Discovered in 1614 by Dutch explorer and fur trader Adraien Block, the Connecticut River has played an important role in the development of this region by British Colonists. Several spectacular river's eye views of the Hartford skyline are yours to enjoy. A commentary by your crew is offered about this river's unique history.
During this cruise we'll see the following sites:
- We'll cruise under several area bridges including the Bulkeley Bridge. Completed in 1908 it is the longest stone arch bridge in the WORLD.
- Riverside Park and the Jaycee's Community Boathouse
- Many examples of flora and fauna including Cormorants, Osprey, and occasionally the majestic Bald Eagle.
What Is Not Included?
Parking is available in downtown Hartford in numerous garages for approximately $6.00/hour.
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- Advance purchase is strongly recommended as trips often sell out. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please buy your tickets well in advance. You may purchase your tickets online using a Visa, Mastercard or American Express card.
- What if it rains?
- We operate rain or shine. Guests can be accommodated in the salon where we can close the windows during inclement weather. In the rare event of severe or unsafe weather we may have to cancel a trip, and you will be given the opportunity to reschedule to another date.
- How many people does the boat hold?
- The Hartford Belle is certified to carry up to 49 passengers. However, we often limit the number of passengers in order to provide a more intimate experience and to ensure that everyone can be accommodated in the salon in the event of rainy weather.
- Is the boat safe?
- The Hartford Belle is inspected annually by the U.S. Coast Guard. Our captains are USCG licensed and the entire crew is thoroughly trained with your safety and comfort in mind. And per Coast Guard rules, there are of course life jackets on board for all passengers. There is an open deck area and an enclosed salon as well.
- Where do I board the boat?
- We offer two boarding locations. Passengers can choose to board from either Riverfront Plaza in downtown Hartford at 1:15pm or from Charter Oak Landing Park at 1:30pm. Please select your boarding location when purchasing your tickets.
- Are children welcome?
- Absolutely! We welcome children on all cruises. For children ages 2 through 11 you should purchase a reduced price Child ticket. Children under the age of 2 ride for free, but you’ll still need to enter the appropriate number of Infant tickets labeled “Free” when purchasing. All passengers, regardless of age, must have a ticket, so please make sure your entire party is accounted for in this way. We do kindly ask that adults watch the children in their charge for their own safety and for the safety and comfort of others on board. We thank you for your cooperation.
- Is the cruise suitable for pregnant women?
- We travel in fairly calm waters, so there are no restrictions against pregnant women attending.
- Is the boat handicapped accessible?
- To a limited degree. Our docks are accessed by ramps and there are about 3-4 steps to board the boat. Persons who use canes and walkers should not find it difficult to access the boat. The restroom is not wheelchair accessible and we regret we cannot accommodate electric wheelchairs or scooters on board. Please click on the "Contact HartfordBoat" link for more specific details.
- Are food or drinks available on board?
- Yes, there is a bar on board offering soda, water, beer, wine, and mixed drinks as well as light snacks, candy, chips, etc. The approximate cost for snacks is $1, non-alcoholic beverages are $2 and alcoholic beverages range from $5-$7. You may bring aboard a picnic lunch as well if you wish. Please note that alcoholic beverages may not be brought aboard for consumption. You must be 21 with valid ID to purchase alcoholic beverages.
- Is there a restroom on board?
- Yes, for your comfort the Hartford Belle is restroom equipped.
- Is there heat on the boat?
- No, therefore you should be sure to dress according to the day's weather. And during cooler months or not so sunny weather consider wearing layers as it may be slightly cooler on the water.
- What should I wear?
- Light casual wear is always appropriate. A hat and sunscreen are suggested for those that are sensitive to sunlight although there's ample shade on board. A rain repellent jacket might be a good idea to have available for the occasional unexpected afternoon shower. In the evening and fall you might want to have a light sweater, jacket or wrap available. Lastly, low heeled rubber soled shoes or sneakers are strongly recommended for your comfort.
- Will I get seasick?
- The Hartford Belle is a stable boat and we travel fairly calm waters so it is highly unlikely you will get seasick. However, if you are prone to motion sickness, please feel free to take the necessary precautions before boarding.
- Where is the best place to park?
- Parking is FREE at our Charter Oak Landing dock. Near our Riverfront Plaza location, parking is available in various nearby parking garages in downtown Hartford. The approximate cost is $6.00/hr.
- Do you offer group rates?
- Yes, a discount is available for groups of 15 persons or more on scheduled cruises. Purchasing tickets in advance is required. This is an automatic discount of $2 per ticket. After typing in the number of tickets you want, you will receive that deduction. Only one discount applies to each purchase; discounts may not be combined.
- Do you offer any discounts or promotions?
- We will be offering various promotional opportunities throughout the season giving our guests an opportunity to obtain tickets at a discounted rate. Be sure to enter the appropriate promotional code when purchasing your ticket. Only one promotion may be used at a time and offers may not be combined.
- Can I smoke?
- For the safety and comfort of all guests and crew we have a no smoking policy on the boat. Your cooperation is appreciated.
- Is there room to store things on the boat?
- There is not much storage space on the boat, so we cannot store larger items for you. If you are bringing a picnic lunch with you please note we ask that you don't bring anything larger than a backpack.
- Can I bring my dog?
- No, unfortunately only service animals are allowed on board.
- Can we charter the boat for an event?
- Most definitely! The Hartford Belle is a surprisingly affordable venue for your next small group event be it an office party, birthday, shower, anniversary or any reason at all. We can comfortably accommodate 30-35 people. We can assist with catering arrangements, you can bring your own food and we have our own bar on board as well. Please click on "Contact HartfordBoat" link for more information.
- Are gift certificates available?
- Yes, if you are interested in purchasing a gift certificate, please click on the "Contact HartfordBoat" link for more information.
- 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.
Hartford Belle Cruises
There has always been a fascinating history about the Hartford area and the Connecticut River. Dutch explorer Adraien Block discovered the river in 1614 and set up a fur trading post in what is now Hartford. Shortly thereafter Colonists settled in adjacent Windsor and Wethersfield.
The Connecticut River continued to be the lifeline for Hartford and adjacent Colonies for the export and import of goods which were transported aboard majestic clipper ships which were engaged in trade with the West Indies. The steamboat was successor to the clipper ships until 1931. At that time, the trains were finally deemed to be faster and much more efficient for commerce.
In the 1990's the Connecticut River was named an "American Heritage River" due to its colorful history. It shares this distinction with only 14 other rivers in America.
As for the Hartford Belle, she was built in 1992 by Scarano Boatworks in Albany, New York as an example of a 1920's era cruiser. This will become more evident as you notice her mahogany trimmed salon complete with a wood paneled bar. The Hartford Belle is regularly inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard and her captains are U.S. Coast Guard licensed for your safety. Our crew are all trained not only in safety procedures but to make your trip with us pleasant, relaxing and fun.