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Review of Harbor Tours

Harbor Tours
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Come aboard and enjoy a fascinating tour of Cape Ann's scenic coastline. Our "Lighthouse Cruise" features up-close views of the six lighthouses on the Island; Or tour America's Oldest Seaport and see a "lobstering" demonstration on our "Harbor Tour". Also, the Gloucester Harbor Water Shuttle and Tour. Hop-on/hop-off. Ticket valid all day. Try our catamaran for a delightful ride around the inner harbor. Discover Gloucester, let us take you there!
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase
Level 6 Contributor
45 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 September 2013

Exploring Gloucester’s Inner Harbor by bicycle or car is a relatively easy affair. Walking will take considerably longer but is also doable – if you have the better part of the day. Begin at the Harbor Loop downtown, proceed easterly on Rogers Street and then follow East Main Street in clockwise fashion all the way to Rocky Neck, a cultural hub of the area including its many art galleries. Along the way, be prepared to explore numerous side streets offering unique perspectives: businesses, restaurants, a huge dry dock marine repair operation, warehouses, homes, wharves, marinas and other unique harbor buildings. If you don’t, you’re apt to miss the heart and soul of the harbor. From Rocky Neck especially, the view of Gloucester’s rising skyline punctuated by the occasional church spire and wind turbine is very rewarding.

The ramble along the water’s edge is tantamount to looking from the outside in. What if one wanted to reverse the vista and examine the many components of Gloucester’s Inner Harbor from the inside out, by viewing the usual scenery from the water? If a person wanted that inside-out perspective, then the Harbor Shuttle provides the best means to see the Inner Harbor on closer inspection.

The Shuttle departs from the Harbor Loop pier and circumnavigates the Inner Harbor making stops at several points along the way. Passengers wishing to get off and explore the area on foot can re-board the Shuttle on its next loop stopover. That might mean waiting an hour or so. Round trip Shuttle tickets cost $10 and are good for the day for an unlimited number rides and stopovers.

When one is out on the water of the Inner Harbor looking towards shore, everything gains added dimension and particularly detail as one might expect. The positioning of piers, wharves and buildings relative to the shore, the cluster colonies of recreational craft plying the harbor waters and moored until the next outing, the colorful buoys and markers which line the transit lines of the harbor, and the architectural lines of buildings are so much different looking from the inside out.

What makes the close inspections about the Inner Harbor truly humbling is comparing the size of the Shuttle to its larger hulled compadres. Tankers and freighters, cruise ships, fishing vessels with all their mechanical accoutrements, and the larger masted sailing craft simply dwarf the Shuttle. The latter seems like a water bug by contrast.

The Shuttle’s loop about the Inner Harbor and Smith’s Cove at Rocky Neck is not narrated but the captain and his mate are quite willing to answer any questions that might arise. The round trip takes about an hour as advertised. Depending on those who are waiting to board at various stopovers or those passengers looking to disembark, the Shuttle will put in at the various dock landings. Bring a sweatshirt, jacket or sweater as the temperature can drop when out on the open water.

The general impression of the Inner Harbor as seen from the water is how busy it is with all manner of water craft and work activities being performed by those involved in maritime pursuits. Another unmistakable observation is how closely the lives of those who live and work around and on the harbor are wed. Houses perched at all angles on the steeper slopes and hills of the harbor are fascinating. That busyness – that complexity -- is not as apparent from a walkabout along the water’s edge. There’s a lot to be said for closer inspections.

Next time you’re in the Gloucester area, schedule time for the Harbor Shuttle. An appreciation of the interlinked web of activity and life that is the Inner Harbor is bound to occur.

Visited September 2013
2 Thank Hoosiergadabout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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85 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Reading, Pennsylvania
Level 5 Contributor
36 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Fun on the Water”
Reviewed 25 August 2013

Who knew Cape Ann was actually an island! Fun ride on the water circling and viewing the 6 lighthouses from low on the water. Informative guides give you a local taste. Boat is small and low on the water so best on a calm day.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Sharsha19604
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Albany, New York
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“fun on the water”
Reviewed 19 August 2013

Nice trip to see the other side of Cape Ann. Somewhat long but when weather is nice, you don't seem to notice. Seating not too comfortable. The crew were pleasant and entertaining. Scenery was great and seeing the floating houses was interesting. Would recommend this for adults and older children. Great to go under the draw bridge.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank judy k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Hampshire
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Enjoyable and relaxing afternoon”
Reviewed 15 August 2013

We took the 2.5 hour lighthouse tour. Due to very rough water we were unable to do the Cape Ann circuit, but the tour we took was excellent. We went through the inner and outer harbor and up the Annisquam River. It was a lovely afternoon. The scenery was interesting and we enjoyed going under the drawbridge. Captain Steven was a bit grumpy but Patrick, the mate, was very friendly and sociable. The narration was adequate but Patrick provided us with a lot of extra information and answered a lot of our questions. Very well worth the fare. The boat is old, and the available snacks are bags of chips and cans of soda. It's better to bring your own.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank dswgr6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
West Chester, PA
Level 6 Contributor
164 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Water shuttle fun”
Reviewed 11 August 2013 via mobile

Easy way to see a lot while on the water or land. Easy on and off. Captain even entertained the children on board.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank padingo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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