NYC Experts Attention--Which Grey Line Tour?

Apr 21st, 2007, 12:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 35
NYC Experts Attention--Which Grey Line Tour?

Do I do the all loops, or another tour? I am leaning toward the Downtown loop more than the others. Has anyone done NYC and used a Grey Line Tour? Also, what is the very best way to see Ellis Island?
livitup is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 12:41 PM
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If the weather is pleasant, any of the loops are terrific. Over July 4th, it could be unbearably hot and sunny on the open air upper deck. It's breezy when the bus is moving, but awful when the bus is stuck in traffic for a bit or requires a few light changes to get through an intersection.

But, when the weather is nice, the loops are probably the very best way to enjoy the scenery, the neighborhoods, and be able to see to the tops of the tall buildings.

If you plan to hop off at a few stops, it's best to do only one loop per day. Try not to get caught up in buying more loops than you can actually enjoy while your ticket is valid.

If you get an early start, it's nice to ride all the way around before getting off at any of the stops.

Note that you should have a detailed map of the city with you as the brochure map leaves off a lot of streets, and you may want to find your way to another stop if you get off and wander around a distance.

Do you want to just see Ellis Island, or visit?
djkbooks is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 12:44 PM
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Do the All Loop Tour. It is good for 48 hours and is on $49 per person. I think a single loop is $35.
Apr 21st, 2007, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Several years ago, my friends and I took a Greyline tour from NYC to the Vanderbilt Mansion and FDR home. It wasn't until we were on our way on the bus, that we found out it was really a commuter bus, so there were many stops along the way, particulary where most people got off at an large outlet mall area. They then dropped us off for pretty much the rest of the day, we did the Vanderbilt tour, had to walk to the FDR home and take a taxi(Charles Manson on his first day as a driver) to the little restaurant where we were to have the provided lunch....we then waited for about three hours for the bus to return us to the city. Our little group became friends throughout the ordeal and most were really livid that it wasn't explained exactly what this Greyline tour really was...quite a mess! The first thing we usually do when we get to a larger city is take the Greyline tour so we can get the lay of the land, but I'm alot more cautious now.
desertduds is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 03:15 PM
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We got the All Loop Tour (48 hours) our first trip to NYC. I was very happy we did this since it gave us an overview of the city. Especially the uptown tour, since we wouldn't have seen any of the places far uptown (like Harlem, etc)if we hadn't done that. We stayed on that bus for almost the whole loop, getting off at Central Park and Fifth Avenue. We got on again later in the day and took it back to Central Park. The next day we took the downtown bus and got off at Battery Park to take a harbor cruise. After walking around Ground Zero, etc. we hopped back on it and took it to South Seaport where we then got on the Brooklyn tour bus.

Our guides were good, the weather was excellent (May), but it was still a little cold on the top for some of the trip. If the weather is not good, I don't think the tour is worth it if you have to sit inside the bus. I also don't think it is a good way to travel around the city. The bus gets stuck in traffic and they stop at a certain time (I think around 5 or 6). I wouldn't bother with the Brooklyn tour unless you really want to see it --found it very uninteresting. The night tour was included also, but we didn't go on that one either. You get tired of sitting on a bus. Just my opinion, but if you are only going to do the downtown loop, I think it is more fun to walk and take subways or cabs in that part of the city.

You asked about Ellis Island -- the only way to get off at Ellis Island is the Circle Line Tour. (unless something has changed). You can see it from the Staten Island Ferry (assuming there isn't fog -- which we had), but we took one of the harbor cruises and it passed very close if you just want pictures of it.

There is absolutely no need to buy tickets for the Grey Line Tour before you go. They are selling them on the street corners in Midtown, at the Visitor Centers and we could buy them from the bus drivers when we went.

A friend took the Grey Line Tour that had the Ellis Island tour included. She really liked that, and someone said that you don't have to wait in line as long if you do it that way. That was her opinion also.
maj is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 05:59 PM
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I think many New Yorkers will tell you not to do the bus tours. The spiel is sometimes hard to understand and not very informative/inaccurate. And the only way to see anything is from the top - not good if it's hot or rainy.

Separately, I'm not sure exactly what areas they cover - but I see them in my neighborhood all the time - which is strictly residential. And there are the tourists snapping away to get photos of me and my neighbors going to the bank or the drug store or the Starbucks. What a waste of time that could be spent actually seeing or doing something (a major museum or Top of the Rock - or just get out on the street and see what the city is really like).

As for the Hop On/Off buses - there have been numerous reports of long waits to get back on - since the bus just doesn;t appear (stuck in traffic) or is full when it gets there (and tourists expect a seat - unlike New Yorkers who know most of the time you have to stand in the subway or bus).

I know people say they're doing this for an overview - and that's fine if you're here a week or more - but if you have only a couple days - IMHO a waste of valuable time.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 09:23 PM
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Just last week we did the Uptown loop the Brooklyn loop and part of the Downtown loop. We enjoyed the Uptown loop went to the Central Park area, and into Harlem which I found very interesting, it was also a nice fine day which added to the appeal. However when we did the Downtown loop/Brooklyn loop it was very cold up top, it seemed to take ages as there was lots of traffic and we didn't enjoy this nearly as much. You can hop on,hop off the bus then you end up waiting for the next bus, we gave up and walked from the Staten Island ferry drop off to South St Seaport. As other Fodorites have suggested in the past, learn to navigate the Subway if you want to get to a particular area in the shortest amount of time.
nelsonian is online now  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 06:23 AM
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nytraveler, why would you tell someone to not do something you yourself have never done?

It isn't true that the Greyline bus is uncomfortable in the heat.
Apr 23rd, 2007, 06:57 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
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Here is my experience that I posted from last summer.

Author: Christine65
Date: 07/25/2006, 11:56 am
I was really disappointed w/Grayline. If you take this tour (we did the Downtown Loop) you have to get on and off to really see anything. It says it stops at the World Trade Ctr. site but the actual stop is on the other side of the church where you can't see any of WTC. I took my out of town relatives (in total 9 of us--5 kids under age 10) the kids were too tired to get on and off and the chance of getting 9 people back on and to be able to sit on top would've been practically impossible. The lines at the stops were very long. You basically whiz by all of the things you'd like to see-- My biggest complaint was that is was a rainy day and as I forgot to ask for the 'free' rain ponchos at the main office place where we got our tickets(I booked online) so I ask one of the guys in the red vests at the bus stop if we could have ponchos---he was so busy blowing kisses to a couple of female tourists that he ignored me, then told me NO I couldn't have any. I then asked another red vest and he did get them for me but wanted me to pay 5$ apiece for them--I said "Ya right" and he handed them over.
I took another set of relatives on the Party Shuttle about a month ago and it was a much more pleasant experience. My only complaint on that tour is that you can't see as much looking up because you are in an enclosed bus. It is much more expensive but you stay on the same bus when it makes it's stops, the guide gets off and explains the sites, you get free water and pop, and it includes the ferry to Staten Island so you get to see the Statue of Liberty.
So my vote is for the Party Shuttle!!!!!

Christine65 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:19 AM
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I took my kids on the NYC Party Shuttle a couple weeks ago. I cannot tell you how much nicer a tour it is than the large impersonal buses. We had 32 in our group. Our guide got out with us. He kept us together on the Staten Island ferry and told stories and answered questions all day. We were in a small, comfortable van with huge windows. They provided beverages and answered many, many personal questions. It was the highlight of our trip.
LLindaC is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:25 AM
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I made the mistake of taking a similar bus tour in London - since it was part ofa package - and gave up after about an hour -since it was such a waste of time. (To the left is Buckingham Palace, to the right is Westminster Abbey. Who wants to look at the outside through a bus window? I want to go inside and see what is really interesting.)

There have been numerous reports of people having "guides" that are unintelligable - and of very long waits for hop on/off buses - often due to the very heavy traffic rampant in Manhattan. (Then you can spend several traffic lights inching forward while looking at delis or supermarkets or banks or ???.)

As for my opinion - well - that's what it is. Why sit on a bus just loooking at the outsides of a city (some areas of which have little interest) when you can be actually seeing the sights and doig the activities?

I understand in an area of natural beauty that a bus tour may make sense - as long as their are stops to get up close on the way. But - for a city - I think it just prevents you from doing things that are much more valuable/enjoyable.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:50 AM
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I admit that the information given was erroneous but the sites are fantastic.

It is a great overview of NYC. You really should try it sometime.

I've taken loads of friends and relatives and they've all loved it.

FWIW I've never lived in Manhattan but for about three years straight I spent about ten days a month working there.

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