Let eCHO take you and your friends on a fun, safe and informative tour through canals often unseen by other tour operators and visitors alike. The electric motor offers zero carbon emissions which in turn guarantees a fume-free and very quiet ride.
On this 1.5-hour private cruise, you will:
- Enjoy a quiet, intimate cruise down the New River with your loved ones and friends.
- See different types of wildlife that are native to Florida.
- Have all of your questions answered by your knowledgeable captain.
Our boat is fully covered, but this will in no way hinder your view of beautiful Ft. Lauderdale. A fantastic 360 degree view will be enjoyed on sunny days or, what we Floridians call "really humid" days! Our patented window system can be zipped up and bone dry in minutes if we run into a shower and they will not hinder our views in the slightest.
eCHO offers very comfortable seating, wide access boarding steps with hand grips, fresh water sink and a spotless interior with plenty of head room. You and your guests will enjoy an hour and a half tour through the canals that make Ft. Lauderdale famous and we guarantee it!
What Is Not Included?
- Alcoholic beverages are not included. If you would like to bring along wine, beer or cocktails, you are more than welcome to do so. Non-alcoholic beverages are included in the ticket price, however.
- A bucket and ice for chilling a bottle of wine or champagne are not included. However, please leave a "Message to the Seller" when purchasing your tickets if you would like us to bring them along. We will do our best to accommodate you.
- Snacks are not included or sold on-board. Guests are more than welcome to bring along a picnic lunch, snacks etc.
- Gratuity is not included or expected. However, if you would like to leave a tip for excellent service, you are more than welcome to.
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- Tickets must be purchased in advance, and cruises often sell out quickly. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please book well in advance. Tickets can only be purchased with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
- Is the cruise narrated?
- The cruise can certainly be narrated by one of our knowledgeable captains. However, we realize that the sunset tour is often a more romantic and personal tour. We can talk about the history of Ft. Lauderdale and the Intra-Coastal Waterways as well as the wildlife that will be seen along the rivers and canals. But if you prefer to have a more quiet experience, we can make that happen as well! We can take a hint!
- How many passengers can attend? Will there be others besides my party on the boat?
- We can take up to 6 passengers out at a time. For this trip, there will be no others outside of your party on the boat. If you are purchasing less than 6 tickets, your party will be the only ones riding. This can be a private cruise for 2 if you'd like, or for a slightly larger group up to 6.
- Can children come? What type of ticket should I buy if I'm bringing a very young child?
- Children are welcome on board, but because of Coast Guard regulations, everyone must be accounted for regardless of age. Therefore, if you have a party of 4 adults and an additional child of any age, they must be counted towards the head count and be subject to the additional $20 charge.
- What happens if it rains?
- Showers in Florida are common. However, they often pass quickly. We monitor the weather very closely and if it looks as though we will be rained out, we will let you know and you will be able to reschedule your tickets or receive an open credit to come back. If we run into a shower while we are out on the water, we will close the window screens and be sure to keep you dry!
- Are there bathrooms on the boat?
- There is not a restroom on the boat. However, restrooms are available at the meeting location. We do not have any scheduled bathroom stops during the tour. However, if you need to stop, please let us know and we will try to accommodate you.
- Do we get off the boat?
- No, we do not get off the boat during the tour.
- What should I wear?
- We recommend dressing casually and appropriately for the day's weather conditions. High heels are not recommended. We also suggest bringing along a light jacket.
- Are food or drinks served on the trip?
- Non-alcoholic beverages such as water and soda are included in the ticket price. Snacks and alcoholic beverages are not provided or available for purchase. However, you are welcome to bring wine, beer or your favorite cocktail along with a picnic lunch.
- Can I bring a cooler, picnic basket or other large items?
- Yes, you are more than welcome to bring a picnic lunch or small cooler with you on the tour. However, keep in mind that we have limited space on the boat, so please only bring items you can keep in your seating area.
- Are there any foods or beverages available for purchase at the meeting point?
- Yes! Beer, wine, ice and snacks are available at a store called All about Food at the meeting location.
- Can I bring my own wine or champagne?
- Absolutely! We encourage you to bring aboard your own beverages. You must be of legal drinking age to consume alcohol on our boat.
- Is there any shade on the boat?
- Yes! Our boat is completely covered! We also have window screens that we generally leave open throughout the tour. However, we can close them very easily if it starts to rain.
- Is the cruise suitable for pregnant women?
- We travel in fairly calm waters, so there are no restrictions against pregnant women attending.
- Will I get wet?
- We have window screens that are generally open throughout the tour. Therefore, if it is a windy day you may get some occasional spray from the river. However, generally guests will not get wet on this cruise. We can easily close the windows if it starts to rain.
- Is the boat safe? Are there life jackets?
- The boat is U.S. Coast Guard certified and we have life jackets on board. However, guests are not required to wear a life jacket during the cruise.
- Will I get seasick?
- Our passengers usually find our boat to be a very stable vessel. However, we advise that you consult with your doctor about preventative measures beforehand if you are prone to motion sickness.
- Is smoking allowed?
- Smoking is prohibited on board our vessel due to US Coast Guard regulations.
- Is gratuity included in the ticket price?
- Gratuity is not included in your ticket price. If you have a great time and wish to recognize the contributions of the crew, you are welcome to give a tip. We are occasionally asked what a good tip is and while it is entirely up to you, 15% of the ticket price is common.
- Is there parking available?
- There is parking at the meeting location. You will take a parking ticket when entering the marina and pay for parking as you exit. Be sure to tell the parking attendant you took a Gondolas West tour to receive the reduced rate parking price of $5.
- What wildlife do we see on the trip?
- We see all kinds of wildlife on our trips. While it varies, we typically see egrets, pelicans, gulls, iguanas, osprey and herons.
- Do we see manatee?
- We frequently do see manatee, but we cannot guarantee when and where they will show up. We often spot them feeding on the leaves along the banks of the New River. If we do see manatee, we will maneuver the boat in a safe and respectful manner to ensure they are not disturbed.
- Are pets allowed to come?
- Yes, well-behaved pets are allowed on the boat.
- Is the boat handicap accessible?
- The boat is not handicap accessible, however the entrance to the boat is considerably large and equipped with sturdy stainless handles on either side. Two wide steps welcome you on board to the padded seats. We certainly will accommodate a person with limited mobility in any way we can.
- Are gift certificates available?
- Yes, gift certificates are available for both of our cruises and can be obtained either through your captain, or by clicking "Contact GondolasWest" to the left of the page and contacting us directly.
- Can we book a private tour?
- Absolutely! Our two hour tour may be booked as a private tour by simply purchasing all 6 tickets for a specific time slot. The boat may also be chartered for customized, full-day events that may include shopping, dining, real-estate touring, bachelor and bachelorette parties or birthdays. Please click "Contact GondolasWest" to the left of the page to inquire about setting up a customized private tour.
- Non-refundable, cannot be rescheduled.
- Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded and cannot be rescheduled because your space is being guaranteed at the event.
- Activity may be cancelled due to severe weather.
- The activity usually runs in light rain and other moderate weather conditions, but the seller may cancel the activity up to an hour before the start time in the event of severe or unsafe weather conditions. If the seller cancels the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.
- All participants are required to have tickets for this event.
- Our boat is United States Coast Guard documented for a certain amount of passengers and we cannot exceed the capacity. This means that all passengers including infants and toddlers must have a ticket.
Looking for a change in scenery, he made a completely lateral move to the islands of St. Thomas/St. John where he received his US Coast Guard Masters License in 1999.
For the next five years he conducted snorkeling and sightseeing tours through the US Virgin Islands as well as the British Virgin Islands.
In 2004, he took a job as the Captain of a 76' SunSeeker which took him up and down the Caribbean and finally to the Mediterranean. He spent seven months in Italy, Corsica, Sardinia, Malta and Greece. One of the highlights of this trip was getting to see the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
He then traveled back to the Caribbean to help a friend run a power boat rental company which enabled him to get back up to Virgin Gorda, Tortolla, and Jost Van Dyke.
Looking to put his 15 years of experience to the test, he moved to Ft. Lauderdale to start Gondolas West.