PROVINCETOWN, Ma – The brochure for Boston Harbor Cruise’s Provincetown Fast Ferry claims that they can get you from Boston to Provincetown in “less than 90 minutes.”
Unfortunately, 90 minutes into my voyage on the “Fast Ship Salencia” the on-board “concierge” came on and said “as you have noticed, we are not in Provincetown yet. We are having engine trouble and we will be arriving at Provincetown at 11:10am.”
Around the two hour mark, I went inside to get out of the wind. When I did, I saw a man in his mid-thirties who looked just like the hero of Pilgrim Song with his scraggly bright red hair and mountain man beard. He was excitable and innately curious about everything around him. His speech was lilting and slightly effeminate with a lisp almost as strong as his New England accent (with a noticeable drawl) making for a bizarre combination with his smooth radio quality voice.
I could here and make all sorts of judgments about his appearance, intelligence, maturity or even sexuality. That’s when I realized that’s what I do when I’m not on vacation, besides I’m still under orders to “drop the fucking attitude” with the presumed penalty of death looming above me for any infractions.
So 11:10 comes along and our concierge comes back on the PA to announce a new, improved final and most importantly “confirmed” arrival time of 11:45am as well as a “free return trip” for one-way passengers.
I had round trip tickets. L
I asked the concierge and he said they would offer a partial refund for this end of the trip. That’s good, I guess*, but I still only had 3 ½ hours to explore the city before having to board the ferry back.
My first stop (after waiting in line for the “partial refund”) was the trolley stop so I could get a decent overview of the city. The tour lasted about 45 minutes and dropped me off back in front of city hall. Then I walked to the Pilgrim Tower & Museum just across from the city high school.
When I entered the museum, I was told it was “FREE Friday” meaning that I could enter both the tower and the accompanying museum free of charge. It also made both more crowded, but the view from the top of the tower was awesome (even if I was too exhausted to enjoy it without thinking about having to go back down it again).
I left the museum’s parking lot with just under an hour before the return ferry to Boston arrived. I wandered through downtown, occasionally I’d hear someone barking about a show that didn’t start until a half hour after the last ferry left (8:30pm on Friday\Saturday). This left only shopping and quick service restaurants, neither of which appealed to me.
Finally, I simply made my way back to McMillan Wharf, and found a long line of passengers waiting for the same 4pm ferry. Also making their way through the pier was a pair of “hot” muscle guys in short shorts, tight t-shirts and exaggerated lisps giving away “free” “goodie bags” to anyone willing to sign up for some worthless credit card. I was somewhat embarrassed for them, but outraged at the kind of insulting pandering their employers called “marketing” – especially since I studied marketing in college.
I boarded the new ferry (“Gloria Vastera”) just a few minutes after 4pm. We pulled out of the harbor just a few seconds after I sat down, and just under 90 minutes later we landed in Long Wharf across from the Aquarium. The brochure was right…or at least on the return trip.
* Though as of 7/26/12, I have yet to receive the promised e-mail confirmation of said “refund” from either Boston Harbor Cruises or my credit card company.