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Baltimore: Waterborne perspective

Courtesy Visit Baltimore

A friend of mine who was raised in the Baltimore area once told me that to really appreciate the city, you need to see it from the water.

“You have really missed something if you come to Baltimore and don’t get on the water,” she said. “You don’t see it from the perspective of the people who came in and built the neighborhoods.”

There are several ways to experience Baltimore from the water, although I am not sure that any of those early immigrants experienced it the same way I did from aboard Baltimore’s newest attraction, the Seadog III powerboat.

I abandoned my baseball cap and let the wind blow what hair I have as we blasted up the Pataspco River at 32 knots — that’s about 40 miles per hour — which is moving in a boat. The 50-minute tour takes you beyond Inner Harbor to the edge of the Chesapeake Bay beyond the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

The sleek, yellow 102-passenger boat moved to Inner Harbor this year after a year at National Harbor, near Washington, the first expansion of the company’s original operation at Chicago’s Navy Pier.

“It was a very good decision,” said Ami Taubenfeld, a spokeswoman for Spirit Cruises, the parent company that also operates two more traditional cruise ships at Inner Harbor. “The first year has been really wonderful. It has been well received; the people riding on it really like it. It’s a fun, unique atmosphere, something new that people have not done before.”

The newly renovated Spirit of Baltimore, with two enclosed decks and an open-air panoramic deck, offers lunch and dinner cruises year round, and the Inner Harbor Spirit has 75-minute, narrated sightseeing tours from April to October.

Another way to get out on the water in Baltimore and a convenient method of getting around the Inner Harbor is Ed Kane’s Water Taxis. The 16 blue-and-white covered boats run regular routes around the harbor and are an easy way to get to Fort McHenry and the neighborhoods of Fells Point and Canton.

Groups can get prepaid daily vouchers that provide all-day unlimited use.

For the more fun-loving, check out the red-and-green dragon-shaped paddleboats that can be rented at Inner Harbor near the USS Constellation and the World Trade Center.

For more on Baltimore:

Baltimore’s inner self
Waterborne perspective
Raise the flag