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by Vanessa Friedman

Related: Disney Cruise from NYC, Carnival Cruise from NYC, NY Harbor Excursions, Family Boat Rides in NYC,

Have a craving for the open water this summer? Disney and Carnival Cruises and The Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge are offering cruises right from the heart of NYC. All three options are sure to quell your boat cravings. 

Sometimes the summer weather makes you just want to hop on a boat and set sail, leaving all your frustrations and the inevitable heat wave firmly on land behind you. Two major cruise lines, Carnival and Disney, have upcoming voyages leaving directly from Manhattan; and for those with less time to spare, we found a two-hour voyage that will quell your boat cravings and get you home by dinnertime (for ultimate relaxation perks, have someone else prepare dinner, whether it’s the pizza place down the street or your partner). Whichever option you choose, stepping foot on a boat will no doubt work wonders on your soul (and oh yeah, you should take your kids too—they’ll have a blast!).


Disney Cruises Now Offered From NYCCruise with Disney.

At the end of May (the 25th, to be exact) Disney started sailing cruises right out of Manhattan. The Disney Magic is slated to sail a total of 20 cruises from New York, including eight-night cruises to the Bahamas and five-night cruises up the New England Coast to Canada. In addition, Disney will host two-night cruises that give a sampling of the Disney Cruise Line experience over a weekend. The only way to describe all the options available on the ship is “unbelievable,” because it really is beyond belief that so much can fit on one vessel: Youth programming includes an Oceaneer Club and an Oceaneer Lab, along with a Small World Nursery where babysitting is available a la carte. Several dining rooms feature different themes (Animator’s Palate, Royal Court, and Enchanted Garden, to name a few) and the upper decks host outdoor activities that families can enjoy together. There is also ample adult-only space including the Europa section of the ship (filled with different Euro-themed bars), adult-exclusive specialty restaurants, and a spa (teens have their own “chill” spa!) Call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or visit disneycruise.com for more information.


Vacation with Carnival.

In April of this year, Carnival Miracle kicked off its year-round schedule of eight-day Caribbean voyages leaving from the Big Apple. Three distinctly different eight-day itineraries are offered, and each one offers beautiful beaches, excellent shopping and dining experiences, world-famous landmarks, historical sites and attractions, and many sightseeing and shore excursion opportunities. Carnival, with 23 ships operating three- to 18-day voyages all around the world, continues to grow; in addition to the new year-round NYC departures, it has added new dining and entertainment choices, such as The Taste Bar complimentary appetizer program and The Punchliner Comedy Brunch presented by George Lopez. Call 800-CARNIVAL (227-6482) or visit carnival.com for additional information.


Short On Time?

The Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge offers a solution for families who want to get out on the sea but don’t have the luxury of time for a full-on vacation. With “Tug & Barge” NY Harbor Excursions, 24 passengers are afforded a unique vantage point of Manhattan during a two-hour one-way excursion. Travel through the New York Harbor to support preservation of two century-old vessels, the tugboat Pegasus and the steamboat Lilac, and gaze at the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan’s skyline, and your sure-to-be-fascinated children as the world fades into the background. Red Hook to Tribeca: June 28, 12pm. Tribeca to Red Hook: July 2, 4pm. $200 per person. Reservation required; call 718-624-4719 x11.


Free Ferries

What to do if you don't have time for a whole boating vacation? Take a free ferry and make the most of your short boat ride, of course. Here are three free ferry options to and from Manhattan, landing in Brooklyn, Govenors Island, and Staten Island.

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