Information on:

Boston Harbor Cruises

One Long Wharf
877-733-9425

Matthew "Matty" Hughes claims two important places in history. At the tender age of 16 he became the youngest licensed captain ever in the port of Boston, and in 1926 he founded New England's premier cruise company, what is today the nation's largest private operator of passenger vessels, Boston Harbor Cruises.

Given Matty's glorious obsession with boats and Boston Harbor, no one was surprised when, soon after obtaining his license, he struck a deal with a local boat owner to operate the M/V Nelly with two full-time employees on a 30-minute cruise of the Charles River at a cost of 10¢.

For the next 16 years, area residents, in an attempt to escape the oppressive summer heat in their Boston flats, created a steady stream of seasonal customers for Matty and his cruises. Service had to be interrupted though in 1942 when Matty enlisted in the United States Navy, serving as a Seabee through the end of World War II.

Retuning home from service in 1945, Matty resumed operations at Boston Harbor Cruises, expanding the business to operate vessels inside Boston Harbor and on the Charles River. For more than a decade these sightseeing excursions ran three times daily for a fare of $2.00. It was during this era that Boston Harbor Cruises became a true family run enterprise with Matty's daughters, Rookie and Rita, coming on board, followed closely by their kids.

Around 1960, the family made a decision to switch the emphasis of their cruises to deep sea fishing expeditions. Passengers would charter day and overnight trips for the amazing price of $6 for a full day in order to be able to cast their lines in search of cod, haddock, halibut, blue fish, tuna and more.

Fishing charters remained the company's specialty until the late 1970s when Boston's waterfront exploded with development. Tourist attractions such as the New England Aquarium and Faneuil Hall Marketplace brought a record number of visitors to the waterfront, and to Matty's front door. Given this new opportunity, Boston Harbor Cruises moved back into the sightseeing market, but this time it would be Matty's grandchildren, including current principles Rick and Chris Nolan who would be at the helm.

In the 1980s, their leadership was instrumental in BHC securing a contract with the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority to provide water transportation services between downtown Boston and Charlestown, a heavily traveled commuter route. This transformed BHC from a seasonal business to a year-round venture transporting more than 200,000 additional passengers each year. Since then, the MBTA has awarded 4 additional commuter ferry contracts to the company, the largest carrying 4,000 passengers per day.

Today, the company continues to grow with Rick, Chris and great-granddaughter Alison Nolan as its managing partners. They've parlayed their 93 years of maritime operations and management into building a fleet that has operated successfully in Massachusetts Bay, New York, Rhode Island, The US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

BHC's 250 employees uphold the company's hard-won reputation for safety and courtesy by incorporating the most high-tech, up-to-date advancements in customer service, technology and training. This extra effort ensures all 21 BHC vessels are ready for the 264 scheduled weekday morning departures they make each year, and that the more than 2 million passengers who travel with BHC get the most enjoyable trip possible.



Reviews

Alyssa Meacham

Rating:
Saturday, June 30, 2018
BEST DAY EVER! We could not have possibly had a better experience on our whale watching cruise! We took an 11am cruise on a sunny mid seventies degree day. We saw three Humpback Whales, including a mother and calf, and several Fin Whales. Two of the Humpback Whales swam VERY close to the boat giving us some awesome photo/video opportunities! The staff were all very friendly, seemed to genuinely love what they do, and took care to give everyone the best opportunities possible to see the whales. I highly recommend dressing in layers as the temperature varies a lot, especially on the trips in and out. Binoculars and sunglasses are a good idea as well. This cruise was well worth every penny! I highly recommend it!

Alex Jones

Rating:
Sunday, May 13, 2018
We went on a whale watch and it was very enjoyable. We saw a lot of wildlife and the boat and guests were managed very effectively. It didn't matter what side of the boat you were on, they made sure each side got to see something. The crew was very informative and I thought quite amusing in their delivery of the information. They did a great job of answering all questions in detail. I recommend bringing a jacket because it's quite a bit cooler on the water. I also recommend that you take something if you are at all prone to motion sickness. I absolutely would go on another whale watch at Boston Harbor Cruises.

Mike

Rating:
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Had a great time on the booze cruise with my entire office. The staff was very friendly, the drinks weren’t too crazy expensive, and the views were great. What drops it from a 5 to a 4 would be the lack of standing and seating space outside on the back deck. They had this giant coffee table that wasn’t used but took up a large amount of the deck space. Overall though, very fun experience and I am really looking forward to going back.

Jacki Thibedeau

Rating:
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Awesome ride great price super cool guys that run the boat awesome awesome storyline. We sat in the front because it was a chilly day and didn't want to get wet. the people that sat in the back got super stoked and look like they were having just as much fun. They add their special little touches they're very personable and were nice to my child who talks the whole time even though you can barely hear her. Music was super cool rock music. We were jamming out before the boat started laughing on the way to the location where they start the ride. Got a couple breaks in between excitement and fear. The captain let us go up to his see and take pictures on the way in. The duration of the trip is about 45 minutes well worth the $30

Jacki Thibedeau

Rating:
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Awesome ride great price super cool guys that run the boat awesome awesome storyline. We sat in the front because it was a chilly day and didn't want to get wet. the people that sat in the back got super stoked and look like they were having just as much fun. They add their special little touches they're very personable and were nice to my child who talks the whole time even though you can barely hear her. Music was super cool rock music. We were jamming out before the boat started laughing on the way to the location where they start the ride. Got a couple breaks in between excitement and fear. The captain let us go up to his see and take pictures on the way in. The duration of the trip is about 45 minutes well worth the $30

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