Urban Pirates' adult cruises in Baltimore

When you hop on board the pirate ship "Fearless," you're in for a fun ride. This bring-your-own-grog cruise (grog is pirate-speak for alcohol) gives the 21-plus crowd a different way to have fun, complete with costumes and crew. Get ready to paaarghty!
Friday, July 23, 2010

The recent "Twilight" hype may have forced pirates to take a back seat to vampires, but if you're in Baltimore and looking to party, pirates are the ones to turn to. Urban Pirates' hour-long "bring-your-own-grog" cruises from Baltimore's Fell's Point through the Inner Harbor give the 21-and-older crowd a chance to sail into a new persona for the evening: a landlubber-hating, rum-loving member of a pirate crew.

The Fearless, a 52-foot replica pirate boat that fits up to 49 passengers, is crewed by pirates and features water cannons, a deck that doubles as a dance floor and a bathroom, which we're pretty sure wasn't available on pirate ships of old. Pirate flags flap in the harbor breeze (accompanied by an American flag), and the wooden ship looks quite realistic. As soon as you step onboard, you must don a pirate vest and sash, which can be worn around your head or waist and, as you'll discover by the end of the night, a variety of other unexpected ways. You're also given a pirate name and a (temporary) pirate-themed tattoo.

Passengers are welcome to bring any kind of beverage onboard; other than the bottle of rum doled out as a prize, there's none served on the boat. The cruises embark every Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 and 9 through Sept. 7. (There are some 10:30 cruises, and weekday jaunts can be arranged for groups of 15 or more.) The hour is taken up mostly by pirate games and dances accompanied by drinking. The fun starts with an ice breaker, where everyone tries to successfully guess which word is stuck to their back. To do so, you can ask each person on the boat two "aye" or "nay" questions about the word.

Some words, like "grog," are on the easy side, while those with words such as "sea monkey" will get a chance to meet nearly everyone on board. If you guess your word correctly, you're rewarded with rum, which is poured into a shot glass necklace given out before the ship set sail (and yes, you do get to keep it).

While you may feel silly at first, the crewmembers are outgoing pirates who do their best to get everyone else into pirate spirit, and, yes, encouraging drinking is one way they do it. But a pirate battle always helps. You must defend the "Fearless" by shooting water cannons at a rogue pirate who just couldn't stay away from the ship's rum. Various shouts of "arghh!" at any passersby within hearing distance also aid in getting into the pirate mood. The captain's only two rules are easy to follow: don't fall off the boat, and don't cause anyone else to fall off the boat.

Though an hour feels like a very short time, the weekend cruises are staggered perfectly to spend some time before or after the cruise enjoying nearby nightlife. Those who would rather not drink are welcome onboard, but don't expect a free pass on the pirate antics -- there be no landlubbers aboard the Fearless.

-- Kristen Boghosian

WHERE IS IT? The boat leaves from the Ann Street Pier, near the end of South Ann and Thames streets in Baltimore's Fell's Point. Arrive 30 minutes early in order to get on your pirate garb. WHAT SHOULD I BRING? A cooler full of whatever you want to drink. You're also welcome to bring snacks on board. HOW MUCH IS IT? $27.50, including tax. Call 410-327-8378 or visit for more information or to make reservations. FOR KIDS The Fearless also offers family cruises on Saturday and Sunday that depart between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The boat ride features pirate songs, dances and water cannons. Tickets cost $20 for ages 3 and older, $10 for ages 2 and younger. There's also a free story time Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m., with songs, games and stories aboard the ship.

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