Whether it’s the ocean, a great river or a major lake, some of the world’s most popular cities have been shaped by their proximity to water. And for many visitors, the water remains the best place to start exploring.
With a range of sightseeing cruises and vessels available, experts at the Leisure Pass Group, have recommended six of the best cities for visitors to discover from the deck of a boat.
London: See Big Ben and much more from the River Thames
London was built on the commercial opportunities offered by the River Thames, and many of the major sights of the city still line the riverbanks. With the London Pass visitors get a 24-hour ticket to explore the river between Westminster and the maritime borough of Greenwich aboard the hop-on/hop-off Thames river boats, providing great views of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, The Shard and the Cutty Sark, among many other attractions. Hop off at piers at the London Eye and Tower Bridge for a closer look at local sights!
Usually priced at £18.75 per adult, the 24-hour Thames River Boat Cruise ticket is included with the London Pass.
Paris: Explore the heart of the city from the River Seine
Despite stretching for 483 miles across northern France, the River Seine is most closely associated with Paris, which began as a third century tribal settlement on what is now the Île de la Cité. The popular Paris Pass includes a one-hour Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise, departing from the Eiffel Tower, showcasing the historic heart of the city. Sail beneath the Pont Neuf and enjoy spectacular views of iconic attractions including Notre Dame Cathedral, the Tuileries gardens, the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay.
Usually priced at €15 per adult, the Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise is included with the Paris Pass.
New York: Thrill to a legendary skyline from the water
New York City’s naturally sheltered harbour made it the ideal trading center and entry point for immigration to the New World. Nearly four centuries after the founding of the first permanent settlement, the harbour and Hudson River are still the best way to see the legendary skyline. New York Pass holders can embark on the ultimate ferry adventure aboard a Hop-On-Hop-Off Water Taxi, enjoying a 90-minute loop with views of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and Freedom Tower, and up-close photo-opportunities at the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge.
Usually priced at $37 per adult, a 24-hour New York Water Taxi ticket is included with the New York Pass.
Chicago: Tall ships and pirates on Lake Michigan
Chicago grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan as another important strategic trading centre, and its location continues to define the city today. From the water Chicago’s varied architecture and impressive skyline are easy to admire, but for a fun and different experience visitors using the Go Chicago Card can board the tall ship Windy on a themed sail. Here you’ll learn the stories of Lake Michigan’s pirates – from ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, who terrorised fishing vessels and lumber ships in the early 1700s, to the 20th century’s ‘Roaring’ Dan Seavey, who eventually turned from his nefarious ways to become a US Marshal!
Usually priced at $33.60 per adult, the Tall Ship Windy cruise is included with the Go Chicago Card.
Boston: Cruise the historic Inner Harbour and cosy up to ‘Old Ironsides‘
Boston’s growth as a city was built on its harbour, which attained lasting fame as the site for one of the seminal moments in US history – the Boston Tea Party of 1773. Take a fully-narrated 45-minute tour of the harbour with the Go Boston Card and see several sites associated with the American Revolutionary struggle, including the Old North Church, Charlestown’s Bunker Hill Monument and the Boston Tea Party replica ships. But the highlight is the chance to get up close and personal with the USS Constitution (fondly known as ‘Old Ironsides’ after withstanding every cannon shot it took in the War of 1812) at her home in the Charlestown Navy Yard.
Usually priced at $25.15 per adult, the USS Constitution Cruise is included with the Go Boston Card.
New Orleans: A paddlewheeler cruise into America‘s most diverse city
New Orleans’ position on the Mississippi River Delta ensured the city’s importance as a major port from the moment of its founding 300 years ago. America’s most culturally diverse and distinctive city is still defined by the river, and visitors can connect with Mississippi history on a historic morning or afternoon cruise aboard the paddlewheeler Creole Queen, available with the New Orleans Pass. Travel downriver to take in the ornate architecture of the French Quarter, the modern Port of New Orleans and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park, disembarking for a one-hour ranger-guided tour of the Chalmette Battlefield, the site of the Battle of New Orleans which effectively ended the US-British War of 1812.
Usually priced at $34.00 per adult, Paddlewheeler Creole Queen Cruise is included with the New Orleans Pass.