New York City, New York
The name of this tour doesn't accurately reflect the tour itself - it suggests a relaxing time spent sipping champagne whilst seeing the sights. In reality the craft has very little in the way of seating and was a very uncomfortable way to spend a couple of hours. Just a small area has seating with cushions, the rest of the passengers have to perch on wooden boxes or sit on the floor (which then means you don't get a view of the surroundings). In fact it was so uncomfortable that for several days afterwards, the backs of my legs were bruised and painful from the edge of the wooden box I sat on the whole time. We sailed as far as the Statue of Liberty and then just going round and round the same area killing time until the 2 hours were up. Also, there was no form of commentary as to the surrounding sights and areas.
Sadly, the nearest you get to 'champagne' is a plastic cup of cheap Prosecco. I can't comment on the food for two reasons. Firstly, the sheer logistics of trying to balance whilst clambering over other passengers and holding onto a plastic plate on a rocking boat, proved impossible. Secondly, after seeing other passengers pick up food with their bare hands, examine it and then put it back again completely put us off eating! It would have been far better to have pre-packaged picnic boxes to avoid both problems.
There were quite a mixture of ages on the trip but I would only recommend it for groups of younger people, not anyone (who like us) was expecting a relaxing trip.
New York City, New York
I cannot rate this tour highly enough and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting to see a number of tourist attractions in a short space of time. Our guide (Kerned?) was excellent and did a brilliant job keeping everyone together. Often when on tours with a large group of people, there are always a few who don't turn up at the next meeting time and we were very lucky (especially with a group of 35!) that we did not experience any delays. At the Empire State Building (first in the queue) we got into the lift with other (nervous and excited) passengers but were amazed at how quickly we reached the 80th floor. Another lift took us the rest of the way to the 86th floor. Security was tight getting in which I found very reassuring and was amazed how safe I felt so high up, looking down on so many tall buildings. We had plenty of time to take photographs and browse the shop before boarding the open top bus to our next destination.The bus took us to Times Square and along many well known streets, with the bus guide telling us what to look out for. I could happily have spent much longer on there as it was so enjoyable. We then went down and were first in the queue to look round a submarine and aircraft carrier. We were SO disappointed the we weren't able to view the space shuttle as it had been damaged by Hurricane Sandy a few months ago and the repairs were not yet completed. However, there was lots to see and again could have happily spent longer looking around it was so interesting. Despite the disappointment at not seeing the shuttle, we hadn't realised that Concorde was also there to see so that made up for some of the disappointment.Then we were first onto the water taxi and spent a very enjoyable time, with excellent commentary as we cruised down the Hudson. It was a fairly rocky journey and we felt (and looked!) drunk as we got off onto solid ground! Then we were taken on a short walking tour to the 9/11 Memorial where the tour ended. Just brilliant!
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