There are about a million things that make New York City iconic, but we’re willing to bet that its breathtaking skyline ranks pretty darn high. While it’s one thing to see the towering skyscrapers from within the concrete jungle, it’s a whole different feeling when you see them from the water that surrounds them.
“The physical experience of being on a boat off the island of Manhattan and looking back on the city, you have this sense of having left, but seeing it with new eyes,” Sam Kimball, chief marketing office of Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, told Metro.
Starting this week, New Yorkers and tourists alike can see the five boroughs not only with new eyes but also amid what Kimball calls “that new boat smell” as the cruise company unveils the Bronx Class, the newest additions to its fleet.
On Tuesday, June 13, Circle Line will host a special naming ceremony, christening and inaugural cruise to the Statue of Liberty for two of its three new ships, the Bronx and Staten Island. The third ship, called Liberty, is forthcoming.
These are the company’s first new ships since 2008, when the Borough Class Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens vessels were added. Prior to those three, Circle Line used the same six ships — converted Navy troop carrier boats from World War II — since its founding in 1945, Kimball said.
Earlier this year, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises reacquired Circle Line Downtown, which is based in South Street Seaport and was sold in 1981, and New York Water Taxi, bringing its total fleet to 25.
Like the 2008 vessels, the Staten Island, Bronx and Liberty hold 600 passengers and were built by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding in Somerset, Massachusetts. Each has three levels, including a top VIP deck, state-of-the-art food and beverage service stations and are “fast and quiet,” Kimball said.
They will be put into rotation for Circle Line’s many tours, which include trips to the Statue of Liberty, landmarks and Brooklyn, Harbor Lights, Thursday happy hours and its most popular, the Best of NYC Cruise, a two-and-a-half hour jaunt around the entire island of Manhattan.
“I was born and raised in New York, and I don’t think you can really beat that feeling you have when you approach and get right up next to the Statue of Liberty at sunset,” Kimball said. “And you look back at the city and the skyline and Financial District, and you can’t help but say that we’re lucky to live in the greatest city on Earth. To me, that’s the magic.”