Are you heading to the big apple and excited to head over to take a look at the Statue of Liberty? The iconic statue is a must-see in New York City, and I just got home after three days in the gorgeous city where I had a great time and enjoyed seeing so many gorgeous historic sites, however, I feel compelled to share an experience, my son and I had to hopefully help others avoid the disaster we encountered when trying to visit lady liberty. So, let’s jump right into Visiting the Statue of Liberty: Don’t Get Scammed by TOURS R US!
Friday morning my son and I were excited to get up early and tackle the NYC subway to visit the 9/11 memorial site and then head down to South Ferry and Battery Park to go visit the Statue of Liberty. After we saw the 9/11 memorial and wandered around the area a little bit taking it all in and remembering we decided it was time to head down to the subway and make our way to our next destination. Now, keep in mind the two major attractions I wanted to see while doing this trip was Central Park (and the zoo) and The Statue of Liberty. So I was beyond stoked and ready to get down there.
We rode the subway not many stops more and got off at South Ferry. When we came up and out of the station we were met by FOUR greeters wearing the same matching ferry jackets (I believe they were red!) and one lovely man came up to us asking if we had already gotten our tickets and I said no can you point us in the right direction. He said sure but also proceeded to tell us that if we walked right we’d arrive at the three-hour tour of lady liberty and would also have to wait through a 1.5-hour security clearance or we could go left and do a 1-hour tour that was pretty straight forward. Of course, I looked at my son and we both agreed 1 hour – we still had so many other sights to see in NYC. WHAT A MISTAKE.
The young man was super lovely, chatting to us about visiting from Canada and saying he had people yesterday from Canada. Very charming. He took us around the corner to sit on the ledge of a garden. Telling us it would be $40 each for the ticket and we’d get a free shuttle to the boat. (this should have been a red flag to me. I knew we were at the location to be catching the boats, why would we need a shuttle? but I missed it entirely)
I paid, and we waited. More people kept coming, older, younger, couples, friends, there was about 30 of us sitting and waiting. I looked at our tickets and they read TOURS R US said boats would leave at 11:30 / 12:30 etc etc on the front a free drink was crossed off, and on the back the phone number was crossed off. This should have been another red flag but I didn’t think.
We finally got on the bus, and I decided to google TOURS R US. I’m glad I did. Every review I read on Trip Advisor was bad. BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD. I’ll show you a few:
So here is how our experience was:
When the bus finally showed up we all piled on and off we went. Within 10 minutes people started wondering where we were going, the girl in front of us asked us if we knew where the boat was we said yes, it appears on our tickets it shows it’s in New Jersey. I also pointed out that we had just googled, found 200+ reviews calling this a scam and for her to check it out. She did. She was furious. Others began to question, an older lady who was enjoying her only day in NYC asked the bus driver how much longer “5 minutes” “5 minutes” he replied. About 15 minutes later (and about 40 minutes after getting on the bus) we finally pull up in a run-down boatyard where a guy came walking over to our bus. He told the driver “55 minutes!” and all of us were like huh? He got on the bus with a nasty attitude saying we had just missed the boat it just left and we’d have to wait 55 minutes for it to return and get on it.
People were fed up. The girl in front of me stood up and told him, “Sir! Most of us have looked up this company and know it some sort of scam…” he interrupted her very rudely and went on about how we were late the boat left at 12:30 and no communication from the driver or ticket agents. I tried to ask questions but he would yell over me, others on the bus said to take us back! We aren’t waiting! We had read this had happend to previous people, or they’d wait there up to 5 hours for a boat that never showed, the boat came but was so rusted, old and unsafe. We were all in disbelief. By this time it had started to pour rain. I was concerned about getting my $80 back because not only would I not be seeing the Statue of Liberty at all I felt completely taken advantage of and was going to demand my money back.
The bus driver took us back to Manhattan but not the location he picked us up. instead he dropped us off where we could see the Statue from a far. No ticket agents in sight and I had no idea how to get back to that area on foot to confront them. So, this was the only shot I got of lady liberty:
And I am still out the $80.
I am posting this as a warning as I found out too late, and didn’t realize there was other tickets or boats that try to take you to the Statue. As an older lady pointed out on the bus, we all thought because of their official-looking vests and the fact they stood right at the South Ferry – it was all legit and official. It’s not. STAY far away from TOURS R US. Stay away from anyone selling tickets. Go up to the window at South Ferry or purchase online through authorized dealers. Here is the link to the current 226 horrid reviews of this company.
- You can do the actual Statue of Liberty tour which you can learn about and buy tickets for here. Tickets are starting at $18.50 for adults, $9.00 for children, and $14 for seniors. Note this tour does take 3 hours but will be worth it as it’s official and not a scam.
- Take the Staten Island ferry. It goes right past the statue. Runs every 30 minutes and is very quick at 25 minutes long. The best part? IT’S FREEEEEEE. For more info on that click here.
Have experience with TOURS R US? Would you like to see it included here? Email me!
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more of my NYC trip coming up!