Yachts To Hold Excursion Tours, Events from Pier 15 Come August

Respect, with a capacity for 500 tourists or partiers, will be one of two Hornblower yachts making trips out of the South Street Seaport's Pier 15 starting in August. Photo courtesy of Hornblower Cruises & Events.

Jun. 06, 2013

Two large yachts, for tours and events, will be coming and going from the South Street Seaport starting this summer.

The city’s Economic Development Corp. is preparing to sign a 10-year lease with Hornblower Events & Cruises for docking space at the Seaport’s Pier 15, from where two of the company’s vessels will run excursion tours and other cruises in New York Harbor.

Respect and Hornblower Hybrid, with 500- and 600-passenger capacities respectively, will make four-to-six hour-long sightseeing trips each day, according to Andreas Sappok, Hornblower’s sightseeing general manager.

Although Hornblower’s web site promotes the yachts’ features as party boats (Hornblower Hybrid has a “cocktail capacity” of 600, it says), Sappok last month told Community Board 1’s Seaport Committee, “Once in a while we’ll have a private event, like a corporate party or a wedding—but not on a regular basis.”

By the beginning of August, Sappok said, the boats will begin carrying passengers around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and to other sites. They will dock overnight at Pier 40 on the Hudson River, he said.

Hornblower will also partner with the New York Harbor School to lead maritime classes at the pier on safe boating techniques, CPR, vessel operations and other such topics. The classes are slated to begin in the fall.
“The goal activate the pier from an educational standpoint as well as to create a destination for the community—and finally, to help fund maintenance of the [East River] Esplanade,” said Dean Bodnar, an asset manager for the EDC who also attended the CB1  meeting.

The city expects to sign the docking lease with Hornblower in mid-July.