The Beast – a high-speed review – by Margaret Hart
Our family didn’t make it to our favorite beach this summer to go boogie boarding, so we decided to end our summer vacation with a weekend trip into New York City and a high-speed boat tour of Manhattan. What a great idea it turned out to be!
Whether you’re a tourist, or a so-called hardened New Yorker (or a former hardened New Yorker playing tourist, like me), The Beast is a fun alternative to the standard boat tours of Manhattan that are often-times boring for kids. We went on a Saturday morning and got in line when the box office opened to pick up our tickets–no line. We only waited about 20 minutes to board, and while we waited, a staff member took our photos for The Beast souvenir photo that was offered for purchase at the end of the ride.
While we waited, we chatted up a few real tourists (visiting from Australia), and soon afterward we boarded the custom-built, 70-foot offshore racing powerboat. The First Mate introduced our Captain and got us all in the mood by giving us a quick squirt with a giant water gun as we backed out of the dock and then, quite by surprise, the Captain gunned the engine and spun us around, which produced lots of spray and wave action, and we were off!
As we sped down the Hudson River toward the Financial District, our hair blew back, our eyes squinted, and we really felt the wind on our faces. This was the ocean fix we needed and had missed all summer long. The First Mate came by and used our smart phones to take our pictures (thank you!) because, although I was able to hold onto mine, I wouldn’t recommend it. The boat speed is advertised at 45mph (72kph) and you will hit a few bumps along the way, so while they don’t tell you to put loose objects away or into your pockets, the seat belts kind of gave that away.
As you can imagine, the views are beyond spectacular (even on a gray and overcast day, as was our weather). When we got to the Statue of Liberty, the boat slowed so everyone could take photos and gaze in awe at Lady Liberty. The First Mate came around once again and took our pictures with the Lady in the background. After a few words from our Captain about how the Statue came to New York Harbor in 1885 as a gift from the French, we were off again.
What I loved about this tour, besides the speed, is that it’s not a “talking” tour, so you’re not talked to death by a guide giving you lots of historical information about New York and it’s waterways — leave that for the tour buses and the longer water cruises where you sit, and sit, and sit, and listen for up to three hours. Don’t get me wrong, those tours are educational and interesting, but for our end of summer blow out, we wanted something different, and something exciting. And we got it!
The Beast is 30 minutes of pure fun! You let your mind wander wherever it wants as your senses take in the smell of the salt water and air, incredible views of the New York skyline, and the sounds of the loud pop music playing in the background as waves crash against the bow of the speedboat. The Beast speeds you past the skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan down to the Financial District, and out to Lady Liberty for a brief photo opp, and then back the same route — which also affords great views of New Jersey’s Hoboken and Jersey City.
You get back to dock about 30 minutes after you left, and you feel energized to continue your day, as we did, heading over the adjacent Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
A few hints: before you board The Beast, use the restrooms located next to the box office as there are no available facilities onboard. There is also no food served on board, so if you have a hankering for a snack or need lunch when you get back to shore, there are food carts nearby, and a restaurant that’s within walking distance.
Tickets for The Beast
The BEAST sails through September 29, 2013. Children must be 40″/100 cm. Tickets are $27 for adults and $21 for children (must be 40″) but check online for discounts. The Beast does not operate when raining. The BEAST departs from Pier 83 W.42nd Street & 12th Avenue. The Beast is a Trip Advisor 2013 Certificate of Excellence Winner. Click this link to go directly to The Beast site for ticketing and more information: http://www.circleline42.com/new-york-cruises/cruise-details.aspx?id=5