Jeff at Empire Cruise lines doesn’t treat his Hudson River Cruise company like a competition between other businesses . “It’s more like a dysfunctional family” he jokes, “We all have something to offer.”
And it’s true. Just as unique as individual people – so are the companies that give us Hudson River Cruises. Let’s find out why Empire Cruise Lines might be exactly what you’re looking for...
What’s in it for me?
A major draw factor for Empire Cruise Lines is its relationship to the train. The Poughkeepsie train station is just steps away from the dock!
This access is sweetened up with their Metro North Getaway Package, which includes tickets for both the train and cruise. Prices vary depending on where you get on, but everything’s discounted. Cruise schedules and Train schedules are also synchronized to keep you flowing.
Fun Ideas Nearby
Once you’ve arrived in Poughkeepsie NY you will find many great options to continue the fun.
Cross the Hudson at 212 feet on the Walkway over the Hudson. At 1.28 miles long, it’s the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world!
Explore The Mid Hudson Childrens Museum just a short walk across the park. Exhibits include a Hudson River Tides Water Play Table, The Great Bubble Machine, Rock Climbing Wall, a Giant Mastadon, and other fun stuff.
The museum's outreach program and Empire Cruise Lines are teaming up to offer educational activities where children can learn more about Hudson River Ecology.
begins with instruction and presentations in the museum. Then the children hop on the boat with Captain Jeff for a fun narration about the river's history.
What Jeff stresses most about his company is the food. Every couple of weeks meetings take place with his Culinary Institute of America trained chefs to develop a fresh menu that’s in tune with local farms.
If it’s not in season they don’t have it.
Empire Cruise Lines also has
close ties to Hudson Valley Wineries. Wines on board are provided
by Tousey Winery in Germantown, NY; Millbrook winery in Millbrook, NY;
and Cascade Mountain Winery in Amenia, NY.
A Party Made to Order
It’s possible to request the boat for your own private party and you can choose the theme. Empire Cruise Lines will customize their party cruises to complete your vision.
In the past they’ve done Hawaiin Luau and Wild West themes by request. Let your imagination run wild!
“We’re definitely going to ramp up our party cruises,” says Captain Jeff. Party themes will include things like a Speakeasy night and a 70s disco night.
Empire Cruise Lines will be partnering up with Shadows on the Hudson, and other riverside hot spots to bring patrons aboard and party on the water.
Let’s Meet the Crew
Empire Cruises Lines is a family venture launched in 2007 by Jeff, his wife Stephenie, and brother Richard. “It’s all about the trust,” Jeff says, “Everybody is looking out for each other – we’re all in it together.”
Working with family is not all a bed of roses, though. Jeff gripes about one thing: “You can’t fire them!” (laughs)
Together the three managed to grow a profitable business in this tough industry.
After working in the maritime industry for 30 years, Jeff decided to strike out on his own with Stephenie. His older brother, Rich - a successful entrepreneur himself - first helped out as an advisor and then fully came on board after realizing the complexity of this business.
"It Aint' Easy..."
The Hudson River Cruises business is extremely risky and heavily regulated. Because of the river’s status as an International waterway under federal jurisdiction; on any given day, Jeff and other Hudson River Cruises operators have to deal with the Army Core of Engineers, US Coast Guard, FCC and other State agencies. He says his biggest challenge is to balance state, federal, and international law.
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