Welcoming more than 500,000 visitors per year, the USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. This mammoth ship was named by George Washington himself and defended the sea lanes against threats from 1797 to 1855.
It was during the War of 1812 that the USS Constitution earned its famous nickname, “Old Ironsides,” when cannon balls from the HMS Guerriere seemingly bounced off its sides into the sea. The Constitution won the battle with the HMS Guerriere and, to date, remains Boston’s only undefeated team.
“The ship’s undefeated status continues to make her an inspiration to all Americans,” said Adrian Bresler, vice president and CFO for the USS Constitution Museum. “The ship is open for free guided tours throughout the year, each narrated by several of USS Constitution’s active-duty United States sailors. Groups can fire a cannon, furl a sail, swing in a hammock and scrub the decks just like sailors did 200 years ago.”
Along with a variety of group-oriented options and activities, the museum just opened its “Old Ironsides 1812 Discovery Center,” which provides interactive programs for all to enjoy.
— www.ussconstitutionmuseum.org —
Referred to by many as the “Ship of Presidents” due to its roster of presidential passengers, which has ranged from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George Bush, the USS Iowa, which opened to the public on July 7, has been transformed into a world-class museum perfect for group travel.
“It’s the depth of history, the amazing veterans and the fact it is the last battleship in the world to be saved that draws me to the ship,” said Jonathan Williams, vice president of the Pacific Battleship Center.
With more than 50 years in service, this 58,000-ton Montana-class battleship has defended the United States with its powerful guns, heavy armor and quick speed from WWII to after the Cold War.
Now that the ship is open to the public, groups can tour the entire ship on their own or with a guide; the tour includes a boxed lunch and tours of the gunnery, the wardroom, the bridges, the hatch, the decks and more. The ship is also available to rent out for events. Make sure to check out the famous FDR and captain’s cabin to see the only official bathtub at sea.
— www.pacificbattleship.com —
After being commissioned on Aug. 16, 1942, the Battleship USS Alabama spent 37 months in active duty during World War II with a crew of 2,500 men. The Alabama served most of its time in the South Pacific and earned nine battle stars, shot down 22 enemy planes and joined in 10 bombardments of Japanese strongholds.
The ship is nicknamed “The Mighty A” because no lives were lost on it nor did the ship suffer any significant damage due to enemy fire. But its battle record isn’t the ship’s only impressive feature.
“I find it so amazing that the Alabama was virtually a floating city with everything one would need in their day-to-day lives,” said Karen Conner, director of sales and marketing for the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. “Now the Alabama is a very accessible ship for our visitors. There are 12 levels for them to explore. They can lie in the bunks where sailors slept, get locked in the brig, man a 22mm gun, go inside a gun turret and much more.”
While in the park, groups also have the opportunity to have a catered meal aboard the battleship in the Officers’ Mess Hall, where they can dine using metal mess trays just like the crew of the Alabama.
— www.ussalabama.com —