex, located at 23rd Street and 12th Avenue. Reservations are required, typically at least a couple weeks in advance for the more popular spring and summer months. For directions and parking information, visit:

By Ivy Liu, New York City Dining and Entertainment Features Editor.

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