Luxury Yachts to Set Sail from the Hudson's Pier 40

By Andrea Swalec on December 1, 2011 6:49am | Updated on December 1, 2011 1:57pm

Private, charter voyages aboard the Hornblower Hybrid are available beginning in November 2011.
Private, charter voyages aboard the Hornblower Hybrid are available beginning in November 2011.
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Hornblower Cruises & Events

WEST VILLAGE — Pampered pooches can look forward to a luxury dog run as part of the Hudson River Park Trust's $6.5 million renovation project — and now humans with finer tastes can also join in the fun on the Hudson River.

Four luxury yachts that can be rented for private, chartered parties or taken on dinner, cocktail and sightseeing tours for the public have been cleared to dock at the West Village's Pier 40, a representative of Hornblower Cruises & Events said Wednesday. 

The California-based company's 600-passenger Hornblower Hybrid ship can take passengers on a tour of the city while offering them a menu of locally sourced food, live music and high-end cocktails. 

"Bottle service is always available," general manager Andreas Sappok said. 

The Hudson River Park Trust rejected multiple controversial development plans for Pier 40 in recent years before selecting Hornblower as a new tenant — including a failed bid by performance group Cirque de Soleil, a proposed LGBT youth center on the pier that never came to fruition and requests for a farmer's market.

The Trust will issue a new request for proposals near the end of Hornblower's one-year lease, a spokeswoman for the Trust said.

The yachts feature flat-screen video screens, "low-voltage mood lighting," a vessel-wide sound system and wireless Internet. Waiters tap out orders on iPads rather than on notepads, Sappok said. Even the yacht's restrooms are upscale.

"The bathrooms are like what you'll find in a nice apartment," he said.

To reduce its environmental impact, the Hybrid, which was formerly a seafaring casino, uses solar panels, wind power and hydrogen power in addition to standard diesel. 

Its interior features countertops made of recycled glass and vodka bottles, energy-efficient windows and flooring made from reclaimed materials.

The yacht's finest feature, though, is the window it provides to the city, Sappok said.

"There's no other boat with a viewing space like this," he said.

This logo appears on the side of the Hornblower Hybrid yacht.
This logo appears on the side of the Hornblower Hybrid yacht.
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Hornblower Cruises & Events

Charters are available on the Hornblower Hybrid now and public cruises will start at the beginning of the year. 

Passengers can choose between tickets that provide a limited number of cocktails, access to an open bar, dinner from a small-plates menu or a four-course meal. Tickets for cocktails and a three-hour cruise start at $49 per person, Sappok said. 

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