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“No Manatees But Good Scenery”

Manatee Scenic Tour Boat
Ranked #7 of 16 Tours in Ponce Inlet
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Attraction details
Owner description: We are a scenic tour boat offering 2 hour narrated cruises along the Intracoastal waterway. Indoor and outdoor seating. Bathroom on board. Soft drinks and snacks available.
Reviewed 13 October 2013

For almost two hours you get a guided tour of the Halifax River down to New Smyrna Beach and back. Lots of very nice homes to see. Well worth the money, especially if you see dolphins as we did.

1  Thank NormanP862
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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29 - 33 of 39 reviews

Reviewed 3 September 2013

Instead of yet another afternoon hanging out by the pool or hot beach, we decided to spend one of the afternoons of our recent Daytona trip on a scenic boat cruise. I knew from my previous visits to Inlet Harbor Restaurant (see my somewhat older review on that) that there was a sightseeing cruise that launched from the restaurant's marina, so we reserved some seats with intent to dine in the restaurant afterward.

The boat isn't a luxury yacht, but it does the trick. Both covered and exposed seating is available, as are relatively cheap refreshments and a bathroom for emergencies. (Although none of my family had to use it, I would probably advise using the bathroom in the restaurant lobby before departure.) Small fans are mounted inside the covered area for circulation on stagnant days, which are rare in the Daytona area; the slight-to-moderate breeze that day did a much better job of keeping us cool.

The cruise is approximately two hours along the Halifax River, south to one of New Smyrna Beach's bridges, then back north. This gives people sitting on each side of the boat a good chance to see both sides of the river. As most of the houses line one side of the river, this is a good thing.

And interesting houses they are, both visually and in terms of ownership; actresses, musicians, sports personalities, and CEOs of well-known companies own or have owned properties along the route. The first mate points out these and other neat buildings and sights.

Unfortunately, we didn't see any manatees on this cruise, but we did encounter a small pod of dolphins, along with plenty of pelicans, egrets, and other waterfowl. We also cruised in the inlet itself and along the rock jetty leading out to the Atlantic Ocean (but not entering the ocean proper).

All in all, it was a moderately interesting way of passing time to do at least once. As is stated in another user's previous review, animal watchers may want to research migration patterns if they want to maximize their chances at spotting manatees.

2  Thank dXTC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2013

The captain and first mate are fun and entertaining. Although it was cool to see the dolphins, we have seen them lots of times in the ocean and were disappointed that we didn't see any manatees. They weren't even mentioned during the cruise and I even called the day before and had a discussion with the woman who answered before making our reservation. She said she rode out to see about 7 of them beached and that they were everywhere. We did enjoy the cruise and would have gone anyway if she would have honestly stated that the manatees aren't always seen.

Thank pierce96
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2013

I have been on this tour in the past and I am planning to take my grand kids again today.

In reading some of the posts below, I really wonder how some of these people mange to turn on their computers to even make
a post in the first place. One comments that the outside deck seating was hot - you are in Florida in the heart of summer - outside on the deck of a boat in water that reflects the sun. What exactly did you expect? Another complained that the manatee had migrated out of the area. A simple search on the internet would have told you about migration habits. But there are other sea life in the river, and our guide went out of his way to try to find as many as he could.
The best one was the person who called the tour Ridiculous. So you call for 1:00 tickets - but didn't buy them. You show up just 15 minutes before the boat is scheduled to leave and find that it has sold out - but tickets are available for 4:00. So did you buy your tickets - NO - you go shopping and to eat and come back just 15 minutes before the 4:00 tour - and Surprise Surprise - they 4:00 boat is sold out. And now you slam the tour with a one ball - DID IT EVER OCCUR TO YOU TO JUST BUY THE TICKETS????? How did you even find the place if you can't figure out something as simple as PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE?

The cruise is several hours long, and you should bring some small bills in cash if you want to purchase any of the refreshments for sale on the boat. The sight seeing is very interesting while going to the areas that are best for viewing, as you go past some incredible homes. The guide would slow the boat and even circle back when he spotted manatee or dolphins, so that you could get a good view or take photos. But understand, he can not get right up on top of the animals, for fear of injuring them.
Take sun screen if you are sensitive to the sun, or just unaccustomed to the intensity of the Florida sun. There is shade inside the covered section of the boat.

The gift shop has some interesting mementos, and other items. And the restaurant is first class - although not the cheapest place to eat. it did have a kid friendly menu when we were there.

All in all - I would recommend this cruise to anyone who is interested in seeing these amazing animals.

5  Thank s1mcgoo1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2013

The tour guide and captain were very friendly, but we visited in mid-February and they didn't tell us until halfway through the tour that manatees migrate out of the area that time of year. It said nothing about the migration on their website, when we purchased the tickets, or at the beginning of the tour. It was only $25 for 2 hours which is still nice for a tour of ponce inlet, but they shouldn't call it Manatee Scenic Boat Tours.

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

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