Riverfront Canal Cruises

Riverfront Canal Cruises

Opens for the 2021 Season with Private Charters Only

Riverfront Canal Cruises kicks off its 21st season on Friday, April 2, offering private charters only. Canal Cruise charters are private, one or more hour tours that are a favorite for family reunions, celebrating birthdays, intimate weddings and engagements, and many more group outings.

Customers may choose for their cruise to be historically narrated. These tours of the James River and Kanawha Canal along the historic Canal Walk review centuries of Richmond’s history, from Powhatan’s Chiefdom to the first commercially successful electric streetcar in the world, all while traveling in authentically-styled, flat-bottomed boats. See the unique Triple Crossing railroad, tobacco warehouses that have been converted into trendy lofts, the Virginia Capital Trail, the Low Line gardens and James River wildlife.

Customers can choose to forgo the historic narration and take in the sights while listening to light music over a provided speaker or simply conversing with boat mates. The boats can be outfitted with tables of various sizes that can accommodate light refreshments or a more formal catered meal.

Pricing and Guidelines

Your chartered boat(s) may be set up in one of three configurations:

  • Dining style has tables and chairs, seating a maximum of 20 passengers.
  • Cocktail style has chairs, benches and a small table, seating a maximum of 22 passengers.
  • Excursion style has chairs and benches, seating a maximum of 25 passengers.

Prices:

  • $150 per boat / per hour
  • $130 per boat / per hour for seniors and non-profits/educational groups

Employee and passenger safety is our primary concern. Our safety guidelines are based on recommendations by the CDC, VDH and local authorities. If any group member shows symptoms of Covid-19, that person should not attend. All staff and passengers will have their temperature checked upon arrival at the site. A properly fitted mask that covers both mouth and nose is required to board the canal boats (over the age of four) and must continue to be worn while underway. Staff will wear masks at all times. Boat surfaces will be sanitized and thoroughly cleaned between charters and hand sanitizer is available for use.

Questions? Email canal@venturerichmond.com

The 32-foot long boats are covered with a canopy to protect riders from the weather, but we recommend that all passengers check the weather the day of and dress accordingly. The boats are handicapped accessible and can accommodate up to two wheelchairs.

Charters may be scheduled for any day and time during the boating season, are dependent on weather conditions, and are scheduled on an individual basis, subject to availability.

For the safety of patrons and staff during these uncertain times, private charters are limited to 25 passengers per boat (at this time).

Please book charters a minimum of two weeks in advance. Once scheduled, cruises can be canceled up to 7 days in advance without penalty. All reservations must be made online. To book your private charter now, click on “Buy Tickets” at the top of this webpage.

At this time, hourly, public canal cruise historic tours are not a part of the opening plan for 2021. Venture Richmond reserves the right to make adjustments to the Riverfront Canal Cruise schedule and plan, for the safety of both our patrons and staff, and in accordance with the Governor’s phased approach to group gatherings and the reopening of businesses. Currently, closing day is planned for Sunday, November 14, 2021.

Directions to Riverfront Canal Cruises

Maps Address: 139 Virginia St, Richmond, VA 23219

Google Maps Link

From the south

Take I-95N to Richmond. Exit onto the Downtown Expressway (I-195). Take the Canal Street to Route 60 exit. Turn right onto 10th Street, then right on East Cary Street. Continue on East Cary Street to Virginia Street (just before 14th Street). Turn right onto Virginia Street. Continue straight over Canal Street and, in a half block, the Turning Basin will be on your left.

From the north

Take I-95S to Richmond. Take Exit 74B (Franklin Street). Go straight through the light at the end of the ramp. At the next light, East Main Street, take a right. Then turn left at 14th Street (first light). At the second light, turn right onto Canal Street. Take an immediate left at Virginia Street (no street sign). The Turning Basin is just one block down under the bridge on Virginia Street.

From the east

Take I-64W toward Richmond. Take Exit 190, 5th Street/Downtown. Follow 5th Street to East Cary Street and turn left. Continue on East Cary Street to Virginia Street (just before 14th Street). Turn right onto Virginia Street. Continue straight over Canal Street and, in a half block, the Turning Basin will be on your left.

From the west

Take I-64E toward Richmond. Exit onto the Downtown Expressway (I-195). After the toll booth, take the 7th and 9th Street exit. Take a left onto 9th Street. Take a right on East Cary Street and continue to Virginia Street (just before 14th Street). Turn right onto Virginia Street and go straight. Continue straight over Canal Street and, in a half block, the Turning Basin will be on your left.

Parking Garage & Lot Locations Near Canal Cruises

  • East Cary and Virginia Street parking deck (fronting Virginia St)
  • Surface parking lot along the Flood Wall between Virginia Street and 12th Street
  • 14th and East Cary Street parking deck
  • 12th and Canal Street parking deck
  • Omni/James Center parking deck (underground, limited space) at 12th and East Cary Streets
  • 15th and East Cary Street surface lots

360° Virtual Field Trip Video

Riverfront Canal Cruises has released a new 360° video featuring a virtual canal boat tour with a historic narrative. The narration touches on the SOLs for Virginia Studies and U.S. History to 1865, assisting 4th and 5th graders as they complete the school year in a fun way!

Find more info about the 360° video here!

Riverfront Canal Cruises COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

Employee and passenger safety is our primary concern. Our safety guidelines are developed on recommendations by the CDC, VDH and local authorities.

Please review the following checklist with all members of your party on the day of your charter. If you or any member of your group shows any of the following symptoms, that person should not attend the event.

  • Feeling feverish or having an elevated measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • A cough that cannot be attributed to another health condition
  • A sore throat that cannot be attributed to another health condition
  • Chills that cannot be attributed to another health condition
  • Shortness of breath that cannot be attributed to another health condition
  • Muscle aches that cannot be attributed to another health condition or specific activity
  • Having had any close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days

Tickets can only be purchased online in advance thru VentureRichmond.com. While waiting to board the boat, please follow instructions according to staff and signage: wear a face covering at all times and observe social distancing guidelines.

Charter passengers are capped at 25 people per boat at this time, per the Governor’s executive order #72. We anticipate that this number will increase as the canal boat season progresses and will update this website as circumstances change.

Specific safety guidelines, based on CDC/VDH requirements and guidance from local health officials, will be strictly enforced. All staff and attendees will have their temperature checked upon arrival at the site. Staff will wear masks at all times.

A properly fitted MASK THAT COVERS YOUR MOUTH AND NOSE IS REQUIRED to board the canal boats and must continue to be worn while underway and removed for short periods only for eating and drinking.

The boat surfaces are sanitized and thoroughly cleaned between charters. We ask that if you bring food or beverages you also bring trash bags and police the boat so that staff may more effectively focus on eliminating Covid-19 exposure risk. Hand sanitizer will be available for use by passengers and employees.

Any passenger that does not abide by the Covid-19 protocols listed here will be asked to leave the canal boat without a refund.

Riverfront Canal Cruises do not have any restroom facilities, please plan accordingly.

COVID-19 Warning/Terms & Conditions - All passengers freely and voluntarily assume ALL RISKS, HAZARDS AND DANGERS arising from or relating in any way to the risk of contracting a communicable disease or illness (including exposure to COVID-19, a bacteria, virus, or other pathogen capable of causing a communicable disease or illness), whether occurring before, during, or after the event, however caused or contracted, and hereby covenant not to sue and waive, release, and discharge any and all claims and potential claims against Riverfront Canal Cruises LLC d/b/a Venture Richmond, Inc., The City of Richmond, and any and all affiliates, owners, members, officers, principals, directors, employees, agents, and volunteers (“Venture Richmond”) relating to such risks to the fullest extent allowed under Virginia law. If you are inviting passengers to join you, you agree that all parties have reviewed, acknowledged, and agreed to this waiver, and you warrant and represent that you have the right, authority, and capacity to enter into this Agreement on behalf of yourself, your minor children, and any other people for whom you are bringing onto the charter. You hereby agree to indemnify, save, and hold harmless Venture Richmond from any and all loss, liability, damage, or cost, including attorney’s fees, arising from or relating to exposure to or physical illness or death from COVID-19. We have taken enhanced health and safety measures – for passengers and staff. You must follow all posted instructions while at the Riverfront Canal Cruises. An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe physical illness and death. To enter the Canal Cruise boats, all passengers are required to have their temperatures taken and recorded by Venture Richmond employees, contractors, agents, and/or volunteers and must complete a questionnaire. Anyone refusing to comply with the forgoing requirements will not be allowed entry onto the canal boats. Anyone who has a temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, who answers "yes" to any of the questions on the questionnaire, or who is observed exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed entry onto the canal boats. Venture Richmond has the right, at its sole discretion, to deny entry onto our canal cruise boats for any reason, including but not limited to those reasons provided herein. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable. By visiting the Riverfront Canal Cruises, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.

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