Hornblower Dining Cruises on Hudson

BY Nadia Ghattas TIMEOctober 4, 2013 PRINT

NEW YORK—They stood majestically against the glittering sky. A soft breeze blew, gently rocking the ships. Although a bit humid, the night was beautiful and serene.

For those who love being on the water and to dance as the sun sets, these vessels offer a special and memorable experience. They’re a great venue for large business meetings and celebrations, too. Weddings, birthdays, and corporate events alike can be accommodated, with enough space for up to 700 seated guests for dinner. 

I went on a dinner cruise on the Hornblower Hybrid with a good friend who used to own her own yacht in Europe. You can’t imagine how thrilled she was upon the mention of dining on the water. 

We got there early and were taken on a tour of the Hornblower Infinity, a one-of-a-kind vessel that is supposed to be the largest of its kind in New York Harbor. Both of the vessels are powered by solar panels and wind turbines—the greenest vessels to sail in New York Harbor. 

The company is committed to adopting green practices in an industry that is not traditionally environmentally friendly. 

Dining Aboard the Hybrid

I love ships and life aboard ships. 

Finally, one can enjoy being on a classy ship here right in the middle of New York City. The dining tables are covered with white linen and silverware. The service is impeccable and friendly. Staff is always on hand to make sure your journey around Manhattan is enjoyable. 

The interior lights with different colors—dimmed and soft— create a nice vibe and feel even though it made the sight of the food different. 

The sustainability missions extends even to the food, supporting local purveyors, and serving in-season, locally grown produce for salads, soups, and sandwiches. 

Not to say that it is a five-star restaurant, but there is an executive chef in-house who cooks the food on-board.

We shared the starters, the Crab Cake grilled pineapple and Black Bean Salsa and the Mixed Baby greens with almonds and Goat Cheese. The crab cake was good for boat food—mostly crabmeat. By the time we looked up, we were already underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Do not worry, said our waitress, we still have a long way to go.

The Petite Filet Mignon with roasted Shallot and Merlot Demi-glace with potato gratin and seasonal vegetables was my friend’s choice while I had the Grilled Salmon Fillet with Ginger and Chive Beurre Blanc Sauce with wild rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables—again, not the best I’ve had, but quite good for food offered aboard a boat.

The general manager, Cameron Clark, had told just before we boarded: “Although it is not Michelin-rated food, we are proud of the food expectations for food on a boat.”

Half-way through the meal and without realizing, we were now close to Governors Island. It was then that the boat turned around for a spectacular view of the lit-up Statue of Liberty.

The DJ spun a mix of Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, and Alicia Keys, enticing people to head to the dance floor.

I would definitely recommend Hornblower for major events, and in particular the Infinity for very special events. You cannot find a place on land in the city to host 700 seated guests very comfortably, with live band and a dancing floor at such reasonable prices. 

The vessel is very impressive. It has three climate control decks. Equipped with led lights and the best technology, sound system, eco-friendly and luxurious lounges that can accommodate up to 1,000 guests for buffet and up to about 750 dinner guests. 

Dinner cruises can be interchangeable between the Hornblower Infinity and the Hybrid, depending on demand and availability.

There are a choice of affordable package cruises available, from afternoon tea cruises, happy hour cruises, brunch and jazz cruises, dinner cruises, to elaborate celebrations cruises. Prices start as low as $25. 


Hornblower Cruises and Events 
Hornblower Landing, Pier 40
353 West St. (West Side Highway)

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