NEW YORK — New York Cruise Lines, parent company of Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, is adding two new ships to their fleet with the addition of the Empire Class of sightseeing vessels from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises is operating the new fleet from Manhattan’s Pier 83 at West 42nd Street.
The company welcomed two of the new vessels with a ceremonial christening event on Tuesday, kicking off Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises’ lineup of exciting seasonal events. With a third boat set to arrive later this year, the new fleet delivers the latest in innovation and technology to provide guests with the best onboard sightseeing experience in New York Harbor.
The christening ceremony included special guest Brooke Shields, followed by the breaking of a Champagne bottle across the bow. Following this, a water cannon salute from the New York City Fire Department concluded the event. After the ceremony, an inaugural cruise aboard one of the new vessels sailed within 100 feet of the Statue of Liberty, an awe-inspiring experience befitting the celebration.
“The Empire Class culminates the replacement of the Circle Line fleet of ships that began nine years ago with the delivery of three Borough Class ships,” said Samuel Cooperman, CEO and Chairman of Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. “The new class, while maintaining the iconic yacht hull of the Circle Line brand, is otherwise a significant departure from previous generations.”
State-of-the-art from bow to stern, the new Empire Class boats include significant enhancements over the existing fleet of sightseeing boats. Improvements include three deck levels, first class sound systems, and more expansive windows to maximize passengers’ viewing experience. Additional upgrades include a modernized heating and air-conditioning system and true café-style dining outlets located mid-deck that will serve the best of iconic New York City deli and artisanal dishes.
“On behalf of everyone at Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, I would like to thank Circle Line for giving us the opportunity to build these great boats,” said Peter Duclos, President of Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation. “It gives us great pleasure to know that visitors from all over the world will enjoy the best of New York City on board our boats for many years to come.”
Perhaps the most notable upgrade is the addition of a third deck, which will serve as an exclusive premier top deck, setting the perfect scene for concerts, performances and private parties on one of New York’s most unique outdoor venues. Included on the premier top deck are comfortable deck chairs designed with cup holders and well-cushioned seats, a prime outdoor “cocktail” area, a private bar with top-of-the-line food and beverage selections from local New York area vendors, such as Coney Island Brewing Company and Warsteiner Beer, as well as private bathrooms.
Circle Line Cruises is offering special events during the summer which include:
- July 4th Fireworks Cruise (Tuesday, July 4) – Declare your independence from the crowds and enjoy a view of the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular like no other aboard Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. The near-six-hour evening includes up-close views of the world-famous pyrotechnic spectacle; remarkable views of New York City sights and landmarks, and an abundance of onboard amenities. Two ticket options: General admission $169; Premium tickets on an exclusive boat with a festive 4th of July menu plus open beer, wine and soda bar $219.
- BBQ & Brews Cruise (Thursday, July 20) – Soak up suds and sights while feasting on BBQ from talented pit masters aboard Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, featuring music, line dancing and rockin’ views of the city skyline. Tickets from $75.00.
- Happy Hour Cruise (every Thursday through August 31) – Nothing says summer like being on the water, and what better way to celebrate the end of a workday than with a Happy Hour Cruise. New York City locals can switch up their normal hot spot and set sail with Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises in the most breathtaking city in the world. Every Thursday at 7:30 PM, one of the new Empire Class ships will depart from Pier 83 for two hours of drinks and fun on the Hudson River. Tickets from $75.00 include open bar and bar snacks for passengers.
- Circle Live Summer Music Series – Listen to popular music with a summer cocktail during Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises’ open air, floating concert. Enjoy stunning views of midtown and lower Manhattan, as well as unparalleled proximity to the Statue of Liberty. Full bar on board with beer, wine & cocktails, plus fresh-made sandwiches, salads and snacks from the café.