Scenic Cruise, Saint Augustine
Last month we went to Saint Augustine, Florida again. I've been there twice already, but this time it was for a specific purpose - we wanted to take the harbor cruise on board the schooner "Freedom" which sails from the Municipal Marina 3 times a day on a two hour cruise along Matanzas Bay.
Described as St. Augustine's premier tall ship, the 72 foot/22 meters "Freedom" is a replica of a 19th century schooner which was used as a blockade-runner (to evade naval blockades) in the past.
As we had already made reservations by phone, we just had to show ourselves at the ticket office when we arrived at the Marina in St. Augustine. We took the afternoon Family cruise which started at 2:15 pm. There were about 25-30 passengers, some with families and kids.
The vessel left the docks promptly at 2:15. On board the Captain, whose name was Jon introduced himself and the two crew members, a young girl and another man. Then the girl gave a demonstration on safety procedures, similar to the ones you see on airplanes.
The cruise lasted one and half hours, and Captain Jon gave a running commentary of the historical landmarks of St Augustine which we saw from the ship. The most prominent was the Big Cross at the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche. This tall cross is 208 feet or 63 meters high, and considered to be the marker for one of the most sacred and historic sites in the United States.
As we passed the Bridge of Lions the drawbridge went up to accommodate us. During the voyage the Captain asked for volunteers to assist in hoisting the sails. Many answered his call, I didn't. But on the return voyage when the skipper asked for volunteers again to lower the sails, I was the first one to raise my hand. Oh, I even got to command the boat for a minute or two! (see attached photos)
The cruise was very smooth and pleasant, except for one minor mishap when a big pleasure boat passed close to us at high speed and its wake rocked the boat for a few seconds. The captain and crew were quite friendly too and willingly answered all the usual questions asked by the passengers. Complimentary soft drinks and water from a cooler were handed out on board as well. I believe even beer and wine are served on the evening cruises.
The published rates for the daytime cruise is $35. However, we paid only $25 each as it was a family cruise shortened to 90 minutes instead of the normal 2 hours. It was a hot sunny day when we took this cruise, but the cool sea breeze was refreshing, and the relaxed atmosphere on board the ship made it an enjoyable time to spend an afternoon at the oldest city in the US of A.
Relax and enjoy a one hour and fifteen minute cruise aboard the Victory III. Narrated tours by the Captain provide an incomparable way to view St. Augustine’s historical landmarks and natural sites of interest.
This is a nice way to spend an hour when you're tired of looking at historical sites and desire a different kind of sightseeing.
Aboard Victory III offers cruises thru the waters of Historic St. Augustine. The cruises leave daily from Municipal Marina, south of Bridge of Lions in downtown St. Aug.
The tour lasts about 1.5 hours and are narrated by a captain that describes landmarks and natural sites of interest.
A nice way to view the city of Saint Augustine. It has great views of the skyline and Castillo San Marcos. I even saw a dolphin in the bay the day I was there.