One of my priorities for our trip to Traverse City, Michigan, was to get out on the water. When I saw that the Traverse Tall Ship Company offered sightseeing cruises on a replica of an 1800’s cargo schooner, I got excited and asked Traverse City Tourism if they could arrange a cruise. I am very grateful to Traverse City Tourism and the Tall Ship Manitou for offering me and my kids a complimentary cruise so that I could write this article.
Sails are offered three times daily. We took the 2-hour Moomers Ice Cream Sail which is an afternoon cruise from 3 to 5 p.m. Moomers Homemade Ice Cream is a Traverse City company that was voted Best Scoop in America by Good Morning America. I love that this cruise also gave us the opportunity to sample a local treat. When we boarded the ship, all the sails were down. Bench seating was available all over the top deck.
Not long after we boarded, the crew got the passengers involved. They asked for volunteers to raise the sails. Kids and adults alike were able to participate.
My kids jumped right in to help.
There were lots of sails to raise, and everyone who wanted to help had the opportunity.
Some jobs are reserved for the crew. When there was a problem with one of the sails, one of the crew members had to climb one of the ladders. She went up very high. I don’t think I’m cut out to be a sailor. That looks scary to me.
Once the sails were up, we got to relax, enjoy the sail, and eat ice cream.
We sailed right past our hotel, the Bayshore Resort.
While we were sailing, the crew gave passengers the opportunity to steer the ship for a while. I decided to give it a try.
This was our captain, Brendan.
Captain Brendan gave the instructions on how many spokes to turn the wheel and whether to turn it to the starboard or port side. Even little kids got to help steer.
We also had the opportunity to go below deck and see the galley (kitchen), living area, and cabins. Here’s the galley.
The dining/living area was very cheerful with hanging flower baskets.
The ship also operates as a floating bed and breakfast. The minimum age for overnight guests is 6 years old. It would definitely be a unique experience, but be aware that the cabins and beds are tiny! All the beds are bunks.
In the fall, overnight cruises are offered that range in length from three days to six days. I’m sure that would be a fascinating experience. I thought that our two-hour sail was the perfect length of time to get a feel for tall ship sailing.
Other specialty short sails are offered including wine and microbrew tasting sails and entertainment nights, but I think the Moomers Ice Cream Sail is ideal for families.
My kids thought it was fun to sail aboard an old-style ship. They enjoyed helping raise the sails, going below deck to see the living quarters, and, of course, the ice cream. We would definitely recommend it.
Ready to visit?
Tall Ship Manitou
13258 S. West-Bay Shore Dr.
Traverse City, MI 49684
Memorial Day – Labor Day
Noon Sail: Adults $39, Children(12 & under) $19
3 pm Moomers Ice Cream Sail: Adults $42, Children $22
6:30 Evening Sail including picnic meal: Adults $47, Children $26
This attraction appears in my e-book, How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips.
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