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When it comes to cruises, there's a fine line between luxe and Love Boat. That's why we're fans of Hornblower, a San Francisco-based charter company best known for its elegant yachts with high-end amenities.

Lucky for New Yorkers who want a little glamour on the high seas, the company just docked at the long-vacant Pier 40. In 2012, Hornblower will offer sunset dinner cruises up the Hudson, historic tours ($17) and tailor-made excursions. (We have always wanted to ring in a birthday aboard a private yacht.) We're impressed by the fleet's gleaming wraparound windows, rich hardwood floors and gourmet catering.

Particularly intriguing is the inaugural New Year's Eve cruise, which departs from Pier 40 at 9 p.m. and sails around the New York Harbor until 1:30 a.m. (just enough time away from Manhattan's overzealous crowds). The $350 ticket includes locally sourced food, a top-shelf open bar, live entertainment and a midnight fireworks show.

For the woman who wants to be far away from Times Square when the clock strikes 12 but still wake up in her own bed on January 1, this sounds like the best deal in town.

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