A couple of weeks ago my friend and I spent a few days in the magical land of New York City. We saw a man riding an elliptical machine down the street, a woman whose fingernails were 24 inches long, and a Middle Eastern couple on a flying carpet. Flying. OK, it was Aladdin on Broadway, but still. On our last day we killed some time walking along Pier 40 on the most gorgeous day possible. We saw a grown man wearing only a diaper and his friend wearing a leather thong, leather vest, and old timey biker’s hat. What a glorious Sunday morning in Manhattan. It was almost noon and, needless to say, I needed a drink.
As luck would have it, we had reservations with Hornblower New York for a Premier Sunday Brunch Jazz Cruise. Brunch on a yacht, y’all. Am I moving up in this world or what? This was one of the least questionable decisions we made during our time in New York City. We won’t talk about the other ones… Everything about this experience was fantastic! The food, the atmosphere, the service, everything was top-drawer. That’s fancy yacht talk for “the shiznit.”
Did y’all know yachts came in hybrids? Oh, you did? OK, fancy pants. Before my trip aboard the Hornblower Hybrid, I did not. And I don’t think I would have known had it not been for the words written right there on the hull. That’s right, isn’t it? The ‘hull’? I don’t know boat words. I grew up in the middle of cotton fields and blues clubs where “boat” meant a piece of driftwood tied to another piece of driftwood with a piece of driftrope. Regardless, they’ve got hybrid yachts! Yay for the environment!
Hornblower New York’s Hybrid has three levels, I took up two of them. Actually, I take up very little space but all my hair blowing in the Hudson breeze took up the rest of the available space. My friend and I were assigned to the second level and we were free to come and go as we like to the third level, an outside, rooftop deck-like area.
As you’ll see, this entire experience was very blue. I’m not talking about the sadness I felt when we docked or when I finished my second bottle of champagne. I’m talking blue, the color blue. The sky, the water, the windows of the boat’s atrium soaking everything in blue. I never really thought of New York City as being very blue until this experience. I always think of it as a dingy shade of grey like old gum on the sidewalk or the thick color of the subway tracks – but look how lower Manhattan reflects the sky and the water. B-L-U-E. Blue. Blue. Blue.
What an amazing tour Hornblower New York provides! Not only did we circle lower Manhattan from Pier 40, we went all the way around the island and under the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. I’ve walked across the Brooklyn Bridge a few times and as awesome an experience as that is, cruising under it was even better. You get the same fantastic views without all the wires and people getting hit by bicyclists because they don’t know how to stay on the walking side, for Pete’s sake!
After crossing under the Manhattan Bridge we banged a U-ey (to use a very “Boston” term) and went all the way back down to pay a visit to that beautiful babe, Lady Liberty.
I recently attended an event on a yacht in Boston (
Can you believe they let me on these things? I’m really fancy now.) and the food was disappointingly less than mediocre. So obviously, my expectations for the food here weren’t sky high. ‘Cause it’s a boat. I just feel like anything you consume on a boat can’t be good. Yes, I’m including my canoe.
HOWEVER, I was more than pleasantly surprised by both the quality and the quantity of food offered by Hornblower New York. Everything was delicious! And I swear to y’all, the food never stopped coming. Quiche, meats, fruits, eggs, salmon, pastries, yada yada yada. The amount of food was seemingly endless. Every time I got up to take pictures, jam out, walk in on a Chinese woman who didn’t lock the bathroom door, there was a new selection of food. At one point I walked past and there were two pies that just appeared out of nowhere as if by magic.
Look at this. They even have a friggin’ watermelon carved with the Hornblower New York logo. And yeah, I should’ve taken the food pictures as soon as I arrived before everyone went bonkers over it but after a really stupid experience at Pret a Manger that morning I just couldn’t wait to eat even one more minute.
Better than any of this was the fact that the food stayed and partied with us for the entire event. What I mean is, the staff didn’t take away the food and/or start cleaning up after an hour. I hate when you’re at a work party or crashing a wedding and the caterers take the food after they assume everyone is done eating. The only thing the Hornblower staff was in a hurry to do was show us a great time. The food was deliciously maintained for the entire trip and also worth noting, even as we were pulling back in to dock our server opened yet another bottle of champagne for me. That’s right – another. This is a judgement free zone. I’m all, “B-b-but aren’t we docking?” and she was like, “Girrrrrl, we’re not there yet!” Me, cross-eyed and smiling. And probably hiccuping a little.
So in case you hadn’t guessed, I forgot to mention BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS. You heard me. Every table is stocked with a bottle of bubbly and a carafe of that orange stuff that’s only good when mixed with champagne. After we finished the first bottle, another one appeared. Magic, I tell ya!
The Service aboard the Hornblower Hybrid was phenomenal. Everyone was so incredibly attentive and polite and friendly. I think coming from Boston may have boosted my appreciation since I’m not used to such blatant friendliness but this was some good ol’ Southern hospitality shit on this boat, y’all.
This is Nancy, our server and champagne topper-offer. What a doll! We had such a great time with her and she really made our day even more awesome.
But before we even stepped (swaying and flashing everyone, thank you wind) onto this boat I was impressed. From booking to boarding, everyone with Hornblower New York was incredibly easy to work with. Damn, isn’t it fantastic when something you plan goes even better than you expected?! I can give you 45 examples of when that didn’t happen. Number 1) Renting a car in Germany and Hertz assigns the same car to like six people. But who will have the right keys? We shall see! Next week on “Shit That Goes Wrong When Traveling.” Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t me.
This wasn’t your everyday New York City brunch cruise, this was the premier jazz brunch. What’s better than scarfing down blueberry muffins you tried all morning to get? Scarfing down blueberry muffins to some live sweet jazz baby. These guys were so fun.
They played for the majority of the cruise and during their break the boat played some mainstream New York and boat-themed songs. You know, some Jay-Z, some Sinatra, some Ms. Turner rolling on a river. (Of all the billion times I’ve heard that song, this was the first time that I heard it while actually on a river. Just something to note.) The only one that confused me was Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon.” I don’t get this unless “you come and go… you come and goooooo” refers to Boy George on a yacht. Anybody want to help me out with that one?
Hornblower New York has got cruises out the wazoo. Brunch cruises, dinner cruises, party cruises, Wiz Khalifa album release parties, you name it. My next trip to NYC is definitely going to include a dinner cruise much to the excitement of my hungry hungry husband who was pissed he missed out on the phenomenal buffet. Like, wicked upset.
How to book your Hornblower New York brunch cruise:
Step 1 Go here.
Step 2 Choose your cruise. This is the hard part.
Step 3 Book it.
Step 4 Let them spoil you.
For more information or just to check out photos of all the hot celebrities that have partied with Hornblower New York, check out hornblowernewyork.com. You can also find them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter cause I know that’s your thing. I want to specially thank Hornblower New York for hosting me on this perfect Sunday in New York City. As always, all opinions and self-deprecating humor are mine.
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