Some of the best views in the Valley can be found in the most obvious place: on the river itself. But sightseeing isn’t the only reason to take a cruise; you can also learn the local lore, dance the night away, or get up close and personal with a lighthouse.
Empire State Cruise Lines, Poughkeepsie
Hudson River Adventures, Beacon and Newburgh
Empire Cruise Lines and Hudson River Adventures are teaming up with husband-and-wife duo John and Cynthia Vergilii. Munch on scrumptious homemade scones, soups, and sandwiches while the Vergilliis entertain with both patriotic songs and show tunes. Empire, which sails out of Waryas Park, offers a variety of sightseeing lunch and dinner tours from May to October, including a Mother’s Day Special (all moms receive a gift). Equipped with two boats, Hudson River Adventures gives sightseeing tours throughout the week and provides transportation to Bannerman Castle for walking tours.
Empire Cruise Lines $45-$65. 866-797-9024; www.empirecruiselines.com
Hudson River Adventures $20-$59. 845-220-2120; www.prideofthehudson.com
Homemade scones and tea courtesy of John and Cynthia Vergilii during the Empire State Cruise Lines and Hudson River Adventures cruises
River Rose Tours and Cruises, Newburgh
Captain John “Duke” Panzella has been sailing his authentic New Orleans paddle wheeler out of Newburgh for 14 years. Take a weekend or Wednesday sightseeing cruise, Friday night buffet or dance party cruise, or a more-casual Sunday brunch ride. New this year is “A Day in Cold Spring”: Guests are dropped off in Cold Spring for three hours before being ferried back to Newburgh. $15-$45. 845-562-1067; www.riverrosecruises.com
Hudson Cruises, Hudson
Hudson Cruises continues its popular Hudson-Athens Lighthouse tours this season, bringing guests to the historic building for an informational walking tour. When their vessel is not sailing during the week, it doubles as the Dockside Café and evening bar. Don’t miss out on the weekend dance and scenic cruises, especially the Jazz Parties. $5-$25. 518-822-1014; www.hudsoncruises.com
Hudson Highlands Cruises, Haverstraw, West Point, and Peekskill
History buffs might want to climb aboard the 1917 Commander — one of the last operating vessels to serve in the U.S. Navy in World War I. Both full- and half-day narrated cruises depart from Haverstraw weekdays and Sundays, West Point on weekdays, and Peekskill on the last Saturday of the month. $15-$36. 845-534-7245; www.commanderboat.com