Frequently Asked Questions
Are these authentic gondolas?
Yes! Both gondolas were built in Venice, Italy. Everything about the boat, the gondolier, the style of rowing, and his/her uniform are real. The owners have gone to incredible lengths to maintain the ancient Venetian traditions regarding the gondola and to present the Gondola di Venezia experience as 100% authentic. There are few authentic gondolas in all of North America and we proudly share our passion for these boats with you.
Do the gondolas have motors?
No, our gondolas are authentic and are rowed Venetian "Voga" style, by our gondoliers.
What is the season?
Our season usually runs from the end of May to mid October. We are closed Monday through Thursday. If you must have a tour scheduled Monday through Thursday, special arrangements may be available at additional cost.
Please call 617-876-2800 if you are trying to check availability for a weekday tour.
What times do the gondolas operate?
Friday through Sunday 2 PM – 11 PM by advance ticket purchase only
Can you get a tour for a weekday, Monday through Thursday?
We are closed Monday through Thursday and our reservation company does not accept requests for tours for these days. However, if you have a very special occasion that cannot wait for a Friday, Saturday or Sunday tour, please email us at email@example.com or call 617-876-2800. We will try our very best to have a gondolier and musician accommodate you. Please keep in mind that we will need at least a 48 hr notice and there is no guarantee! There will be additional costs for setting up and breaking down for just 1 tour, and the fee will need to be paid with cash and guaranteed with a credit card.
Will there be other people on the tour with us?
No! All tours are completely private, so only those passengers in your party will be on board.
Do you sell alcohol?
No, but you are welcome to bring aboard your own alcoholic beverage. Your gondolier will supply you with glasses, ice, ice bucket and a corkscrew or bottle opener. There are a few liquor store in the area on Charles St. for those who wish to purchase before a scheduled tour.
May I bring my own wine or champagne?
Provided you are of legal age and have ID, yes. You may bring a bottle of champagne, wine, sparkling cider or any other beverage. (Corkscrews and bottle openers are available for your use on the gondola.)
Isn't it illegal to consume alcohol on The Esplanade?
Yes, it is. Gondola di Venezia has special permission to allow guests to drink their own champagne, wine, or beer while on the gondolas. You may not consume alcohol on The Esplanade either before or after your tour.
May I bring coffee or tea aboard the gondola?
Yes! You may bring your own warm beverage, provided that it has a lid and is safely contained. Please keep in mind that the safe consumption of your beverage is your responsibility. Gondola di Venezia cannot be held liable for injuries due to warm or hot beverages.
Can I purchase food or drink at the Esplanade?
The Esplanade Cafe is generally open from 10 AM until 6 PM and they sell soft drinks, sandwiches, hot dogs, pretzels, coffee and an assortment of other snacks. They do not sell alcohol. Remember, please do not bring food to eat on the gondolas!
Where are the gondolas located?
Our two authentic Venetian gondolas are located at The Esplanade in front of The Hatch Shell. We are only a very short walk from downtown Boston, Beacon Hill, Cheers, The Public Gardens and Boston Common. To get to The Esplanade you will have to walk across The Arthur Fiedler Footbridge at the corner of Beacon Street and Arlington Street. See our Maps & Directions page for more help.
Are you accessible by Public Transportation (T) and Trolley Tours?
Yes, Public transportation on the green line, get off at Arlington stop and walk past the Boston Public Gardens towards Cheers restaurant. Cross over the Arthur Fiedler footbridge to the left of Cheers and you will see the green, white and gold gondola poles. On the Red line, get off at Charles Street and walk along the Charles River to the Esplanade. It is approximately a 5-minute walk from both the Green and Red lines to the gondolas. Most of the major trolley tour companies stop close to Cheers restaurant, which is only a 2 to 3 minute walk to our gondolas. See our Maps & Directions page.
Where should I park my car?
If you are planning on dinner before or after your tour a popular option is to take advantage of the valet parking at Maggianno's Little Italy or 75 Chestnut St. or the Hungry I at 71 Charles St. The Boston Common Parking Garage is located between the Boston Common and the Public Garden on Charles St. Using parking meters on the streets is another option. There are hundreds of parking meters around the Public Gardens, Boston Common, Beacon St. (near Cheers), Arlington St. and Charles St.
Are there restaurants nearby?
Yes, there are many good restaurants within walking distance to the gondolas (some even have valet parking). See our Links page for suggestions.
What is your Cancellation Policy?
Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded and cannot be rescheduled because your space is being guaranteed at the event.
What happens if it is cloudy, hot, or a bit cold? Can I cancel?
You cannot cancel your tour for the above reasons. Your gondolier will never jeopardize anyone's safety due to weather. We offer umbrellas to shield you from the sun and warm blankets to snuggle up with on those chilly nights.
What happens if it rains?
Tours proceed as scheduled in mild weather conditions. Tours will only be cancelled at the discretion of Gondola di Venezia, and we will only cancel in the event of moderate rain, severe wind, or dangerous weather conditions. If you have purchased tickets for a tour that is cancelled, you will have the opportunity to reschedule your tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit towards a future event.
What happens if I am late?
Most likely your tour will be cut short. (Please, please, please be on time, or even early!)
Can seniors easily get on board?
Yes. It is very simple and takes little effort getting on and off of our gondolas. Your gondolier will always assist you. We take many seniors on tours and we always have a great time. If you feel you have special needs or concerns about boarding the gondola, please let us know upon booking tickets.
Can children come on a gondola tour?
Yes. Children under 10 years of age can come aboard free of charge as long as each child is accompanied by an adult. We have many families with children come aboard and we always have a blast. (Remember, children 12 years of age or younger must wear a life jacket, which are provided on board.)
Are the gondolas handicapped accessible?
We have yet to deny any person with a handicap access to our gondolas. The Esplanade is wheelchair accessible by means of using a ramp over The Arthur Fiedler footbridge. The boarding dock has a ramp as well, so there are no stairs. We will have to assist you out of your wheelchair and onto the gondola, as wheelchairs cannot be allowed on the gondolas. There is also available parking at The Esplanade for handicapped persons. Please indicate any special instructions you may need for assistance on and off the boat upon booking tickets.
Are there restrooms on the gondolas?
No, but there are public restrooms at The Esplanade that are generally open until 8:00 PM.
What is the best time for a tour?
There is no such thing as a best time. Just a few guidelines: Families and groups tend to find the daylight hours or late afternoons more appealing. If you are looking for a romantic experience, night tours offer more privacy. Sunset tours are highly sought after. There is only 1 time per day that the sun will set, so buy your tickets far in advance.
What time is sunset?
Sunset is different every day. You can use these times as an approximate guide:
* May 31 – 8:14PM
* June 15 – 8:23PM
* June 30 – 8:25PM
* July 15 – 8:19PM
* July 31 – 8:04PM
* August 15 – 7:45PM
* August 31 – 7:19PM
* September 15 – 6:53 PM
* September 30 – 6:27PM
* October 15 – 6:02PM
Can I add things like roses, photos, bottle message,
or take home custom glasses?
Do all tours go on the river?
All tours do go on the river most of the time, weather permitting, at the discretion of the gondolier. On rare occasions when the wind is too powerful or there is too much boat traffic, your gondolier reserves the right to remain in the canals, lagoons and ponds for safety reasons.
Can I bring additional passengers?
Yes. Each additional passenger is $15 with a total maximum of 6 passengers per gondola.
How many people can a gondola carry?
The gondola can carry up to 6 passengers each. Groups between 7 and 12 passengers should contact us to make special arrangements to use both boats at the same time. Please see our group outings page for more information.
Do people get married on the gondolas?
Yes. We have had some very beautiful wedding ceremonies and commitment ceremonies. We have special uniforms and dress for the gondolas, and our gondoliers love to help make it a special and wonderful occasion. To create a custom ceremony, please contact us. Please see our special occasions page for more information on weddings and other celebrations.
What do you do for marriage proposals?
This information is top secret! You will not find a more unique and special way to say, "Will you marry me?" If you intend to propose on the gondola, please make sure you let us know beforehand. Please see our special occasions page for more information on marriage proposals and other celebrations. click here to learn more about this secret option
Can my photographer come on board?
Yes. We have many requests for photoshoots and engagement photos. You must notify us in advance if a professional photographer is part of your party.
Are gondolas safe?
Gondolas are very safe. Besides being especially built to avoid tipping, our gondolas are fully equipped with all US Coast Guard required equipment including life jackets. NO, you do not have to wear a life jacket unless you are 12 years of age or younger.
Will I get seasick?
In the past we have never seen a single guest get sick. Our tours are designed to be smooth and relaxing.
Do celebrities ever ride the gondolas?
All the time! How about President Bush, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Tom Brady, and the Queen of England! Just kidding! Gondoliers are great at keeping secrets. We will never reveal who you are or who you came with. Maintaining your privacy is important to us. Our lips are sealed!
Do you sell gift certificates?
Yes. A gift certificate makes a very special gift for Valentine's Day, birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, corporate gifts and just about any special occasion. Credit cards accepted include Visa and MasterCard.
What should I leave for a tip (gratuity)?
Your gondoliers row for the love of it and work hard to make your experience a happy and memorable one. They are compensated by gratuities and appreciate everyone's generosity. The range of tipping is 15% to 30%. If you feel a gratuity is not deserved, please do not tip, and let us know why. We appreciate your feedback.
Advance purchase required.
Tours usually sell out well in advance!