New Year’s Eve aboard the Hornblower Hybrid

[media-credit name=”Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer ” align=”aligncenter” width=”600″][/media-credit]

When the party ended at 1:30 a.m., many guests on the Hornblower Hybrid seemed reluctant to leave the vessel with its floor-to-ceiling glass windows, capacious decks and music that got almost everyone — with and without partners — onto the dance floor.

BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER  |  Ablaze in blue L.E.D. lights, a yacht called the “Hornblower Hybrid” left the dock in Battery Park around 9:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve for a celebratory spin around New York harbor. The $7 million vessel is the cutting edge in “green” sea-going design, powered by hydrogen fuel cells, solar panels and wind turbines that minimize dependence on fossil fuels. The interior of the 600-passenger ship utilizes recycled materials where possible and has been fitted with energy-efficient windows. The L.E.D. lights require a fraction of the energy of standard bulbs.

“The vessel is the first commercial hybrid in North America,” said Annie Drury, a spokesperson for Hornblower Cruises & Events, which commissioned the vessel. The New Year’s Eve cruise was the Hybrid’s first official outing.

The Hornblower Hybrid is equipped with an L.E.D. lighting system that utilizes a fraction of the energy required by standard bulbs and provides a festive atmosphere.

Most of the guests on the cruise probably didn’t realize that their ship of the evening was unique and that she might be the forerunner of others like her that could diminish the toll of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment. They signed up for a good time and that’s what they got, starting when they were greeted on board with glasses of champagne.

Non-stop food and an open bar contributed to the festivities. The panorama of the city unfolded through floor-to-ceiling windows. The night was relatively balmy and the spacious decks beckoned those who wanted a closer look at the city’s bridges and skyline. Just before midnight, most people went out on deck to watch the fireworks over the Statue of Liberty, clapping and cheering. Back inside, a DJ spun music that eventually lured almost everyone to the dance floor, with and without partners. Hugs, smiles and kisses seemed to indicate that the evening was a huge success. When 1:30 a.m. rolled around and the ship was back at the dock, some people clearly didn’t want to leave.

The Hybrid will be berthed at Liberty State Park for the next few months and eventually, at Pier 40 in Manhattan. It is currently available for charters and will begin offering public cruises in the spring.
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