You know you’re in for a different kind of cruise when you hear the first mate bellowing, “The captain hasn’t bathed since last year!” And the captain roaring back, “I’m nasty!”
This seasonal, sightseeing cruise highlights Alexandria’s historic waterfront, Georgetown, National Park baseball stadium, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. There are a variety of cruises from which to choose. Some allow passengers to get off the boat in order to explore Mount Vernon, while others provide a narrated onboard experience as you cruise past monuments. Tours can take about 90 minutes.
Big or small pirate cruises are also great fun and the Potamac Pirate Cruise doesn’t disappoint. My family of four took the 40-minute cruise around the Alexandria Seaport with several other families on a small boat with an overhead canvas. (No need to worry about sunblock.)
The captain and his sidekick spoke perfect “pirate” and regaled their guests with interesting history and general pirate silliness as we toured the Potomac. We glided under the largest drawbridge in the world, caught sight of a very old lighthouse and picked up a short and sweet river geography lesson. But the finest moment arrived when we were ordered by the captain to lay low as we passed other vessels and, on his cue, shout, “Yar! We be Potomac Pirates! Yar!” I loved it, but my too-cool-for-school nine-year-old boy said that it wasn’t realistic at all, adding in all seriousness, “What this boat needs is a water cannon to shoot other boats with!” Toward the end of the cruise the pirates passed out bags for the kids loaded with treasure.
If your older kids don’t “do” pirate, check out the many cruises available including the Monuments, the Mount Vernon, the Fireworks and the Canine Cruises. Advance ticket purchases recommended.
A water taxi is also available and provides direct service from the National Harbor to the National Mall, where it’s only a short walk to the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial, Tidal Basin and more. If you’re staying in the National Harbor but want to experience D.C. without the headache of traffic, this is a great way to arrive and the experience of being on the water itself is fun for the family as well.
Popcorn, water, soda, wine and beer are available for purchase onboard.
There is parking at the dock.