Launched in 1948 by Chicago shipwright Henry C. Grebe, the Full Moon is an antique, 65-foot motor yacht that ravels constantly. In the winters, it cruises the waters of southern Florida, but it returns to New England once it gets warmer, taking passengers on voyages throughout Boston Harbor. Onboard the Full Moon, passengers can take in skyline views and sunset vistas from the sea.
The refitted vessel features wooden decks and varnished rails, as well as intimate gathering areas and seating scattered across the boat. A sun-soaked bow presents passengers with unblocked views of the surroundings. The covered aft deck and indoor salon areas let passengers relax away from the elements.
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.
Three history buffs founded Boston Strolls with the goal of highlighting their city's fascinating and often hilarious forgotten tales. Launching in Beacon Hill, the tours have now expanded into the Back Bay and North End. Today, guides lead all tours past historic brick and stone facades, as well as the occasional Bruins shrine, and immerse participants in an interactive exploration of Boston's lesser-known history.
In addition to their sometimes dark and often humorous anecdotes, they also personalize the tour to each group by judging the knowledge base of their participants and accommodating anyone who is allergic to Boston. Even with their careful planning, the tours often take surprising turns. On one tour, a homeowner invited the group around a private wall to see the house's private garden that, in traditional Beacon Hill fashion, was completely hidden from all other passersby.
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.
Boating in Boston drops anchor at seven area locations—including local lakes, ponds, and Boston Harbor—helping visitors to undertake watery adventures with a fleet of more than 200 canoes, kayaks, sailboats, pedal boats, and paddleboards. Whether navigating the gentle eddies of Stoneham's Spot Pond or searching for the feral water-polo team rumored to inhabit Wakefield's Lake Quannapowitt, visitors can hit the water untrained or gain new proficiency with solo or group lessons. The crew of instructors also instills a love of boating in the littlest buccaneers with youth summer camps that teach basic skills and safety.