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8 Best Statue of Liberty Cruises

Updated: December 12, 2023

Free Tours By Foot offers several tours which include views of the Statue of Liberty, and our tour guides are frequently asked about how to get closer to Lady Liberty.

A lot of travelers want to visit Liberty Island and see the statue up close, and there is only one ferry service - Statue City Cruises - which allows you to travel to Liberty and Ellis Island from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan.

However, our guides indicate that if you're looking to get close enough to snap a memorable photo, cruises that go around the island might actually be much better.

In this post, we'll provide helpful information from our guides about the best cruises around the Statue of Liberty.

We'll also provide tips from locals and travelers who use our Facebook Group, as they usually have a lot of useful suggestions for other travelers and tourists.


CRUISES TO LIBERTY AND ELLIS ISLANDS

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most noteworthy symbols in the United States of America, and you can actually visit the island where it is located.

While you won’t pay for admission to the island, you will have to pay for the ferry travel.

If you want to enter the landmark itself, you can also purchase either a pedestal or crown access ticket.

There are both reserve and flex tickets available.

Reserve tickets are timed, so they must be used on a specific day and time while flex tickets allow you to visit whenever you want.

The main difference between these types of admission is that flex tickets do not include visitors' access to either the pedestal or the crown.

If you want to enter the statue, you will need a reserved ticket.

Each ticket includes access to Liberty Island, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty Museum. However, you must purchase a pedestal or crown ticket for access to these areas.

The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration houses many historic artifacts from immigrants who came to this country through this port of entry.

Ticket prices range from $24.50 - $24.80 depending on what you want to see and do while you’re there.

For more details, make sure to check our post covering how to get to the Statue of Liberty.

And now, here are the other types of cruises that take you around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.


Circle Line Cruises

This vendor offers three different cruise options that travel very close to the Statue of Liberty.

While one of their outings is focused on the landmark, they also have a couple of boat tours that simply get close to the statue or travel around New York Harbor and the Hudson River.

Some of these outings are included with tourist attraction discount passes, and you can learn more about those opportunities to save money in our discount section.


Liberty Cruise

  • Focused on the Statue of Liberty.
  • Includes a pass by Ellis Island.
  • Includes a pass by One World Trade Center.
  • Admission is included with the New York Pass.

Landmarks Cruise

  • Focused on the Statue of Liberty.
  • Includes a pass by Ellis Island.
  • Includes a pass by Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Includes a pass by One World Trade Center.
  • Admission is included with the New York Pass.

Best of NYC

  • Covers several notable sites.
  • Includes a pass by the Statue of Liberty.
  • Admission is included with the New York Pass.

The Beast - Speedboat

In addition to their traditional cruise options, Circle Line also has a speedboat called The Beast that travels within 100 feet of the Statue of Liberty.

If you’re looking for a more exciting trip out on the water, this is an excellent alternative to a traditional Statue of Liberty cruise.

  • $32/Adults | $25/Children
  • Availability: May - September
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Featured on tourist passes.
  • Purchase tickets or learn more on Get Your Guide.

This company also offers a Statue by Night tour which we will cover in our Night/Dinner Cruises section.


Manhattan by Sail

If you’d rather see the Statue of Liberty from a sailboat/tall ship, this company offers a service that will take you very close to the landmark.

In addition to seeing Lady Liberty, you’ll also see sites such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, and several other notable sites in New York City.

This is a more traditional way to see some of the most historic locations in NYC, and many reviewers indicate the views on a tall ship are unobstructed and unbeatable!

Many of the tours provided by this company are included with various New York tourist passes, and you can find more details about those deals in our discounts section.

As with their competitors, there is also a sunset sail option that you can enjoy as the sun is going down.

We will cover this option in our Night/Dinner cruises section.


Spirit Cruises

While other companies focus on providing tour and sightseeing opportunities, this company offers dining cruises that include a meal and typically last for 2-3 hours.

Many of their cruises pass by the Statue of Liberty, but you can also expect to see One World Trade Center, Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, and many other notable landmarks.

You can save 10% on this activity ($8-$10) by using the New York Sightseeing Pass. We will cover this deal in the discounts section.

Spirit Cruises also offers a dinner cruise that passes by the Statue of Liberty at night. Check our night/dinner cruises section for more details.


City Sightseeing 

This popular tour company offers a hop-on-hop-off boat tour that will take you past many notable sites including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade Center, and more.

A hop-on-hop-off boat tour allows you to jump on at any designated stop and jump off whenever you want, so if you’re only interested in seeing Lady Liberty, you can just take that portion of the trip.

Considering that City Sightseeing is primarily a hop-on-hop-off bus tour company, it shouldn’t be too surprising that they offer a lot of combo packages that include both services for a lower price.

This hop-on-hop-off cruise is also included on some tourist passes, and we’ll cover those deals in our discount section.

NOTE: This hop-on hop-off cruise is not currently available as of June 2023.


NIGHT AND DINNER STATUE OF LIBERTY CRUISES

The following section will cover some of the best cruises you can take after dark or at sunset in New York City.

Each of these services travels close to Lady Liberty.

Almost all of the tours we listed in our Statue of Liberty cruises section also offer outings either at night or as the sun is setting. 

If you’re interested in seeing the landmark as it lights up or enjoying its silhouette at sunset, these trips are an excellent opportunity you may want to consider.


Spirit Cruises


Circle Line

  • Ticket Prices: $29/Adults | $24/Children
  • Focuses on the Statue of Liberty & Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Departure: 7 pm
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

Manhattan by Sail

  • Ticket Prices: $98/Adults | $45/Children
  • Sunset sail which covers Lady Liberty/Ellis Island.
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: 7 pm
  • Purchase tickets or learn more on Get Your Guide.

Sadly, the last departure for City Sightseeing’s hop-on-hop-off cruise is at 4:30 p.m., which means you won’t be able to enjoy the Statue of Liberty either at sunset or after dark by using this service.

If you’re looking for a great alternative to a Statue of Liberty Cruise at night or sunset, make sure to read our section on the Staten Island Ferry.


DISCOUNTS AND DEALS

This section will cover some of the best ways to save money on Statue of Liberty cruises.

We will include details about tourist passes, combo packages, and more.


Tourist Attraction Discount Passes

If a Statue of Liberty cruise is only one of many activities you have planned, it might make sense to grab a tourist pass while you’re in New York City.

An all-inclusive pass will provide admission to dozens of popular activities over the course of a specific amount of time (1, 2, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days).

Alternatively, you can also choose a flex pass which allows you to pay one flat price for a set number of activities.

There are also preset passes that provide access to a specific number of activities for one low price, such as the New York CityPASS. This service includes a Circle Line cruise at no extra cost.

Here are the Statue of Liberty cruises you can save money on using a New York tourist pass:

In addition to receiving free admission to these activities, you can also save 10% off dinner cruises from Spirit Cruises with the New York Sightseeing Pass.

These services also offer skip-the-line privileges at certain popular locations in New York City, making it easier to save both time and money.

Depending on which pass you choose and how you use it, you could save anywhere from 20% - 50% off general admission prices on average.

For more details, please read our post covering New York tourist attraction discount passes.


Combo Packages

In addition to various tourist passes, there are also combo deals (usually offered by hop-on-hop-off bus tour companies) that include Statue of Liberty cruises.

If you’re only interested in a few different attractions or activities in New York, consider one of the following combo packages:

City Sights 

One of the activities you can choose from with this combo deal is the Circle Line Liberty Cruise. In addition to the cruise, you can also select from the following attractions:

  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
  • Fancy Apple Central Park Bike Rental
  • Edge Observation Deck
  • One World Observatory
  • Empire State Building
  • Top of the Rock
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral
  • Fotografiska NY
  • Spyscape
  • Rise NY

If you're interested in any of these activities, we recommend getting the 3 attraction package so you can also enjoy a Statue of Liberty cruise!


New York Shuttle Tour

  • Empire State Building (w/ Observation Deck visit)
  • Statue of Liberty (w/ access to the Pedestal)
  • Wall Street Walking Tour
  • Times Square
  • Fifth Avenue
  • Little Italy
    • $179/Adults | $169/Children

Purchase New York Shuttle Tour combo package or learn more.

NOTE: This combo deal is not available as of June 2023.


Big Bus Tours

  • Premium Ticket
    • 2-Day Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
    • Circle Line Statue of Liberty Cruise
    • Brooklyn & Harlem Bus Tour
    • Night Bus Tour
      • $65/Adults | $55/Children
  • Deluxe Ticket
    • 3-Day Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
    • Circle Line Statue of Liberty Cruise
    • Brooklyn & Harlem Bus Tour
    • Night Bus Tour
      • $75/Adults | $65/Children
      • Includes the Empire State Building for $15+

Purchase Big Bus Tours combo tickets or learn more.

NOTE: These combo deals are not currently available as of June 2023.


City Sightseeing

  • All-Around Town Tour + Boat Tour
    • 1-Day Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
    • Hop-on-Hop-off Cruise
    • Night Bus Tour
      • $59/Adults | $49/Children

Purchase City Sightseeing combo tickets or learn more.

NOTE: This combo package isn't available as of June 2023.


Discount Sites

In addition to tourist passes and combo packages, you can also use sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial to save money on various Statue of Liberty cruises.

These discount sites also frequently offer coupon codes for between 10% - 20% off in addition to whatever deals they are offering on local activities.

If you’re planning to purchase a cruise with one of these services, make sure to check the top and bottom of each page for banners that may contain additional coupons.


STATEN ISLAND FERRY

If you really want to save some money on a Statue of Liberty cruise, the Staten Island Ferry is the best deal in New York City.

This ferry is actually entirely free to use, and it passes by the Statue of Liberty several times every day.

Admittedly, this won’t get you very close to the Statue of Liberty, but you can still see Lady Liberty from the ferry.

This boat travels back and forth from Manhattan to Staten Island several times both day and night, so you can enjoy the Statue of Liberty after dark as well.

For more information about this service, please read our post on the Staten Island Ferry.


Tips From Locals and Travelers

If you're still wondering which cruise to take, we have gathered a lot of helpful advice members of our New York City Travel Tips group on Facebook.

Before we get started with their suggestions, it must be noted that an overwhelming majority of locals recommend sticking with the Staten Island Ferry.

While this is an excellent way to see the statue, many travelers feel that the cruises are even better.

One of our users managed to take video from both the Harbor Lights cruise after dark and the Staten Island Ferry during the day.

As you can see, the view from the Harbor Lights cruise does indeed appear to be much closer than the ferry.

If you want to get as close as possible without actually going to the island, it's definitely worth considering.

As you can see, multiple commenters noted that the Harbor Lights cruise offers excellent views and is absolutely worth the additional cost.

Even so, since one of these options is free, you might want to consider doing both if you have enough time.

One thing that travelers always seem to get confused about is the difference between the Staten Island Ferry and the ferry that takes you directly to Liberty Island.

Please keep in mind that the ferry to the island is not free. The Staten Island Ferry only passes by the statue, but it does still offer some of the best views of Lady Liberty.

As you can see, locals really do prefer the ferry to Staten Island, because it runs frequently, quickly, and it's widely considered one of the best ways to see this famous landmark.

That said, there are some who also recommend using the NYC water taxis, as they also pass by relatively close to the Statue of Liberty.

As Chris notes, one of the big reasons to consider this option is because you'll also get to see other major landmarks around Manhattan and Brooklyn.

For more helpful advice and tips, please check out our New York City Travel Tips group on Facebook.


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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: December 12th, 2023
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