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“A rare experience”

Essex River Cruises & Charters
Ranked #1 of 11 things to do in Essex
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: "Enjoy a scenic river excursion that captures the essence of New England " -Boston Globe. 1 1/2 hour narrated cruises, along the calm waters of the Essex River. Glide back in time, past islands, dunes & beaches formed by glaciers. See historic mansions, shipyards, saltmarsh farms, rare birds, wildlife, and stunning scenery. Charters &Clambakes. Restroom onboard, free parking, handicaped accessible, cards taken, and bar available. We also specialize in customizable private charters, perfect for corporate outings, birthdays, weddings, celebrations, and family reunions. Our private events range from New England Clambakes or BBQs on secluded tidal beaches to cocktail cruises. All charters are unique and planned your way with a variety of catering and bar options.
Reviewed 5 April 2014

Truly a touch of nature and the guide was the best. He knew the area so well. His knowledge of the overall scene was just superb

Thank danavana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"river cruise"
in 20 reviews
"high tide"
in 18 reviews
"shore birds"
in 4 reviews
"porta potty"
in 5 reviews
"great cruise"
in 5 reviews
"salt marsh"
in 5 reviews
"relaxing trip"
in 3 reviews
"enjoy the beauty"
in 3 reviews
"crane beach"
in 7 reviews
"boat captain"
in 4 reviews
"north shore"
in 13 reviews
"bug spray"
in 5 reviews
"local history"
in 7 reviews
"beautiful scenery"
in 8 reviews
"any age"
in 3 reviews
"his knowledge"
in 3 reviews
"open ocean"
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191 - 195 of 235 reviews

Reviewed 29 September 2013

If you want to get off land and explore the stupendous beauty of the Great Marsh from inside its belly, but you don't have a boat of your own, this is the trip for you. If you've got a short attention span, need nonstop talking about historical facts galore or have the need to have seen something DRAMATIC that you could talk about during the cocktail hour months later, this is NOT the tour for you. I've lived in the area for over a decade, never done it before this morning, and decided to take advantage of the Groupon that came along. Will recommend it highly to anyone who asks in future, and ask houseguests if they'd like to give it a try. It inspired me to look further into kayaking those waters.

1  Thank GlostaH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 September 2013

Anyone spending time in the Cape Ann area and seeing signs for the Essex River Cruises & Charters might think that the cruises being advertised were for large vessels under sail. Considering the fact that the locale has a long and storied history of building ships such as schooners, that’s an easy conclusion to reach. However, that supposition is dispelled quickly when one sees the flat bottomed, canopy-covered, pontoon-type boat which provides the public cruises. The Essex River Queen (not a close cousin to Bogie’s “African Queen”) is a sturdy, craft capable of seating perhaps 20-30 passengers comfortably.

What makes this cruise so enjoyable is the ease of the trip: boarding, getting seated, exiting (and later returning to) the marina, good visibility from all seats, no high seas to contend with (save for some frothy chop stirred up by twin Mercury fuel efficient outboard motors), and a remarkable display of scenery, wildlife, beach dunes, and island dwellings. The general direction of the cruise is through the greenbelt and the marshlands and then out towards (but not actually to) the sea. The beach and dunes provide a natural barrier for this fresh water river.

On my cruise, I and fellow passengers were treated to a very enjoyable and informative commentary by young captain Dylan who handled the controls of the boat most competently while juggling a microphone for his narrative of local history and natural wildlife. His remarks were occasionally interspersed with some great PG rated humor which kept those on board chuckling or guffawing. Everyone seemed to appreciate his explanation of the restroom (the “head”), its small size and location below deck. A round of laughter ensued when he cautioned everyone that because of these factors, ladies could only use the head one at a time and not in a group. Later his shaggy dog tale of how he ended up as a clam digger and taster for a film crew doing a documentary on the area was worthy of any comedy club routine.

There were sightings of egrets, great blue herons, and other shore birds. Many of the islands in the Essex River area had visible dwellings dating back to some of the early settlers. The presence of such dwellings – and in some cases remnants of foundations – on the islands and peninsulas added to the allure of the river and its history.

There are generally three 90 minutes cruises a day from May through October. Special charter cruises can be arranged to suit almost any type of function within reason. The Essex River Cruises are really worth the time and effort to distance oneself from the “mainland” if just for an hour and a half. Getting away from the “madding crowd” and meandering the winding course of the river is highly recommended.

1  Thank Hoosiergadabout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 September 2013

The day was overcast and a little cool but the ride was very interesting none the less. Our captain shared some interesting tidbits of information.

Thank Joyce C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 September 2013

We weren't sure what the boat tour would be like or whether the rain was going to hold off until we were back on land, but everything was just perfect on a Friday in September. Dylan was an excellent guide and driver and knew the history, geography, birds and lore of the land around us which made for a very interesting trip up the river towards the Atlantic Ocean when it was low tide. I got some amazing photos of Great Blue Herons, vacant houseboats, distant shot of the Crane mansion in Ipswich and even a peddle-sailboat dragging a person on a paddleboard who did a good job of staying on through our boat's wake!

Thank abcady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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