What is the water distance between New York and California?

Well, considering that there are only two primary water-routes, your answer will vary. The fastest route ships often take is through the Panama Canal. However, they will often stop at various ports of call enroute. This cruise will take about 12-13 days, depending on the length of time spent in port. Alternatively, ships can go completely around South America which will add another 8-10 days to the trek, again depending on ports of call. Bon Voyage!