Published on May 19th, 2011 | by Charu Suri2
Whodunnit Adventures: A Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise with Statue Cruises
We were late to the cruise. The traffic through New York city was jam thick, almost impenetrable as Fort Knox. I was anxious. I just hated to be late for anything, let alone a murder mystery cruise. What if they decided we were the victims who would be thrown overboard? Game over.
It turned out that lady luck was on our side. Armed with a prayer and a very speedy cab driver, we took the West Side Highway and made it to the Battery Park Pier at 7:10pm –JUST as the "Respect" was pulling away from the dock. I was crestfallen.
"Please let us in," I yelled amidst the purring of the engine to the very handsome but suspicious-looking "Respect" employee who was dressed in a white suit. He was about to pull the rope and ramp in.
We were lucky because we weren't the only two who were late…there were five others who seemed to have been caught in the traffic jam.
"You're lucky, you know, we were about to pull away." I saw this as a beginning of a beautiful friendship.
This was my very first invite to a murder mystery dinner cruise. My husband and I are actually really fond of murder mysteries and whodunnits. We are die-hard Monk addicts (you know, the TV series with Tony Shaloub), and have even hosted a murder mystery dinner party at our house once with great success (we turned off all the lights during the moment the victim gets shot and I blew a brown paper bag and busted it to simulate the sound of a gun shot). Guests loved it.
But I had no idea how my three-hour long dinner cruise would be. All I knew was that it was a chance to see New York City at sunset, and have dinner and drinks aboard a majestic ship called the "Respect."
On first glance, the two-level boat is large enough to accommodate banquets and bands. We were seated on the upper level, which of course, has the better view. This level has a fully-stocked bar, and as I relaxed with a gin and tonic on the deck and took in the view, I was so glad the sky was clear as a bell. The large and spacious deck really serves a souped-up New York City skyline and a hefty side of wind (notice my wind-swept hair here). I was having the time of my life because I find the water very therapeutic.
We set sail at around 7:20pm, drank in an orange fireball of a sunset, and took our place at our designated table where we were served salads. We waited for some gory announcement to usher in the whodunnit portion of the evening.
It was an impressive turnout that evening, with people from all professions and all age groups. There were high school kids who were smiling and chatting among themselves in a quiet, dimly-lit corner of the room, starry-eyed couples and professionals who looked they just punched out of Wall Street before boarding the Respect. I felt as though I was in an episode of The Amazing Race.
The MC, dressed in a policeman's outfit (his job was to tell the audience about the murder, and to help us solve it) was hilarious and had us in splits. He turned out to be a talented singer as well. The whodunnit portion of the evening started off with him announcing that the Post Master General (another talented actor) had been shot. After a series of interrogations (including pulling people from the crowd and asking them hilarious questions), the audience was left to inspect the evidence on a table and come up with the conclusion as to who committed the deed.
All the work and entertainment is pretty much done for you, and we got to enjoy a curated buffet dinner while listening to the police officer and suspects sing, dance and prove their case for innocence. If you enjoy being a bystander and like a Broadway-style performance, then you really can't beat the cruise + dinner + entertainment value for $99 (note, you do have to pay extra for drinks).
By the end of the Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise, I felt thrilled that I had not only taken some pretty beautiful photographs, but had laughed, mixed and mingled –wedding style –with a fun-loving crowd at my table.
There are only a few more dates available this summer to book the Murder Mystery Cruise on Statue Cruises:
- Saturday, May 21st, 2011
- Saturday, May 28th, 2011
- Saturday, June 4th, 2011
The tickets are $99 and can be booked online at Statue Cruises.
We ended up making some friends at our table and missed the drop off point at Battery Park City when the boat returned (our evening felt like a bookends mishap). Luckily, there are two places where you can get on and off, and the second drop off point was on Liberty Island in New Jersey, very close to the Light Rail that takes us directly back to Weehawken.
As we walked back home, we realized we had seen the entire skyline in the span of four hours and felt as though we had gone to the theatre district and back. And, I'm also so glad we weren't thrown overboard.
- Charu Suri; photographs by Matthew Minucci
Disclosure: Statue Cruises provided us with two tickets for the cruise.