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  • Post published:12/09/2021
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Left: Sea the City boat in front of lower Manhattan; Right: couple in hot tub boat in front of Statue of Libery

Credit: Left: Sea the City; Right: Courtandkelly

I can’t speak for everyone living in New York, but the sight of the Statue of Liberty still makes me feel giddy. For me, each sighting is a reminder that I live in the center of the universe, in the city that never sleeps, and a rich and storied place that people around the world dream of calling home. Everyone who visits should take a moment to see it, and the best way to do it? Sitting in a hot tub on a boat cruising the Hudson River. 

Yes, you read that right. You can take a hot tub boat tour to the Statue of Liberty thanks to the New Jersey based company Sea the City. Just a quick ferry ride from downtown Manhattan, Sea the City offers 90-minutes cruises on a large boat with two hot tubs each featuring individual sound systems, coolers to bring your own wine or beer, and breathtaking views of Lady Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. 

people enjoying hot tub boat in New York City

Credit: Left: Olivia Rink; Right: Laura Peruchi

Recently, with a very special friend visiting NYC for the first time, it felt like the perfect opportunity to join the highly-Instagrammable boat ride for a mid-July cruise. Like me at first, you’re probably wondering, who in their right mind would want to sit in a hot tub in New York muggy July heat. Well, fear not, the temperature of the water is dropped in the summer to 101 degrees Fahrenheit (down from 104 in the cooler months), and once you’re cruising on the river the outside temperature is lower and everything feels just right. And if you do start to feel toasty, simply pop up on the sitting ledge to keep your feet in and feel the misty breeze on your face. 

For my crew, every single moment in the hot tub boat was an Instagram-worthy moment, and the opportunity to reflect on the beauty of New York City. While conversation and rosé flowed, we snapped pics of ourselves and the skyline, our hard seltzers and the Statue of Liberty, and doubled down on the notion that NYC  is unbeatable. The crew, ultra-friendly and hospitable, kept our bottles in a safe place and pointed out sights we didn’t know about. Other boats, mostly filled with tourists, snapped pics of us and waved from a distance. 

Operating from mid-March to New Year’s Day, Sea the City is the perfect way to get an unforgettable look at NYC, or a very special way to celebrate a special occasion. The boat has two specially-built hot tubs and the experience can be booked by the tub (when we cruised another friendly group was in the other hot tub) or by the boat. For semi-private groups each tub can hold 8 people, but if booked privately the tubs can hold up to ten each. Conveniently, there’s a bathroom on board and the boat is operated by a United States Coast Guard licensed Master Captain. At the Marina, located in Jersey City, New Jersey, there are facilities to change and use the restroom, and the boat itself has special boxes to protect your belongings from the water.

Tours on Sea the City’s hot tub boats start at $449 for a semi-private booking or $2,199 for a weekend booking. During the weekend the prices go up to $999 for a semi-private booking or $2,499 for a private booking. But hey, if you divide that up by a group of eight, you might just spend the same amount on a nice dinner or one of NYC’s many kitschy tourist attractions. 

As Travel + Leisure’s experiences editor, I’ve been lucky to get to do some very special things, from getting a green tea spa treatment after hiking the Great Wall of China to sipping cocktails in a bar 35,000 feet above the sky — but I have to say, this experience was one of my all time favorites. And get ready Miami, Sea the City is launching in December and plans to operate all year long.

Tanner Saunders is Travel + Leisure’s Experiences Editor. He wants a personal hot tub boat.

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