Our River Queen Cruise was very enjoyable for our entire family. There were seven of us, four adults and three children, ages 3 years to 70 years. We went in late December, 2011. The day was much cooler than we'd have liked, but it didn't spoil the fun.
Crossing the Lagoon proved to be scenic--lots of dolphins--but windy and quite chilly so we were glad we had jackets and hats along. (There are clear, zip-down windows on the boat which help break the wind, but it's still cold on the lagoon if the day isn't hot and there is a breeze.) Things warmed right up as soon as we got across the lagoon and reached the more sheltered St. Sebastian River.
We didn't see as much wild life as we'd hoped, especially manatees, probably because the weather (and water) were cool, but we still enjoyed the scenery and the leisurely pace of cruising along the river. Even in cool weather, there is always something in bloom along the river. You're never very far from "civilization" but the St. Sebastian River Preserve Park feels like you could be miles from anywhere. The cruise takes you up the south fork of the river through the park preserve. We saw some alligators, many water birds, dolphins and the tail of a manatee--we never did see more than a manatee's tail, unfortunately, because the water just wasn't that warm--but manatees aren't the only thing to see and we had a good time. (The Municipal Power Plant in Vero Beach is the best place to spot manatees if the weather/water are cold elsewhere.)
The boat is a large flat pontoon boat with comfortable bench seating and bathroom facilities. There are snacks, soda and coffee for sale ($1 each). The people who run the tours are great with kids! Each of the kids got to be "captain" and steer the boat on our way back across the lagoon (where there is plenty of room to maneuver). The kids were well-entertained and really enjoyed themselves the entire time!
We spent several pleasant hours, saw some lovely scenery along the river and took lots of pictures. Overall, we felt we got our money's worth and we can recommend the River Queen cruises, especially the one into the St. Sebastian River Preserve Park. Check the Web site for details and to make reservations: http://www.sebastianriverqueencruises.com/.
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