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Duck Boats and Cruises

Do you like to enjoy the sea? Then you must travel to Boston and take a cruise or Duck Boat to live a unique experience. You will find different options to enjoy the sunset, a brunch, watch the marine life and much more, are you up for it?

Ana C.R.

Ana C.R.

10 min read

Duck Boats and Cruises

Vista del duck bus /©Armando Sajous

If you are looking for things to see and do in Boston, cruises and Duck Boats are what you are looking for. These tours are a fun and different way to tour the city. You will find different themes for you to choose a duck boat tour or cruise that suits your personal tastes.

For example: if you like history, the best thing to do is to take a historical cruise. You will pass by emblematic sites while the guide narrates interesting facts. If you like adventure, then you should take a fast boat trip. In case you are traveling romantically, a sunset cruise should be your plan. Which option do you prefer? Read on to find out more.

1. Boston city duck boat tour and cruise on the Charles River

Red duck boat tour of the city| ©Steve Perry
Red duck boat tour of the city| ©Steve Perry

The Duck Boats or amphibious vehicles are a very fun way to tour the city of Boston. It may seem crazy at first glance, but it is possible to travel in these vehicles through the most famous sites of Boston, and then enter the Charles River. It is an ideal option to see much of the entire city in just an hour and a half.

When you get on the boat the driver will welcome you and narrate the entire tour so you know exactly all the sites you are going to see. You will pass by iconic Boston landmarks such as the Boston Garden, the Boston Bookstore and Public Park, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum and historic buildings such as the Old State House and the Massachusetts State House.

Other sites of interest that the boat passes by include the Boston Museum of Science, the TD Garden Sports Arena and the Newbury Street Mall, among others.

Finally you will arrive at the Charles River, where you can enjoy a 20-minute ride. From there you will have incredible views of Boston and Cambridge.

This tour has a cost of approximately 55 €. In addition to the tour, this price includes multilingual audio guides so that you can understand the tour in case you do not speak English.

It should be noted that people in wheelchairs can be part of this tour because the vehicle is equipped for them. Also, assistance animals are welcome.

Details of interest

  • Price: around 55 €.
  • Duration: about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Advantages of this option: it allows you to tour the city and the Charles River in a single vehicle.
  • Disadvantages of this option: it does not include food services or snacks along the way. Also, for some people it can be a very fast ride.

Book a Duck Boat ride in Boston

2. Evening cruise with cocktails and other beverages

evening cruise| ©Pedro Figue2010
evening cruise| ©Pedro Figue2010

If you are over 21 years old and you like alcoholic drinks, this option is ideal for you. Even if you are traveling as a couple, this is one of the best things to do at night in Boston.

On this cruise you will be able to observe the beautiful lights of the city, sail on a historic ship and taste the special cocktails that the company prepares for this experience.

The tour usually takes place on historic schooners and passengers are even allowed to help hoist the sails. When the boat tour begins, you can approach the bar and place your order. Some bars offer rum and ginger cocktails, a drink that sailors used to drink. You will also find beers, wine and soft drinks.

The tour lasts two hours and costs approximately 44 €. Take advantage of the evening to relax and forget the noise of the city while watching the starry sky. The tour ends at the same meeting point, after touring Boston Harbor.

Details of interest

  • Price: about 45 ¤.
  • Duration: about 2 hours.
  • Advantages of this option: you can have an experience of yesteryear aboard a schooner while enjoying cocktails and the night sky.
  • Disadvantages of this option: it does not include food or snacks. Drinks are also not included with the purchase of the ticket.

3. Whale Watching Cruise

people on the cruise watching dolphins| ©dvorahart
people on the cruise watching dolphins| ©dvorahart

If you love to appreciate nature and be dazzled by its beauty, I recommend a whale watching cruise in Boston.

The tour is done at high speed on a catamaran through the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The cost of this tour is approximately 60 ¤ and it lasts about two hours.

On the tour you will be able to observe humpback whales, minke whales, pilot whales, fin whales and Atlantic dolphins. You will also be able to observe seabirds such as seagulls. While you observe this spectacle of nature, a guide specialized in marine life will explain interesting details about the life of these animals.

During this cruise you will sail through the open waters at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay. There is plenty of food for all these animals. These cruises have three outdoor decks from which you can observe the natural spectacle.

Details of interest

  • Price: approximately 60 €.
  • Duration: 2 hours.
  • Advantages of this option: you have the opportunity to observe many sea animals up close.
  • Disadvantages of this option: it does not include any food and the tour may be too fast for many people.

4. Historical cruise in Boston

cruise at night| ©Jennifer Boyer
cruise at night| ©Jennifer Boyer

If you love history and want to learn a little more about Boston, this cruise is for you. On board this ferry you will be able to explore the city in approximately two hours.

During this time you will be able to enjoy the narration of the guides who tell stories of sea legends, the Revolutionary War and historical figures of Boston. If you like this theme, you should also take a history tour of Boston.

On this tour you will pass by famous ships such as the Boston Tea Party, the USS Constitution, as well as the Boston Light, the oldest lighthouse in the U.S. Other sites you can admire on this cruise include the Old North Church and the Boston Floating Museum, one of the best museums in Boston.

Enjoy the views as you cruise through the Harbor Islands National Park area and Boston Harbor. From there you will see panoramic views of the city and its waterfront areas.

Details of interest

  • Price: approximately $40.
  • Duration: about 2 hours.
  • Advantages of this option: you can pass by all the historic sites in the harbor while listening to the historical facts about each of them.
  • Disadvantages of this option: does not include snacks or drinks, only the tour and narration.

Book a historic cruise in Boston

5. Brunch cruise to tour Boston

wooden table on cruise| ©Arun Sharma
wooden table on cruise| ©Arun Sharma

Every good plan should be accompanied by a good meal, don't you think? If you think like me then this is the cruise you should choose.

While you enjoy your brunch, you will be able to see the city and its historical sites from the Boston Harbor. If you still want to taste the food here, I recommend a food tour.

After the cruise begins, you can choose the food you prefer and the amount you want because they have an open buffet. Once you have chosen your favorite meal, you can head to one of the tables located on the deck. It will certainly be a memorable brunch as you will have a panoramic view of the city from there.

The cruise passes by historic sites such as Bunker Hill, the World Trade Center and the USS Constitution, the oldest serving naval vessel in the world. While you are eating you can listen to the narration of the guides to learn important details of all the sites.

At the end of your meal, you can head to the upper deck, where a DJ will play the best music for you to end the tour with a party.

No doubt this is an excellent plan if you are traveling with friends paying around 80 € for a trip of approximately two hours.

Details of interest

  • Price: around 80 €.
  • Duration: approximately 2 hours.
  • Advantages of this option: the lunch is a free buffet, so you can eat as much as you want, besides passing by historical sites and enjoying good music at a small farewell party.
  • Disadvantages of this option: it only lasts two hours, so each activity is done within a limited time.

Book a food tour of Boston

6. Sunset cruise

daytime cruise| ©Andrew Quinney
daytime cruise| ©Andrew Quinney

There is nothing more romantic than a sunset cruise. If you are looking for this kind of experience, this is the tour to book. On board this ship you will have a panoramic view of the harbor and the city, while you take a tour of approximately two hours passing by the historical sites of the area.

The sunset each night is announced by the cannon shot of the USS Constitution. On this adventure you will enjoy snacks and alcoholic or soft drinks available for purchase in your stateroom. I'm sure you will feel at ease on this trip, as the passenger count is almost always 10 to 12 people.

Sites you will see from the ferry include the Old North Church & Historic Site, the historic Navy Yard, the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, among others.

Details of interest

  • Price: about 45 ¤.
  • Duration: about 2 hours.
  • Means of transportation: ferry.
  • Advantages of this option: you can watch the sunset from the sea while having a panoramic view of the city.
  • Disadvantages of this option: drinks and snacks are not included in the entrance fee.

Book a boat ride to watch the sunset in Boston

7. Water roller coaster: boat ride at full speed

boat in motion| ©lesley doubleday
boat in motion| ©lesley doubleday

Want an experience full of adrenaline and speed? Then try the boat ride at full speed through Boston Harbor at about 65 kilometers per hour.

Many call it "the water roller coaster," as it makes twisting, ripping, and curving motions. If you're only in Boston for a day, this may be an experience you should experience.

For this adventure you should be prepared to get wet, that's part of the fun! The diesel engines provide up to 2800 horsepower for you to travel at full speed. Of course, this experience is accompanied by music to liven up the occasion. You will live a unique experience that will make you feel alive!

Keep in mind that this tour only runs from May to October, so it is one of the things you can do in Boston during the summer.

Some of these tours are movie-themed, such as the Codzilla, which emulates Godzilla and lasts at least 45 minutes and costs €40.

Details of interest

  • Price: approximately €40.
  • Duration: 45 minutes or so.
  • Advantages of this option: this experience is practically two in one as you experience the wonder of touring Boston Harbor while riding a water roller coaster.
  • Disadvantages of this option: unfortunately this is not a plan that I would recommend to everyone. If you are easily frightened, suffer from severe panic attacks and anxiety, or have heart problems, choose another, calmer type of ride.

Book your Boston Codzilla experience

How to book a Boston cruise

person at desk with laptop| ©Benjamin Dada
person at desk with laptop| ©Benjamin Dada

The most convenient way is to book the cruise you are interested in online. Normally, you will receive everything you need for the tour on your cell phone.

If you are already in the city, you can go to the port of Boston and ask at the ticket office. There you will have to find out the schedules and if there are still places, you can buy your ticket without any problem.

However, if you are traveling in a high season like summer, you probably won't get same day tickets.

Traveller Tip

Before taking a cruise, Duck Boat or any kind of tour in a foreign city, research very well all the details of the attraction. This way you will know what to expect when you arrive at the site. Also, booking your ticket in advance will allow you to be sure you will have a good experience.

What is the advantage of taking a cruise or a Duck Boat in Boston?

kid on a boat on the river| ©Kevin Waldeck
kid on a boat on the river| ©Kevin Waldeck

Cruises are a totally different way to visit a city. By traveling on the boat you can see the city from a totally different perspective.

On the other hand, Duck Boats are a different experience on their own. On them you can explore the city and the port in the same means of transportation.

In addition to the views, cruises usually have themes that give a unique touch to the trip. Some of them are about history for those who want to learn interesting facts about emblematic sites of this city.

If having something to eat is important to you, then the best options are cruises that include brunch or dinner. Another advantage of these trips is that they usually admit few people. So you can have a pleasant experience with your group of friends if you travel with them, or even socialize with other tourists. For romantic plans it is ideal to travel in small cruises because they give you a little more privacy to live an intimate and beautiful moment.

On the other hand, a cruise is an experience that you must live if you are going to stay more than three days in Boston. The other plans will not give you the same information and memorable memories that these cruises will give you.

Book a sightseeing bus tour in Boston

Comparison of the different options

Brown Duck Boat| ©David Sjunnesson
Brown Duck Boat| ©David Sjunnesson
  • Duck boat tour of the city of Boston and cruise on the Charles River- Late afternoon
  • By day
  • Cost: about 55 €.
  • Duration: about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Means of transportation: Duck Boat.
  • Evening cruise with cocktails and other beverages
  • By night
  • Cost: about 45 €.
  • Duration: approximately 2 hours.
  • Means of transportation: schooner cruise.
  • Whale watching cruise
  • In the day
  • Cost: about 60 €
  • Duration: approximately 2 hours
  • Means of transportation: catamaran cruise.
  • Historical cruise in Boston
  • In the day.
  • Cost: about 40 €.
  • Duration: about 2 hours.
  • Means of transportation: ferry.
  • Brunch cruise around Boston
  • At noon.
  • Cost: about 80 €.
  • Duration: about 2 hours.
  • Means of transportation: ferry
  • Sunset cruise in Boston Harbor
  • At sunset.
  • Cost: about €45.
  • Duration: about 2 hours.
  • Means of transportation: ferry.
  • Water roller coaster: speed boat ride
  • In the daytime.
  • Cost: about €40.
  • Duration: about 45 minutes.
  • Means of transportation: speed boat.