As the sun makes its retreat into the horizon, the whales of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary come out to play. Their elephantine fins slap the waters with such zeal that the pod seems to be putting on a performance for the catamaran of whale watchers in their midst. This end-of-day nature show experienced by passengers aboard Boston's Best Cruises’ New England Aquarium Whale Watch is hardly a rarity, as the ship’s crews guarantee sightings of these gentle giants with each excursion.
Champions of the natural beauty of Boston Harbor and the area’s rich maritime history, Boston's Best Cruises’ expert crew sets sail on cruises to suit all manner of interest. Along with their whale watches, Boston’s Best Cruises whisks passengers away on Harbor Cruises that grant unimpeded views of the Boston skyline and the King Kongs pumping fists within its skyscrapers. The Salem Ferry facilitates leisurely cruises between Boston and the historic city, and aquatic outings to the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area enable activities such as sunset clambakes, hiking, and fishing.
In 1949, the USS Salem began its 10-year career patrolling the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. A flagship of the 6th Fleet during the Cold War era, it served as a “Lady of Diplomacy,” using its massive canons to impress ambassadors, not to fire on enemies. The ship also made headlines in 1953 when it harbored refugees from Greece following a massive earthquake.
Today permanently docked in Quincy Fore River Shipyard, the Salem is one of the last preserved naval heavy cruisers in the world. Three quarters of the ship is used to honor the history of those who served, with features including a Navy SEALs exhibit, the USS Newport News Memorial Room, and a US Navy Cruiser Sailor Memorial. In addition to memories, the Salem also hosts birthday parties and overnight adventures filled with simulated battles and real-life survival instruction. If they listen closely, visitors might even hear some of the spooky sounds that earned the ship a feature on the SyFy channel’s Ghost Hunters in 2009.
Harbor Queen Cruises' namesake cruise boat Harbor Queen slices through the sparkling waters of Narragansett Bay during daytime jaunts or evening soirees. Passengers can take to the high seas for dining and drinks during dinner or brunch cruises, or wander the two climate-controlled decks during cocktail parties. Harbor Queen Cruises makes parties memorable with the help of an onboard chef, who crafts buffet-style meals and New England–style clambakes, and a complimentary parrot for every guest’s shoulder.
Ann and Michael Martini have long shared a love and familiarity with Rhode Island's culinary landscape. Ann left her post at Rhode Island Monthly to work with chefs, restaurants, and food events, and Michael, a professional chef, has let his knives fly at upscale Rhode Island eateries for more than 25 years. Together, they bring outsiders into New England's culinary gems to sample signature dishes, tour kitchens, meet chefs, and get lucky guests’ tongues autographed. Ann coordinates each tour, then sends Michael off with up to a dozen people to receive insider access to restaurants, gourmet shops, and other palate-pleasing stops. For two hours, groups cover about 2 miles of ground at a leisurely pace. There are treats to sample at each stop—although, according to the Sun Chronicle, "What's almost as good as the food is the fact that the chefs welcome tour guests into their kitchens, which in many cases have sous chefs and other personnel beginning to prepare for dinner service."
Eco Pedicab melds eco-friendly travel with engaging urban tours. Its squad of cyclists and city guides usher riders along city streets in pedicabs that eliminate the release of harmful emissions produced by cabs or buses. Knowledgeable guides share the sights and tastes of the area during tours of historic locations, chic eateries, or local breweries. The bike pilots are also on call throughout the week to take riders for quick trips around town and to save them from having to track down a taxi or weightlifters willing to give out piggy back rides.