BOSTON: duck vs. trolley?

Old Apr 26th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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BOSTON: duck vs. trolley?

If I'm not mistaken, the Duck Tour and Trolley tour in Boston are about the same but one lasts for one hour while the other is good all day? Pros and cons for each?
Thanks!
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Old Apr 26th, 2013, 01:06 PM
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Potentially different commentary on each. Getting on and off the Trolley. But you go on the water in the Duck...I have done the Duck Tour and enjoyed it but you won't get a lot of depth in the commentary and you cannot get off.
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Old Apr 26th, 2013, 07:45 PM
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So would you suggest the Trolley instead of the Duck tour? Thanks for the comments.
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Old Apr 27th, 2013, 02:46 AM
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They are completely different experiences. Duck Tour is an hour or so, has some mildly historical commentary. You stay on the vehicle the entire time, ride thru some streets, and then the highlight is drive time in the Charles River. As a long-time Bostonian that was interesting to me since I never see that side of buildings that close up. Fun - but it really is a short trip and you still have the rest of the day to do something - a plus or a minus.

Trolley Tours - there are 2 main companies. This is the standard hop-on/hop-off trolley tour found in most cities. Historical commentary is a step up, but the jokes are worse - both depend on the driver/narrator, though. This can be an all-day event. Even though Boston is a walkable city and public transit is good for the other parts, I would suggest this. We often do the hop-on/hop-off thing in a new city on the first day. It gives us an overview and then we can return to other places on our own later. If you had a short time in Boston, I would still recommend this.

I think of the Duck Tour as a fun ride, not as a way to see the city. The Trolley Tour is transportation and way to see more of the city. Choice really depends on what you are looking for on that day - but they are certainly not interchangeable.
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Old Apr 27th, 2013, 03:37 AM
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As a former resident of Boston' s waterfront, I hated both equally. In general the tour commentary I overheard was garbage, and the blocked traffic in busy places.

Rant over. If I were a visitor, the trolley could be useful for hop-on, hop-off as a place to rest.
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Old Apr 27th, 2013, 07:09 AM
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Gail, great breakdown of the two tours - that truly helps clarify my choices!
Ackislander - I got a good chuckle reading your perspective ... thanks for the laugh!
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Old Apr 27th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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When I visit a city that has good public transportation, I use it. It is a great way to get a feel for the place.

Riding around in taxis, or using transportation that is provided especially for tourists, is good for those who want to remain detached from the life of the city.

HTTY
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Old Apr 27th, 2013, 09:29 AM
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HTTY - on the other hand, if you are a tourist, you are a tourist - and sometimes that means you want to see as much of the sights as possible in the time you have. It is all a balance between absorbing the local flavor and seeing what you went there to see in the first place. The longer I have in a particular place, the more I use public transit and the more time I spend with local charm. For example, I would gain a much closer contact with New Yorkers if I spent an afternoon at the laundromat chatting - but then I would miss the Statue of Liberty and a perhaps a museum.
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Old Apr 27th, 2013, 12:40 PM
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Duck tour was our favorite thing to do on our Boston trip
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Old Apr 28th, 2013, 07:54 AM
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but then I would miss the Statue of Liberty and a perhaps a museum.

When I went to the Statue of Liberty I took the subway to Whitehall Street, and I always walk to the Met, Frick, Whitney, MOMA, etc. on foot.

I am just trying to suggest to the OP forms of transport that may not come to mind because they are not well advertised to make money off of tourists.

I see the Duck on the streets of Seattle. The driver is inevitably cracking jokes and the people on the vehicle seem to be having a good time. That's o.k. with me. It's just not my idea of a good time. I have fun walking and rubbing elbows with locals even if it means I won't have time for every museum in town.

HTTY
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Old Apr 28th, 2013, 08:07 AM
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I've live in the distant suburbs of Boston for many years, and took the Duck Tour once. Have to say it wasn't my thing, but our guide was clearly a history buff, and I was impressed with his knowledge. I'm sure this must vary a lot.

I've heard it said many times that the commentary on the trolley tours is not very factual, but I've never been on one.
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Old Apr 28th, 2013, 08:24 AM
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Quacking at Boston locals was never the best of ideas. And yet we never hated them for it, seein' as we're Bostonians and well we perfected the toss the tea into the drink and make way for the ducklings and dress them up as sports ducks.

It really comes down to whether you want a short tour that gets you on the river or a jump on and off tour.

If you quack at me you will get the stink eye!
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Old Apr 28th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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Thanks for all the input, I think I'm gonna flip a coin
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Old Apr 28th, 2013, 06:31 PM
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I did the Duck tour and had a great guide. He knew Boston well and shared a lot of details. The guide makes the difference. I liked the Duck tour too because I could see the sites higher up than from car/street level.

To be fair, I should disclose that I have not done the Trolley.

Let us know which way the coin toss goes!
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Old Apr 28th, 2013, 06:56 PM
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On busy days, if you hop off the trolley you might wait a long long time for the next one that has seats. If you choose the trolley because it affords an overview of the city, you might plan to pick it up at the start of its route and stay aboard to the end.
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Old Apr 29th, 2013, 02:53 AM
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How about taking a Duck Tour and then walking or riding the MBTA for everything else? Do the Duck Tour on first day - it will give you an overview of a small area. Depending on your other plans, Duck Tour starting points are either at Museum of Science - if that is on your list pick that; or Prudential Center (middle of downtown, near Copley Square).
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Old Apr 29th, 2013, 01:32 PM
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We took the trolley tour and really enjoyed it. It is great to be able to hop on and off and see some of the sights. I think you will get more of an overview on the trolley.
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