Photograph by Don Hills, My Shot
From the National Geographic book Journeys of a Lifetime
Vancouver Ferries, Canada
State-of-the-art ferries cross sparkling waters between Vancouver and the surrounding islands, passing dense deciduous forests and snowy peaks, glimpsed distantly across the water. Ferries run more frequently in summer.www.bcferries.com
Staten Island Ferry, New York City
Speed past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as the mighty tower blocks of Manhattan cast long shadows across the surface of New York harbor. Five miles (eight kilometers) and 25 minutes later, you reach Staten Island. Get off to explore New York’s least known borough or stay on the ferry and return to Manhattan. Best of all, the trip is free!www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/ferrybus/statfery.shtml
San Francisco to Sausalito Ferry, California
On the 30-minute ferry ride, you’ll see splendid views of Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz prison, Angel Island, and the San Francisco skyline. Be sure to go on a clear day: San Francisco’s famous fog often obscures the views.www.goldengateferry.org
New Orleans to Algiers Ferry, Louisiana
The stately Algiers ferry carries passengers (for free!) across the Mississippi River between the old neighborhood of Algiers Point and the rest of New Orleans.www.neworleansonline.com/tools/transportation/gettingaround/ferry.html
Star Ferry, Hong Kong, China
Running between Hong Kong island and the Kowloon mainland, the famous Star Ferry takes only five minutes, but delivers a spectacular view of the city skyline, especially later in the day when the sun is setting.www.starferry.com.hk/new/en/index.asp
Brisbane CityCat, Australia
The sleek, modern CityCats of Brisbane seem almost to hover above the surface of the water. Take an exhilarating ride along the Brisbane River, past Story Bridge and South Bank Parklands. CityCats are fast—for a more sedate experience and a chance to admire the city at leisure, go for an open-air City Ferry.
Bosphorus Ferry, Istanbul, Turkey
The delicate minarets and ornate architecture of Istanbul are spread out before you from the deck of a Bosphorus ferry in this city that sits on the cusp of two continents. Sip tea in the open air as the ferry carries you past the most splendid sights in the city—from Ottoman palaces to the Bosphorus Bridge.
Venice Vaporetto, Italy
Although gondolas may be romantic, true Venetians speed round the city in vaporettos, or water buses. You can get in the mood of the city straight from the airport. A vaporetto will take you into the city with stops at Murano and the Lido, Venice’s beach, before dropping you off right in St. Mark’s Square. Other routes head to different parts of the city. Take a ferry trip to one of the city’s islands or the Lido, for a glimpse of a less touristy Venice.www.actv.it/english/home.php
Naples to Capri Ferry, Italy
The Bay of Naples boasts some of the most attractive coastline in the world. Take a boat ride from Naples to Capri over the azure sea and explore the famous Blue Grotto, where the cavern is naturally illuminated with blue light. Time your trip so that you can get to Capri for lunch; many restaurants have great views of Naples, which you can enjoy along with your Spaghetti Vongole and a glass of the local white wine made from grapes grown in Etna’s rich volcanic soil.www.capri.net
Mersey Ferry, Liverpool, England
The famous red-and-black ferries of Liverpool take an hour to cross the great Mersey River. Dating back to the 12th century, this is the oldest ferry service in Europe. As well as the standard ferry service, there are also tours of the Merseyside area and themed cruises for special occasions. The Beatles cruise celebrates the city’s links with the Fab Four, who all lived in the city.www.merseyferries.co.uk
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