Historic and Modern Boston as Seen from the Bus

Day 8, 2023 East Coast Voyage

Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, Boston, USA

Today, I paid $60 for the honor of creeping through traffic on Boston’s streets for two hours.

In other words, I took the hop-on, hop-off bus, frequently called the HOHO. It circled through Boston’s city center, stopping about 20 times to let passengers on and off at the most popular tourist attractions. The driver provided a running commentary.

View from the bus

The sky was blue, the sun bright and the temperature in the 70s. It seemed everyone in Boston was out enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon before fall seriously sets in.

HOHO buses are great in theory, but my experience is that they are best for riding the entire circuit for an overview rather than as transportation from one place to another. For one thing, they aren’t cheap. In this case, an online ticket for Sunday was $60 ($80 if you purchased through the ship), with the price varying by season and day of the week.

But my biggest complaint is that you can wait quite a while at each stop for a shuttle with room for you. Most people on our bus were on for the duration, so we frequently had no seats for waiting customers.

Waiting for a HOHO bus in front of Cheers bar (under renovation)

I last took a HOHO in Oslo, Norway, last April, where I was recovering from my fractured kneecap and could just get around on crutches for short distances. It is a great way to see a city without walking, although not particularly conducive to taking great photographs.

Because I visited most of Boston’s historic sites decades ago, rather than walk the mile and a half to downtown I opted for the bus that picked me up at the cruise port. I jumped off at the first stop by the Boston Harbor waterfront to have lunch. This is the main HOHO stop, where the buses start empty, so I knew after eating I could get on a bus for the entire circuit with just a short wait.

Even I have a limit for lobster roll prices, and the $43 on the menu exceeded it. Instead I had a great bowl of chowder and P.E.I. mussels. This will probably be my last on-shore lunch for a while, and that’s a good thing. The Lido has a great salad bar, and it’s time to get back to eating more sensibly and cheaply.

After the two-hour tour, I disembarked at the ship about 45 minutes before all-aboard time, only to discover it had been extended for a couple of hours to accommodate bunkering fuel. I watched the sail-away from a table by the dining room windows, eating delicious fresh cod. Tomorrow is a welcome sea day after five busy ports in a row.