JUNE 14, 2017—Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises’ fleet of iconic green, white and red sightseeing vessels are as much a part of New York Harbor as the Statue of Liberty. Over the past 70 plus years, Circle Line Cruises says it has hosted over 80 million passengers, many of them tourists who are getting their first glimpse of the Big Apple.
Now, it is adding a series of three new 600-passenger ferries, the first two of which were christened yesterday by actress Brooke Shields and a representative from New Heights Youth, a non-profit sports-based youth development and educational organization based in New York. Ms. Shields, best remembered for her early modeling and movie career in the late seventies and eighties, has enjoyed a revival in recent years as a TV comedy star, including the new Pop TV show, Nightcap.
Part of the new Empire Class, the two new boats were christened The Circle Line Staten Island and the Circle Line Bronx. The Empire Class of sightseeing vessels were built by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, Somerset, MA. The third vessel, the Circle Line Liberty, will be delivered either late summer or early fall.
Like three earlier vessels delivered by the shipyard to Circle Line in 2009, the new 600-passenger all-steel vessels are designed by naval architects DeJong and Lebet, Jacksonville, FL. Each ferry measures 165 feet in length with a 34-foot beam.
With a top speed of 14 knots, each boat is propelled by two Cummins QSK-38M1 main engines, delivering a total of 2,600 hp, that drive two 60-inch, five-bladed bronze propellers via ZF W3355 gear boxes.
For dockside maneuvering, each vessel is equipped with a 125 hp Wesmar bow thruster, powered by an electric motor.
The christening ceremony began with welcome remarks from Circle Line CEO and Chairman Samuel Cooperman and Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation President Peter Duclos, as well as speeches from keynote speakers Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.
“The Empire Class culminates the replacement of the Circle Line fleet of ships that began nine years ago with the delivery of three Borough Class ships,” said Samuel Cooperman, CEO and Chairman of Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. “The new class, while maintaining the iconic yacht hull of the Circle Line brand, is otherwise a significant departure from previous generations.”
The new Empire Class boats incorporate significant enhancements over the existing fleet of sightseeing boats. Improvements include three deck levels, first class sound systems, and more expansive windows to maximize passengers’ viewing experience.