Statue City Cruises Wins Contract to Continue Ferry Service to State of Liberty, Ellis Island

Statue City Cruises was recently awarded a 10-year contract with the National Park Service (NPS) to continue providing ferry service to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.

Photo by William Warby from London, England, CC via Wikimedia Commons

Statue City Cruises, part of the City Experiences portfolio, has operated the service for more than 15 years. The new contract begins March 1, 2024.

“We look forward to continuing our close working relationship with Statue City Cruises,” said John Piltzecker, Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island superintendent.

“Ferry service is an integral and essential part of our operation. Statue City Cruises has provided tens of millions of visitors with safe, efficient ferry service for the past 15 years, and we look forward to another decade of dependable ferry access to Liberty and Ellis Islands for millions of visitors annually,” Piltzecker added.

How NPS Contracts are Awarded

Concession contracts are subject to fair and open competition without preferential right of renewal for the incumbent, according to rules as set by The National Park Service Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998. Bids are evaluated and awarded through a competitive process.

In 2022, 3.1 million park visitors spent an estimated $207 million in local gateway regions while visiting Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. These expenditures supported a total of 2,250 jobs, $124 million in labor income, $201 million in value-added, and $304 million in economic output in local economies. 

Busy Travel Season for Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

The new contract comes as travel to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island approaches pre-pandemic visitation levels, according to a statement from City Experiences, which represents Hornblower Group’s portfolio of water- and land-based experience companies.

Visitation on board Statue City Cruises is currently at 87 percent of pre-pandemic levels with several days so far this year exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Historically, visitation has averaged more than four million annual visitors, including an all-time high 4.6 million visitors in 2016.

Ellis Island.

“On behalf of Statue City Cruises, we appreciate the opportunity to continue to deliver first rate hospitality and create amazing experiences for guests on board our vessels to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island,” said Mike Burke, COO of Concessions & Park Services for City Experiences.

“We sincerely thank the National Park Service for their continued trust and confidence,” Burke added.

Statue City Cruises Experiences

Statue City Cruises will continue to provide world class experiences to locals and visitors from two convenient departure points at Battery Park in lower Manhattan and Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Battery Park

Visitors will get to enjoy the rich culture and history of the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration and the Statue of Liberty Museum. The pedestal and crown of the Statue of Liberty completely reopened in October 2022.

The Lift to Pedestal Observation Level (6P) is closed until further notice, according to the NPS. The lift from the pedestal elevator at Level 5P up to Level 6P is down for emergency repairs. There are 26 stairs from the elevator at Level 5P up to the top of the pedestal (Level 6P).

About Hornblower Group

Hornblower Group is a global leader in experiences and transportation. Hornblower Group’s corporate businesses are comprised of three premier experience divisions: American Queen Voyages®, its overnight cruising division; City Experiences, its land and water-based experiences as well as ferry and transportation services; and Journey Beyond, Australia’s leading experiential travel group.

Spanning a 100-year history, Hornblower Group’s portfolio of international offerings includes water-based experiences (dining and sightseeing cruises), land-based experiences (walking tours, food tours and excursions), overnight experiences (cruises and railways) and ferry and transportation services. .

About City Experiences

City Experiences represents Hornblower Group’s expansive portfolio of water- and land-based experience companies and includes two sub-brands: City Cruises and City Ferry.

City Cruises companies operate dining, sightseeing and private events across 22 destinations in the U.S., Canada and the UK. City Cruises companies also operate cruises on behalf of the National Park Service and the Niagara Parks Commission and currently hold service contracts to provide ferry service to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, Alcatraz Island and Niagara Falls.

About the National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 425 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.

Cindy Capitani is the Communications & Content Manager at the Meadowlands Chamber. Send press releases and inquiries to