My husband and I were really looking forward to doing the whole Water Taxi thing. We heard good things about it and it sounded like a fun way to see the area. The value was good, for sure. For $20/person you can get off and on the boats as often as you'd like. That seems reasonable. If you are planning on using it throughout the day, I can see how it would be a good value for sure. But, I would try to start sooner (mid-morning at least) to get your moneys worth. My husband and I started our tour in the afternoon. The first boat we were on was a wonderful experience. The boat crew was absolutely hilarious. Their jokes and backhanded comments had us laughing the whole time. We definitely tipped them when we got off at Las Olas Blvd. They told us what time to catch the next boat at that stop and we headed off to tour Las Olas (stop 9). Everything with the Water Taxi pretty much went downhill from there.
The boats did not come back when they said they would. In fact, they were about 20 mins late. We got there a little early so as not to miss the boat, so it was annoying that the boat was so late. Finally a double-decker Water Taxi showed up. We just wanted to get the heck out of there, so we hopped on. It turns out the double-decker waits for 5-10 mins at every stop (unlike the smaller boats that take off after a minuter or two tops). The staff of the double-decker did not talk at all except to tell us there was alcohol available downstairs... oh, and to request that everyone tip them on the way off the boat. Tip them for what? They didn't entertain like the other boat staff. They just drove the boat. The $40 we paid should have already covered that. Also to note: The large boat has to skip a lot of stops since it is too big to dock at some locations. We got off after one stop and switched to the smallest of boats in the fleet.
Warning about the really small boats: I sat in the front and got completely sprayed with water for the entire LONG ride to the next stop (I had to wait to switch seats). My hair was all wet and ruined after that. It was gross and not something I wanted to experience while out and about, shopping and dining.
We decided to use the taxi into the evening for dinner. We wanted to go to stop 8 (15th Street Fisheries). We got to stop 3 on time, actually 5 minutes early. The boat showed up a few minutes late, but what they do not tell you on the schedule is that just because a boat is stopping, it doesn't mean the boat will get you to where you want to go! Apparently that boat was an express boat that would stop at 7 and 9, but he wouldn't go to 8 for us. So we had to sit there until 8:30ish to wait for another boat to come by. We didn't get to the restaurant until a little after 9PM and by the time we were done eating we just ended up paying to take a regular taxi come to avoid the whole boat debacle again.
If you want to use it:
- Start early in the day
- Stick to the medium-sized boats
- Expect that you may have to wait for the right boat to come by, don't rely just on the schedule and assume the boats will go where you want
- Avoid the double-decker completely
- Evening/night service is unreliable
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