Schooner Eco Tour

Schooner Eco Tour
Price: $99.00
Choose Options My Cruise Itinerary
Shore Excursion Size ? Small
Shore Excursion Type Active, Water/Beach
Shore Excursion Duration 5 Hours
Activity Level ? Moderate
Shore Excursion Leaves From ? An approximately 10 to 20 minute walk or an approximately 20 minute shuttle is required to reach your departure location.
Food/Beverage Provided Meal, Beverages
Recommended Dress We recommend wearing comfortable clothing over your swimsuit and walking shoes. Bring along biodegradable sunscreen, sunglasses, hat and beach towel.
Restrictions Guests must be able to get in and out of the boat and be comfortable in a kayak. This tour is not wheelchair accessible. This tour is not wheelchair accessible. Guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Guests must be 21 years of age to consume alcohol.

Schooner Eco Tour

Your backcountry adventure eco-tour encompasses a schooner sail, guided kayak tour through mangroves and snorkeling at sponge gardens. Discover the varied, diverse ecosystem of Key West's backcountry in one amazing tour. This up-close and intimate nature tour is limited to a very small number of participants, providing you with professional and trained guides who will give you their full attention.

Departing from Key West's Historic Seaport, your historic schooner's sails are unfurled for an authentic sailing experience on the way to Key West's backcountry. If you have always dreamed of sailing aboard a tall mast wooden ship, here is your chance to help raise the sails and take a turn at the wheel; all guests are encouraged to participate.

Your destination is Key West's uninhabited mangrove islands in the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. The shallow-drafted schooner is the perfect design for your eco-adventure, being a replica of historic bug-eye schooners that dragged for oysters in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. Keep an eye out for dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays, and much other wildlife that call the refuge home. Your captain knows where dolphins are frequently seen and will let you know if he spots any.

Upon reaching the mangrove islands, the boat drops anchor and your exploration begins as the day is divided between guided kayaking tours and guided snorkeling tours. For kayaking, your crew will help you into your stable sea kayak, providing paddling instructions. Don't worry if you aren't used to paddling, the warm, shallow water is calm, sheltered by the uninhabited mangroves, making kayaking a breeze. Your crew will speak about the mangroves and their important role as nurseries to the sea. Learn how mangrove trees survive in saltwater and about the varied marine life that inhabits Key West's unique mangrove ecosystem. Discover there are several hundred species of birds that call these mangroves home where on a typical day, you may see ospreys, frigates, blue herons, bald eagles, and even roseate spoonbills. In the water, look for sea turtles, dolphins, manta rays and tropical fish.

You will also have the opportunity to get in the water on a guided snorkel tour. Your experienced crew provides professional instructions on snorkeling along with information on the sponge gardens. Never snorkeled? No worries, the crew will answer all your questions and be in the water with you. Soon you will be enjoying snorkeling the shallow, calm waters of the sponge gardens. Experience the tropical fish, sponges, and marine wildlife that call the gardens home. If you prefer to float on the surface, grab a noodle float, lean back and watch the clouds drift by. Conditions vary throughout the different areas of the mangrove islands and your tour operator prides itself on providing their guests with the best experience possible as your experienced captain will chart a course for the optimal kayaking and snorkeling locations given that day's tides and weather conditions.

After your adventure, come back aboard and wash off with a freshwater rinse. Find a comfortable spot to relax on deck and then choose from plenty of complimentary cold drinks including frosty cold beer, wine, homemade sangria, chilled sodas, and filtered water. This is the best of laid-back island lifestyle living there can be. Lunch is also served on the boat as an all-you-can-eat fresh buffet feast is provided. Start with peel and eat shrimp and then try the delicious fried chicken, selection of deli meats and cheeses, accompanied by assorted bread and condiments and don't forget the side salads!

Once the day begins to wind down, it's time to raise anchor and leave the tranquil mangrove islands behind. Refresh yourself with another tasty beverage and snack and find your perfect spot on the boat to relax and enjoy your brisk sail back to the Historic Seaport as a lifetime of memories have been made during your day on the calm waters off Key West.

5 Stars5.0 / 5  |  4 ReviewsReview This Tour
Best Excursion of Our 18-day Cruise!
March 11, 2020
This beautiful schooner can take 22 passengers, but our group of 4 was still able to go. It wasn’t windy enough to use the sails, so we motored out to an area where we snorkeled and kayaked. Lunch was good, and the scenery was lovely. The Captain gave us a little talk about coral reefs which made the experience all the more interesting. We had a fantastic time, and I highly recommend this excursion.
Reviewer: Sheila Scovic
5 Stars
Best Excursion of our 18-day Cruise!
March 06, 2020
We were only a group of 4 (out of a possible 22 passengers), but the trip went off as scheduled, and we were so happy to have had this experience. Captain Jeff and Eric are both experienced sailors who educated us about the coral reefs and took good care of us. We snorkeled and kayaked with Eric as our guide and saw different types of coral, sea turtles, fish, birds, and Portuguese man-of-wars. This is an excellent value for the price.
Reviewer: Sheila Scovic
5 Stars
A great way to see a lot in just a few hours.
December 03, 2019
My family took this tour when we were in town with Holland America. The schooner was unavailable due to maintenance, but we were contacted promptly and offered a substitute that was identical except that we sailed on a catamaran. There were only eight guests on a boat that could easily accommodate 16, allowing everyone ample space and time to explore the reef and mangrove forest. We saw various fish, jellyfish, birds, and even two nurse sharks. A couple of people saw a sting ray and dolphins. Captain James had the perfect blend of humor and professionalism; first mate Maya made everyone feel at home. The boat dock is an easy walk from Mallory Square. Our ship was docked at the Naval station; we informed the office staff of our "all aboard" time, and our captain made sure that we were back in Key West in time to make our way back to the ship. Overall, this is a well-run tour that allows you to see a lot of the natural beauty that Key West has to offer in one short day.
Reviewer: Jane H
5 Stars
Great times, great service
September 09, 2019
We did this tour off of Celebrity Equinox on September 8. The schooner is a short, ten minute walk from the dock. Our crew was truly outstanding and attentive. We were treated to a wonderful breakfast while sailing to our first stop. There we boarded kayaks and toured the mangroves observing wildlife with an excellent guide and commentary. Lots of fun. When we returned, there was a generous lunch awaiting and we motored off to our snorkel spot. There were great fish and beautiful scenery there. On return, the crew served generous libations. There were only four of us onboard the schooner for the trip even though could accommodate 16. Even if it were full, it would have been great compared to the large groups through the cruise line. This is a wonderful was to spend the day—HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Thank you for a great day!!
Reviewer: Philip Bigler
5 Stars