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Boston, MA

October 26th, 2014
Departure at 5:00PM

For information on Boston hotels, see the Pre-Cruise Hotels page. 

Boston is the capital and largest city in Massachusetts. It is one of the oldest cities in the United States, founded in 1630 by Puritan colonists from England. The Boston area was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's "midnight ride", the battles of Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston.

Boston is surrounded by the "Greater Boston" region and is directly bordered by 13 cities and towns including Somerville, Cambridge, and Quincy. The Charles River separates Boston from most of Cambridge to the north and the Neponset River separates it from Quincy to the south. The mass of Boston is separated from its own neighborhoods of Charlestown by the Charles River and East Boston by Boston Harbor.


The average high temperature in Massachusetts in the third week of October is 59°F and the average low 44°F. However, the weather in Massachusetts in October is extremely variable. High temperatures can change almost 20°F from one day to the next. In the week leading up to the 2013 cruise the high temperatures ranged from 52°F-71°F.

Getting Around

Boston's public transit system is the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, known as the MBTA or just "The T" for short. It consists of 4 subway lines (Red, Green, Orange, and Blue), 4 Bus Rapid Transit lines (Silver Line SL1, SL2, SL4, and SL5), almost 200 local and express bus lines, and 12 commuter rail lines.

Taxis are readily available in the city, as well as alternate car services such as Uber and Lyft. Water taxis operate year-round between downtown locations, the airport, and the cruise terminal. City Water Taxi and Rowes Wharf Water Taxi operate year-round between docks in downtown, the seaport, the airport, and the cruise terminal. If the weather is nice you can rent a bike from one of the Boston Hubway bike-share kiosks located throughout Boston and Cambridge (rates start at $6/day).

Logan Airport
Logan Airport is accessible via the Silver Line SL1, Blue Line, Commuter Boat F2, and car and taxi.

The Silver Line stops at each terminal and is free when you board at the airport. The bus has luggage racks, but it may be crowded. The bus ends at South Station where you can transfer for free to the Red Line or the Silver Line SL2. You can also access many Commuter Rail lines from South Station.

The Blue Line station is about half a mile from the terminals and connected by free shuttles. Take the #22 or #33 shuttle (the #55 and #66 will also take you there, but they make more stops). The fare for the Blue Line is $2.50 ($2.00 if you pay with a reloadable Charlie Card, which you can get for free to from a station attendant).  The Blue Line ends in downtown Boston, and you can transfer for free to the Orange Line at State St or the Green Line at Government Center.

The Commuter Boat station is connected to the terminals by the free #66 shuttle. The fare is $8.00 per person. The boat drops you off at Long Wharf, near the Aquarium stop on the Blue Line.  City Water Taxi and Rowes Wharf Water Taxi operate year-round between the commuter boat dock and downtown, the seaport, and the cruise terminal.

Rental cars at the airport are located in the new Rental Car Center. Take the free  #22 or #33 shuttle (the #55 will also take you there, but it makes more stops).

Taxis are available at each terminal.

Cruiseport Boston
Brilliance of the Seas will depart from the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal at Cruiseport Boston. Cruiseport Boston is accessible via car, taxi, and the Silver Line SL2.

The Silver Line SL2 stops directly in front of the cruise terminal. This is not the same Silver Line SL1 that goes to the airport, although they do share many stations. You can transfer from the SL1 to the SL2 at Silver Line Way or South Station (transfers at Silver Line Way may require additional fare to be paid). You can also transfer to the SL2 from the Red Line for free at South Station.

City Water Taxi and Rowes Wharf Water Taxi operate year-round between the cruise terminal and docks in downtown, the seaport, and the airport.

Parking is available at the cruise port in the BRA-EDIC Marine Industrial Park garage. Parking is $16/day if you show your Set Sail Pass. The garage is located at 12 Drydock Ave, Boston, MA 02110.

Things to Do in Boston in October

This is just a small sample of things to do in Boston. Keep in mind that the weather in Boston in October can be cold, so many outdoor activities may not be possible.

Is there something you think should be added? Let me know using the "Contact the Webmaster" link above.

  • Faneuil Hall Marketplace - A collection of shops and restaurants located downtown near Long Wharf and the North End.
  • The North End - The oldest residential neighborhood in the country, the North End is filled with high end Italian restaurants and shops. Some of the more famous locations include Mike's Pastry for cannolis and the original Regina Pizza (which is much better than their food-court locations).
  • The Freedom Trail - A 2.5-mile walking trail through some of the most historic sites in Boston dating back to before the Revolutionary War. The walk is considerably shorter if you skip the parts in Charlestown. The weather may or may not be condicive to walking in later October (expect highs ranging from the 30s to the 70s).
  • The Prudential Center - A series of interconnected malls located within some of the tallest buildings in Boston. You can visit the Skywalk Observatory on the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower for panoramic views of the city. Located near Copley Square, home of the Boston Library and the Boston Marathon finish line.
  • New England Aquarium - Located on the waterfront near Fanueil Hall, the aquarium is known for their large collection of penguins and the newly-renovated 3-story-tall Giant Ocean Tank.
  • Boston Museum of Science - Located on a bridge between Boston and Cambridge, the Museum of Science features over 700 interactive exhibits, a number of live presentations (including the largest Van de Graaff lightning generator in the world), and shows at the Charles Hayden Planetarium and the Mugar Omni Theater, the only domed IMAX screen in New England.
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - One of the most comprehensive art museums in the world; the collection encompasses nearly 450000 works of art.
  • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - One of the most unique art museums in the world, the Gardner museum features a collection of international art located inside the former home of collector and philanthropist Isabella Stewart Gardner.
  • John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum - The presidential library and museum of President John F. Kennedy. It is located on the water in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston next to UMass Boston.
  • Mary Baker Eddy Library - This library and museum devoted to the founder of the Christian Science movement is located in the Christian Science complex that also houses the Christian Science "Mother Church" and the Christian Science Monitor. It's located near Copley Square and the Prudential Center. The highlight of the library for those not interested in Christian Science is the Mapparium, a 30-foot diameter stained-glass globe of the earth that you can walk inside of.
  • Boston Duck Tours - View the city from both land and the Charles River on a WWI amphibious vehicle. Each tour guide has their own character that they play, and the tours are always entertaining and funny for kids and adults alike. There are tours departing from the Museum of Science, the Prudential Center, and the Aquarium, although the Aquarium tours are shorter and see less of the city.
  • New England Aquarium Whale Watch - A three-hour tour to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a rich feeding ground for whales, dolphins, sea birds and other marine life. Dress warmly, as it can get very cold on the ocean in October.
  • Old Town Trolley Tours - A Hop-On Hop-Off bus that runs throughout downtown Boston, the seaport district, and parts of Cambridge. They stop at the cruise terminal on days when ships are in port. Each tour includes the second day free as well as your choice of admission to the Boston Tea Party Ships or a 45-minute Harbor Cruise.
  • Upper Deck Trolley Tours - Another Hop-On Hop-Off bus that runs through downtown Boston, the seaport district, and parts of Cambridge. They also stop at the cruise terminal. Their busses are higher (hence the name). They sell packages that include "Super Duck Tours" that go in Boston Harbor (the "Super Duck" is not to be confused with the "Boston Duck Tours", which have much more entertaining drivers and covers more of the city but only go in the Charles River, not the harbor).
Eat and Drink
  • Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the The North End have way more restaurants then I could possibly list here. Highlights include Mike's Pastry, Regina Pizza, Durgin Park, and the large food court at Fanueil Hall.
  • The Union Oyster House - the longest running restaurant in the country.
  • Legal Seafoods - With several locations throughout downtown (including at the airport, near the Aquarium, and in the Seaport District), this local chain serves fresh seafood straight off the boats, as well as the quintessential New England Clam Chowder.
  • Omni Parker House - Located in the Omni Hotel, this restaurant invented Boston Cream Pie and Parker House Rolls, as well as the term "scrod".
  • Cheers Boston - Cheers has two locations -- one at the Bull and Finch Pub where the exterior shots for the TV show were filmed, and one in Faneuil Hall. Despite being a tourist trap, Cheers has surprisingly decent food, and might be worth a visit if you were a fan of the show.
  • Yankee Lobster - A personal favorite, this tiny seafood shack located near the cruise port offers fresh seafood on paper plates at a fraction of the price of Legal. They were featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives for their Lobster Mac and Cheese and their Stuffed Quahogs.
  • James Hook + Co. - Located near South Station, James Hook is mostly a lobster wholesaler and retailer, but they also make one of the best lobster rolls in the city.
  • Harpoon Brewery - This local brewery, located near the cruise port, offers factory tours that include a free beer-tasting. They also have a large beer hall where you can buy glasses or flights of any of their beers and get home-made soft pretzels (made with leftover grain mash from the brewing process).

Day Trips

There are many historic and scenic towns within an hour of Boston. Most are also accessible via the Commuter Rail train system. The commuter rail stops are generally half a mile to a mile from the tourist areas, but you can arrange for a cab before you arrive. Also note that the trains will leave Boston from either North or South Station, and these are not in the same part of downtown.
  • To the north, located on the Rockport line out of North Station, are the sea-side towns of Salem, Gloucester, and Rockport. Salem was the site of the famous Salem Witch Trials, and has museums, trolley tours, and a number of good restaurants. Gloucester is a fishing town (home of Gorton's Seafood) with a scenic harbor, a cute downtown, and plenty of places to get seafood. Rockport is the home of a bunch of art galleries, boutique shops, and a stunning concert hall. If you are driving to Rockport, Halibut Point state park is absolutely stunning.
  • To the south, located on the Plymouth line out of South Station, is the town of Plymouth. Plymouth was where the Mayflower landed (at Plymouth Rock), where the pilgrims established their first colony, and the site of the first Thanksgiving. The waterfront area features Plymouth Rock and a recreation of the Mayflower crewed by historical reenactors. Nearby Plimouth Plantation has recreations of the pilgrim colony and Native American village, also staffed by historical reenactors.
  • Further to the south, on the Providence line out of South Station, is Providence, Rhode Island. Providence is known for its restaurant scene, and claims to have the most restaurants per capita of any city in the country.