The luxurious waterfront estates, white sandy beaches, mangrove-laced islands and marine life of Naples, Fla., beckon exploration by boat, and Naples Boat Charters’ Maritime Lady and the Naples Princess are two popular, year-round sightseeing options.
With salty breezes and the shimmering waters of Naples Bay, the Gordon River, the Gulf of Mexico, and some two dozen canals as backdrop, each boat offers its own uniquely deluxe experience in this premier southwest Florida destination. The cruises showcase both the natural and man-made splendor, featuring views of the multi-million dollar mansions of the Port Royal, Aqualane Shores and Royal Harbor neighborhoods.
Capt. Jim Albert (or Capt. Jim, as he prefers to be called) owns and operates Naples Boat Charters, the sightseeing charter business he established in 2010. Capt. Jim is a U.S. Merchant Marine officer and a U.S. Navy veteran who piloted the nuclear submarine, USS Benjamin Franklin.
He helms Maritime Lady, a sleek, 24-foot Hurricane Sundeck available for private charters. His vessel, which is U.S. Coast Guard-compliant, takes up to six passengers for narrated sightseeing charters, sunset cruises and dolphin watches. He also offers four-and-five-hour lunch trips to Marco Island and Isles of Capri. As a notary public and ordained Christian minister, he performs wedding ceremonies at venues of choice on land and sea, and conducts the releasing of ashes of loved ones at sea.
“Safety first, fun second” is the captain’s motto. An affable and engaging storyteller, he is well versed in the history of Naples, real estate listings and sales, and local sites, and readily shares his knowledge during the cruise.
Boarding for the Maritime Lady occurs at the docks by The Bayfront Inn. Naples Boat Charters provides complimentary water, ice, beverage koozies, and music. Capt. Jim requests that guests wear boat shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. He invites them to bring their own alcoholic beverages (no red wine). Charters are weather-permitting.
The Naples Princess, certified to carry up to 150 passengers and a crew of six, offers a more communal voyage. The elegant yacht measures 105 feet long, 25 feet across, and needs about six feet of water to operate. Built in 2008 by Skipperliner Industries in La Crosse, Wisc., the yacht cost $4.2 million.
Guests on the Naples Princess’ daily public cruises may choose to relax in the enclosed, air-conditioned interior salons, or bask in the sun and fresh air in outdoor seating as they listen to the narrated tour. Two full-service bars offer an assortment of beverages and snacks, while those on the lunch buffet and dinner cruises may enjoy freshly prepared meals.
The Naples Princess departs from her dock at the Port of Naples Marina near downtown Naples and adjacent to the shopping area of Tin City. It so happens that Capt. Jim is one of her captains as well.
Whether opting to cruise on the Maritime Lady or Naples Princess (or even both), seeing Naples from the water is sure to please.
When you go
Naples Boat Charters/Maritime Lady
Located at Bayfront Inn Marina
1221 5th Ave.
South Naples, Fla., 34102
550 Port O Call Way
Naples, Fla., 34102
Click here for other articles by Mary Gilbert. You also can read her travel stories on her blog, The Roads Traveled, at theroadstraveled.com.