The Intercoastal Waterway extends 3,000 miles along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States. Bays, sounds, rivers, inlets, and canals are part of the system. Most of the Eastern Seaboard is part of the waterway, and with other bays and canals, can extend all the way to Boston. There are three separate areas of the waterway. The first extends from Brownsville, Texas. The second, from Tarpon Springs to Ft. Myers, and the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway extends from Key West to Norfolk, Virginia. Passengers can travel any portion of the inland waterways, the waterways on the coast, and Florida.
Advantages of an Intercoastal Waterway Cruise:
The ships are smaller than traditional cruise ships, so the cruise is more personalized. Usually there's one crew member for every two passengers, so there are fewer tourists on shore excursions. This allows more time for passengers to have one on one discussions with the experts. Naturalists and others who come on board for lectures and discussions, enlighten passengers about the local history, culture, and wildlife of the area. The activities on small ships are much different than the large liners, since onboard activities relate to the history and culture of the port. Lectures, musical programs, demonstrations, and other activities revolve around the local area. The ships have libraries and lounges for passengers to spend quiet time, as well as observation decks to observe wildlife and scenery. The dining salons on the small ships are roomy and seat all passengers at one time. The cuisine is excellent and several entrees are available at each meal, as well as a dish from the local area.
Features of a Small Ship
The cabins are large and comfortable. Many of the cabins have private balconies. Staterooms usually have TV and DVD players. Ships have wireless access. Staterooms are climate controlled. Public areas on small ships are surprisingly large, and private lounges are available to read or socialize with other passengers. Delicious cuisine and wine with lunch and dinner are often served, as well as complimentary snacks and soft drinks. Lecturers, historians, and local musicians or craftsmen provide informative lectures and entertainment.
Small Ship Itineraries
A multitude of choices await the passenger on a small ship cruise. Among the popular cruises are Coastal New England, the Mid-Atlantic Coast, the Antebellum South, and Hudson River Fall Foliage. One day cruises along portions of the Intercoastal Waterway are offered by several cruise operators. Safari Boat Tours offers 1 to 3 hour cruises along the West Bay, near Panama City, Florida. Passengers will see wildlife up close in their habitat, view dolphins, enjoy the scenery of the Intercoastal Waterway, and view spectacular Florida sunsets. Chips Water Way Cruises in North Carolina offers relaxing day long cruises on an elegant 42 foot yacht. Experience Holden Bay and Long Bay and enjoy the beautiful sights. New England and New York are favorite fall foliage locations to visit, and perfect fall cruises are the Hudson River Fall Foliage Cruise, or the Grand New England Cruise offered by American Cruise Lines. Visit coastal towns and quaint villages. See lovely old homes built atop cliffs along the Hudson, and see historic places like Sleepy Hollow, New York.