Historic Ships in Baltimore

Historic Ships in Baltimore

Historic Ships in Baltimore
4.5
Military Museums • Ships
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Historic Ships in Baltimore is home port to USS Constellation, the last all-sail warship built by the US Navy; the submarine USS Torsk, which sank the last two enemy combatants of WWII; USCG Cutter WHEC-37 (X-Taney), the last surviving vessel to witness the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941; Lightship 116 Chesapeake, launched in 1930, which marked the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay; and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse built in 1856, which marked the entrance to the Patapsco River and Baltimore Harbor. Due to COVID-19, USS Constellation and USS Torsk are currently open to the public for self-guided tours and some daily programs. Please check the Historic Ships Website and Facebook Page for the latest information on reopening. As of now, we do not have an opening date for Lightship Chesapeake, USCG Cutter 37 or the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse. Historic Ships in Baltimore highly recommends and encourages visitors to purchase tickets online before arrival.
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Neighborhood: Inner Harbor
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
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sg8887
Cedar Falls, IA26 contributions
If you are in Baltimore, this is 100% a must visit! You buy one ticket (per person) and can see all the ships in whatever order you like. The website recommends buying the tickets online, and after searching for a ticket booth, I do too. I was here in the off season, so that might explain some of my difficulty. But buying the ticket on my phone was easy, and then all I had to do was walk up to the ship I wanted to visit and show my phone to the staff memeber.
Everything is self-guided and you can do as much or little reading as you like and still have a great time. The USS Constellation was my favorite. It definitely has the most to see. I was also able to see the USCG Cutter and the USS Torsk and highly recommend both of those as well. The USS Torsk (the submarine) can feel a little cramped, so fair warning if you aren't a fan of small spaces.
You can easily see all the ships in an afternoon, but it is a lot of walking so be prepared if you have small children with you.
I believe the tickets are good for a long period of time (a year I think) so if you can't make it to all the ships in one day you can come back the next.
Written May 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

BeeMG
Toronto, Canada4 contributions
Couples
Just got back from Baltimore where we went to view L'Hermione, the frigate, and visit the city. My review may be long, but read on, you may benefit from my experience.
We took Air Canada from Toronto. The US border guys at Pearson are, mmm, I'll settle for "not friendly," but we never expected even minimal respect from them. The plane is small and bumpy. We took a taxi from the airport because online, we read that the Light Rail goes through "sketchy neighborhoods." We paid around $40.00 to go to our hotel, close to Inner harbor. The night we arrived, we went to Inner harbor where a group of musicians was playing. It was lovely. We walked around and being from Toronto, we were marveling at low rise buildings (4 or 5 stories), no high towers, no construction noise, no vibrations, no dust, and no air pollution. We could actually see the sky, and even walk right into the lake! Majestic L'Hermione was there, as well as the USS Constellation and The Pride of Baltimore. We went for a sandwich & salad dinner at the Panera Bread restaurant, 600 E Pratt Street, and it was very good and reasonably priced. We went early morning to visit L'Hermione, but a long line-up was already formed. The visit was free, and that may partly explain the crowd. The visit was fascinating, the sailors will pose with you if you ask, and you feel very welcome, at odds with this cliché that French people are supposedly rude. We appreciated the fact that French volunteers built L'Hermione to replicate La Fayette's original frigate, and volunteers &the public financed this ambitious endeavor. We wanted to visit a US Coast Guard ship but the rate was $11 per ship and per person, $18 to visit 2 ships, etc. When I told the Coast Guard guy that visiting L'Hermione was free, he ticked and said, "Yah, but you can't visit their dining room!" Which is true, but shows the deep divide between Europeans (culture and the arts), and Americans ($$$) -- no disrespect, that's my opinion. We decided to take the water taxi to Fells Point. While waiting, we saw this young mother letting her 3-year old boy walk really close to the water, not holding his hand. From the edge, he could have dropped into the deep water. I was appalled. Then her girlfriend arrived with her 5-year old boy and suddenly, the girlfriend grabbed her son by his arm, lifted him in the air and gave him one heck of an angry spanking. I was shocked. I yelled "Boo!" and she gave me the finger (in one minute flat, she had taught her kid that violence solves problems, and that disrespect settles disputes). Well, apparently, spanking is legal in the States, said the American passengers in the water taxi. I am sure both were tourists, and this incident should not reflect on Baltimore people. To take the water taxi, you must buy a pass, $14 for the day. We went to Fell's Point. This area is really beautiful. Small, clean, safe, specialty stores, restaurants, cafés, just very welcoming. Highly recommend. We had a light lunch at Admiral's Cup. Tasty beer, flavorful Cesar salad, friendly service. Back to Inner harbor, we went to hear the Hermione's singing sailors (Choeur Marine) and that was fun. To return to the airport, we DID take the Light Rail and we were fine. Before going on board, make sure you check that "BWI Airport" is written at the front of the train. It may go through sketchy parts of the city, but we never felt threatened or unsafe (there is a uniformed guy on board). It cost us $1.60 each. Beats the US$40 taxi! At Baltimore airport immigration point, be prepared to be viewed naked when you go through that machine. The US border guys pulled a handicapped man out of his wheelchair, pushed him into the machine, and got him to lift his arms to scan him. The poor guy was obviously heavily handicapped. He could not walk and was all wobbly. He leaned on the walls of the machine. We and all the people who witnessed this scene were downright outraged. One final piece of advice: Warning, beware of taxis in Baltimore!! We were swindled by a taxi driver, who played the "taking the scenic route" scam and the "wrong meter rate" scam. We took his taxi one way, he set up the counter and when we arrived, it read "$43". Unsuspecting and nice, we tipped him $7.00 so we paid $50.00 altogether. On the way back, we called another taxi company for the same distance, and were SHOCKED when the driver asked us for… "$13"!!! We asked him three times to repeat, do you mean 13, like in one-three, or 30, like in three-zero?! We explained to him why we were stunned at his $13, and he said we were swindled and we should report this to authorities. I am not sure I can name this taxi company, but I can tell you this: That taxi stand is located at approximately S Gay St and E Pratt Street, North side, and the rogue taxi driver's name is Tony (if he is not a liar too). Beware! Another time, once we were on board the taxi, the driver told us to read the terms and conditions sticker on his window, whereby he could charge us extra blahblahblah. It was a difference of a few bucks with the meter, so we let it go. Learn from my experience: Best is to call a taxi from your hotel. If you must take a taxi on the street, ensure the taxi has a company's name and a car number (take a picture.) Let the driver find your destination on his phone. Ask for a firm quote and any additional fees. Do not step into the taxi before that. Tell him you will need a receipt. Ensure he sets the meter right away and instruct him to do so if required. Pay in small bills, which you will count aloud. Otherwise, everybody in Baltimore was friendly and welcoming, especially black people. Yes indeed. Hope this report helps you guys save money, be safe, and enjoy your time in lovely Baltimore!
Written June 22, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Explore9880
Greensboro, NC1 contribution
The USS Constellation, recently refurbished and now back in port at Baltimore's Inner Habor, is more than just an interesting backdrop for photographs. If you don't come aboard you'll miss a unique experience that helps you make a connection to the Navy's age of sail.

The ship, built in 1850 and named after the Revolutionary War vessel of the same name, has been restored to it's active duty appearance. Once aboard you can walk around the wide expanse of it's decks and then go below to explore. It's below decks that you really get a feel for what it was like to be a sailor 150 years ago.

Each of the three lower decks is unique. The gundeck is the showpiece of the ship, with a full complement of cannons. You also get to see the captain's quarters and officer's mess (dining area).

Below this deck are the the main crew compartment, consisting of cramped quarters with hammocks and low overhead and the lower deck where fresh water was stored.

Be advised that walking below decks is difficult in spots for anyone over about 5' 6". For most people, a visit topside (where there are frequent demonstrations by staffers in period costume) and a quick tour of the gundeck will be enough for an enjoyable visit. You can easily complete your tour in a half-hour and still have time to spend in the adjacent shops and restaurants at the Inner Harbor.

I very much enjoyed visiting the Constellation and recommend it for anyone with an interest in history. Children will have alot of fun aboard, whether they are interested in history or not. A good family attraction.
Written August 9, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bill C
1 contribution
These old ships are wonderful but the organization that runs this thing needs to make some big changes or at least let some other city take these ships off their hands. First of all, when they say that they "open" at 10 am, they don't mean 10 am.. they mean somewhere between 10 and 10:30. Secondly, when we visited... we had a bizarre greeting at ALL THREE of the ships, and we weren't the only ones. In one case we stood at the bottom of the stairs for about 5 minutes, weren't sure what to do because there was no one there, then finally wandered up. The truth of the matter is that they very young people who stand there and take tickets don't know too much. As a former U.S. Naval officer... PLEASE make changes. And please TELL your guests if there is a tour guide, or a tour, or something.

Also, everyone who visits these ships needs to realize that there are NO public restrooms at the entire Baltimore Harbor. Even the visitors center is closed. If you ask one of the young folks working at the historic ships, they just shrug and send you to Chic-Fil-A, where you have to wait in line to buy food before you can use the restroom I mean... can't you folks just stick a portajohn out there?
Written October 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

local385
Key West, Florida, United States21 contributions
Couples
We purchased multiple ship tickets, and the TIME on the ticket said closed at 7pm. Went to the Constellation at 5:15, thinking we would have enough time. The young man at the counter said nothing to us. Got on board, and all the items on the deck, wheel, cannons and sides of the ship were covered with canvas. After a few minutes, I asked a deck hand why everything was covered, and he replied "cause we are closing". I said my ticket says 7:00pm, and he said that was wrong, they close at 6pm. It was only 5:25 at this time, and they had EVERYTHING covered. We were told to "hurry up" and proceeded to rush through the 3 decks of exhibits. Didn't get to read a thing, as we had to "hurry".

We were hussled off at exactly 6pm, and when I got into the gift shop, I asked if we could come back tomorrow, as we did not get to finish our tour, (something WE DO AT OUR MUSEUM), and was rudely told no, that we have to pay again. When I asked why the ticket time said 7pm, she pointed to the sign, and said "we post that we close at 6 on the window" Didn't do me much good, as I didn't buy my tickets at that window. I asked for the manager, and was told there is not one.

customer service really stunk.
Written June 1, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you very much for reporting on your Historic Ships experience. I am truly sorry that it was not all that it could have been. I have shared your review with both our Director of Interpretation and our Retail / Ticketing Manager. On board the ship the staff should never have asked you to "hurry up". Our policy is that after last boarding which, on the day your visited, was 5:30, visitors are to be allowed to tour the vessel they are on at their own pace. We expect visitors to be reasonable about this, but the crew should never ask visitors to "hurry up". In the case of USS Constellation, tour time is usually about 45 minutes to an hour. The misleading time stamp on the ticket is a function of our ticketing system and unfortunately we cannot remove it. We post our last boarding times on a sign at each of our ticket sales locations and ask our sales associates to point this information out to everyone buying tickets to visit the ships. It is not a perfect solution, but it does work most of the time. Finally, the store staff should have invited you to return the next day. There are no hard and fast rules in this business and it is so much easier and so much more rewarding to make someone happy. Please rest assured that I will address these issues with our staff so that the chance of this happening again is minimized.
Written June 12, 2013
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kate Illinois1
Illinois4,113 contributions
Couples
There are 2 options... tour 2 ships or 4 ships. AAA discount is pay for 2 ships and receive tickets for all 4. The USS Consellation and USS Torsk were the best ones and so opposite. The Consellation is huge with 4 floors and the Tork is tight quarters. The woman at the ticket booth disrespectful! She was on her personal phone with speaker and person talking was loud and talking smack. The ticket booth woman did not care and was more concerned about her friend than assisting the public. The employees on the Constellation and Torsk were excellent and wanted to work. The other ships and lighthouse were similar to the ticket booth woman.
Written June 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Christopher F
McMurdo Station Antarctica409 contributions
Couples
The facts: Site consists of 4 ships and a lighthouse. Lighthouse always free. Ship tickets can be purchased for 1, 2 or 4 ship visits. USS Constellation (tall ship) has had special events throughout the day and took the longest to see it all (several hours). The USS Torsk (sub) took the shortest time (1 hour max) to visit no special tours. The Lightship Chesapeake was the least well maintained, but is a unique visit (1 hour). The USCG Cutter Taney was also filled with good museum like exhibits (2 hours). This could take someone all day to see all the exhibits in the 4 ships or maybe 2-3 hours to do a quick walk through. $18/11 adult/child for all 4 ships ticket.
The impression: Staff was a mixed bag. some were very knowledgeable and friendly others were not at all. The USCG Taney is supposed to offer a engine room tour daily at 3pm. I went on two occasions and both times I was told they would not run the tour on weekends as they didn't have enough visitors. There were at least 10 people no board the ship at the time of the tour. There were other examples of this so don't plan your day around meeting a tour time they may decide to just not run it.
Written February 7, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Linda M
da burgh132 contributions
Family
I love going on all the ships in the inner harbor. We spent hours doing this. The people are fun and nice. Leave plenty of time to look around and ask the employees questions! Check for special promotions.

Practically speaking, these are all located within easy, flat walking distance, and are basically next to the aquarium (which is an absolute must see). If you start early and had a nice day, you could do them all place the aquarium if you hustle.

If there is any chance of rain, bring an umbrella and good shoes. It sure seems to get soggy on a wet day (or slushy on snowy days). Likewise, it gets hot as heck in the summer - be prepared.
Written March 3, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Elizabeth V
Guanajuato, Mexico215 contributions
Solo
You can buy the individual tickets or the tickets for multiple ships, depending on what you wish to do for the day. Buying the multi-pass will definitely save you money and is highly recommended. You can walk to all of the included ships/subs without needing a taxi or the having to relocate your car. I chose the mult-ship package and it took me most of the day to see all of them. There were no long lines, but if you are self-touring, reading signs and picture-taking along the way, you will need almost a full day for this itinerary. The USCG Tawney is my favorite and the most extensive of the ships you can tour. The USS Torsk is a submarine and was very interesting if you have never toured a submarine before. Both the Tawney and Tork have plenty of signage to help you along your self-guided tours, so if you take the time to stop and read the signs, you will be very well-informed and satisfied at the end of your tour. You will occasionally run into some very informative docents, many of whom have personal history with the ships or ships similar to the ones you are touring. They are worth stopping and listening to if you do happen upon them. There are plenty of restaurants in the vicinity of the ships, so you can stop and grab a bite to eat when hunger strikes.
Written February 8, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

FlipFlopsR4Me
Jersey Shore, NJ518 contributions
Family
What a fun & educational way to start the day! A great walk around with family. Be careful walking around these ships, lots of places to trip over or bump heads if you're not watching where you're going. Our 7 year old enjoyed it more than our 17 year old, but overall had a nice time. Great scenery too! Visited on July 4th 2014.
Written September 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Historic Ships in Baltimore - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go