Cruises and Sailing

On the waterfront: Get up close and personal with the Hudson River


The sloop Ophira sails past the Saugerties lighthouse

Ahoy! What better way to experience the Hudson Valley than from the river itself — gliding past the stately mansions, riverside communities, and picturesque Catskill mountains? This year there is a new ship sailing out of Saugerties. Up to six guests can hop aboard the 44-foot-long, three-sailed Ophira for brunch, lunch, and sunset cruises. Popular destinations include the Saugerties lighthouse, Kingston’s waterfront district, and historic Catskill Point — but Captain Nicholas DeBonis can customize your cruise to include other local landmarks. You can choose to pack your own picnic or have your voyage catered by a local chef. And if just relaxing aboard a sailboat isn’t enough for you, the Ophira offers private sailing lessons and a youth sailing school for children ages eight through 18.

ophira dining

“Sailing is a really big activity on the Hudson,” says DeBonis, an active member of the Kingston Sailing Club. “We have a pretty large sailing community, and we’re looking to draw people to Saugerties for sailing.” Two-and-a-half-hour chartered trips on the Ophira range from $90-$175 per guest; sailing lessons cost $30-$35 per hour. Starting this month, cruises will set sail on weekends and weekdays by reservation. Tidbit: During the winter months, the Ophira operates as charter boat in the Caribbean (which is a 10-14 day journey from Saugerties).

Ophira Hudson River Cruises, Saugerties. 845-750-0665;

Other notable cruises

Hudson River Cruises, Kingston
The Rip Van Winkle has a lot on tap this summer, including beer samplings from Keegan Ales. The new Brew and Barbecue cruises (June 21 and September 20) feature a buffet-style dinner from Joe Beez Famous Sandwiches in Kingston and the aforementioned beer samplings — all for $40. Music cruises kick off on July 4 and continue throughout the summer. One- and two-hour sightseeing cruises take place Tuesdays through Sundays; Kids Kruises — complete with a DJ and magician — set sail on July 11 and August 8. 845-340-4700;

River Rose Tours and Cruises, Newburgh
This authentic Mississippi paddle wheeler takes riders past Bannerman’s Castle, West Point, and other iconic Valley sites, all accompanied by a narrated history of the area. The River Rose also offers Sunday brunch, dinner, and dance party cruises. 845-562-1067;

Empire State Cruise Lines, Poughkeepsie
Setting sail this summer: the Sunset Wine Cruise, complete with samples from Robibero Family Vineyards in New Paltz. If a three-course meal is more your style, check out the line’s two-and-a-half-hour dinner cruise, which departs from Waryas Park in Poughkeepsie and travels past the picturesque mansions lining the Hudson. For family fun, take a morning or afternoon sightseeing cruise on the double-decker vessel Mystère. 845-478-6396;

Hudson Cruises, Hudson
Hop aboard the double-decker Spirit of the Hudson or the cozy Little Spirit of the Hudson paddle wheeler — with room for just 15 passengers — for a Friday evening dance party, Sunday jazz cruise, or customized sightseeing trip. The company also offers tours to the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. 518-822-1014;

Hudson River Adventures, Newburgh
Take a two-hour narrated sightseeing cruise on either the Pride of the Hudson or the Pollepel, each with a stocked bar and snack bar. Check out the sunset cruise, which features relaxing music and specialty cocktails. 845-220-2120;

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