A Pirate Adventure on Florida’s Gulf Coast
At John’s Pass Boardwalk in Madeira Beach, Florida, you will find many options for entertainment including a number of afternoon and evening cruises. The Pirate Ship cruise is a fun 2 hour journey around beautiful Boca Ciega Bay. Your cruise includes an all inclusive pass good for unlimited beer, wine, and soda. You will also find on-board entertainment including: music, dancing, and water gun fights, limbo, and face painting for the kids.
The beautiful Pirate Ship
You have the option between 3 different cruise times: 11:00am, 1:30pm, and 7pm. The sunset cruise is the best option during the summer months as the temperatures will be a bit cooler without the sun beating down on your face. An 8:00 departure time would have been much better for photography. We were unable to capture any great photos as the sun was still too high at the end of our cruise.
The highlight of the trip is the occasional dolphin sighting. We were fortunate enough to see one swimming along with the boat, however, I was unable to get the camera ready in time. Manatees also make frequent appearances.
The cruise is a bit long at 2 hours and tends to get a bit boring, especially if you aren’t seeing any dolphins. However, being out in the water with a breeze at sunset is always nice. And the views are relaxing.
Beautiful views of the bay
Unfortunately, we just missed a storm, so the sunset wasn’t that spectacular. However, the stormy scenery definitely added to the mysterious pirate vibe.
Overall, The Pirate Ship at John’s Pass was a nice experience. It was not the best cruise I have ever taken, but not the worst either. In my opinion, the dolphin cruise offered at Hubbard’s Marina is not only more fun, but a much better value. A bit of fun pirate music (mostly country and rap were played) would have been nice as it would have added to the ambiance.
The ship itself was attractive with both an upper and lower deck, enthusiastic staff dressed as pirates, and an overall aesthetically pleasing pirate design. I recommend trying to get an upper deck seat as the views are much better.
Also, be aware that this is definitely a kid centered cruise. So if you are looking for more of an adult’s only voyage, you should probably look elsewhere. The kids on board seemed to really enjoy the cruise as there were so many activities to engage in along with plenty of staff interaction. This cruise best suits families with young kids.
Tips for a great cruise
*Look for a coupon in The Pirate Ship brochure. The coupon is good for $3 off each cruise. You can find these in kiosks throughout town, including one at John’s Pass near the Hubbard’s Marina ticket office.
*Apply plenty of sunblock -the ship is not covered.
*Sunglasses are always necessary in Florida!
*Book an evening cruise if you can’t handle the heat. Or better yet, plan on a winter cruise.
*If you do not like kids, this is not the cruise for you. Activities are geared towards kids and the atmosphere is noisy. If you are looking for a more peaceful experience, you should probably book a sunset or adult’s only cruise.
*Smoking is allowed on the ship (they definitely need to change this rule!), so if you are sensitive or just can’t stand being around smoke (like me!) it’s best to skip this one.
*Take a walk around the beautiful John’s Pass boardwalk before or after your cruise. There are plenty of unique restaurants and shops to enjoy. Mad Beach Craft Brewing is a good choice.
*Be sure to take a walk over to Madeira Beach, located right next to the boardwalk. This is one of the best beaches in the area with clean white sand. As a bonus, it usually does not get as crowded as Clearwater.
Location & Pricing Information
John’s Pass Boardwalk is located at 12901 Gulf Blvd, Madeira Beach, FL 33708. The address for The Pirate Ship is: 140 Boardwalk Place West.
A parking garage and meters are available.
Ticket prices are as follows:
$40 (ages 21-64)
$36 (ages 65 and up)
$30 (ages 2-20)
$11 (under age 2)