5. Hornblower Cruises
New York City
It's hard to top the New York skyline being part of your brunch experience, and that's what Hornblower cruise ships offer.
After success on the West Coast, the company decided to expand operations to New York City last June. Hornblower has two ships docked in New York City -- the Infinity and the Hybrid. The Infinity is 210 feet. The Hybrid is 160 feet. Both just underwent $25 million renovations that included full restaurant kitchens on each.
"Very often on brunch cruises the focus is just on the view and the food is just OK and they hope to get by with that," says Mark Robertson, director of sales. "We certainly don't believe in that approach here, and both ships were designed with restaurant-quality kitchens so that the food is top quality. And we don't buy anything until the day before the brunch. Everything is cooked on the day of the brunch, and it's all cooked onboard."
The cruises leave from Pier 40, head north up the Hudson River and back down to Downtown around Wall Street, under the Brooklyn Bridge, passing the Statue of Liberty. The experience takes about two and a half hours. And you can soak it all in from the outdoor decks and rattan furniture lining each of the ship's three levels. (There's also indoors dining.)
The experience is not just for tourists, Robertson says.
"We definitely get tourists who want to see iconic New York landmarks in a way they would not get to see them if they were having brunch on a land venue," Robertson says. "But then for locals -- they know these sights, they haven't often visited them even though they walk past them every day, but if you live in New York, it's a very busy city, so when you get out on the water there's a sense of getting away. It's very relaxing, like a mini-vacation."
That's a mini-vacation with the New York skyline and bottomless mimosas -- for $81.55 per person.
Not a bad deal.