Chicago >Tours & Excursions > Wendella Sightseeing Boats
“Forget taking photographs, we couldnt even have a wonderful view of the beautiful evening outside.”
“If you enjoy horrendous customer service, and are looking for a boat tour that will”
I hate to agree with everyone. My parents and I decided that taking a boat tour would be a good taste of the city. So we decided on wendella since it is very conviently located to everything. The boat itself was ok but the entire time you would have to strain to hear what the guide was saying. We too were on the bottom of the boat and found it hard to see everything all the time. It was very annoying. I don't want to bash them too much, I appreciate what they are trying to do. Rumor is, they are getting a new boat and maybe that will make the experience better. But the bottom line was that I was pretty dissapointed especially since I have taken a couple other boat tours since then and have had better experiences.
Horrible On All Ends STAY AWAY!!!.
If you enjoy horrendous customer service, and are looking for a boat tour that will
a) Not show up
b) Post outdated schedules from one week prior
c) Disappoint you
d) Call you a liar
Then, Wendella is the tour for you. In a city where there are so many options to go with (check through the Chicago Museum System) and have an amazing time, we picked the obvious worst one. On a brisk April day, we were scheduled to depart 400 N Michigan for a 7:00pm lake and river tour. We made it to the dock 15 minutes early, yet all offices were boarded up, no boat was in sight, no signs were posted (except for a schedule of times for the tour one week prior), and a man lurked out of the Wendella caged entry to tell us that there was no tour. We waited. . . 40 minutes. Still no boat. About 15 minutes past 7, a Wendella boat drove past the docking station and on to lake Michigan, but did not stop. . . so we waited. Again, no people, no signs, no indication of why the 7:00 boat was not there, etc. Disappointed with the fact that our evening was ruined, we called Wendella. They agreed the boat was cancelled and agreed to call us with information to reschedule. . . We never received that call. Upset, we called back, at that time we were called liars and informed that there would be no exchange or refund. A third call to a so-called "manager", still resulted in no attention or even a call-back. A fourth call led back to the same manager. . . I am still waiting for them to respond to my voicemail.
Poor on all grounds. . . NOT RECOMMENDED.
Architectural and lake excursions from the oldest boat tour in Chicago..
Wendella is the city's oldest boat tour company. The dock is centrally located on the north bank of the Chicago River at the lower level of the Wrigley Building, near the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Narrated tours include: a two-hour tour evening of the river and lake; 90-minute day and evening tours of the river and lake, and a one-hour tour of the just the lake. Boats travel through the Chicago River Locks into Lake Michigan, cruise up and down the lakefront, then re-enter the river and cruise to the Sears Tower and back.
Wendella boats have restrooms and snack bars, but you can bring your own food if you wish. Adult admission prices range from $16 to $18; senior citizens (62 and older) and children (11 and younger) pay less. The boats operate from mid-April to the end of October, weather permitting. Call for times.
Boarding commenced and the disappointment started. We thought that everybody would be having seats on the upper deck. But we were forced to sit on the bottom deck.
1) The glasses for the windows are tinted and dirty. Forget taking photographs, we couldnt even have a wonderful view of the beautiful evening outside.
2) If a person sits on one side, there is no way he/she can look at a building on the other side. As the our continued and we were being informed of all the great things on the left hand side, we had to look at the water or the boat deck to pass time, because we were on the right side.
4) Right at the point where we come up against sears tower, and we thought that at least we can see one building well, the boat started to turn !!
I've been on the architecture river cruise several times before sailing on Wendella. I thought I'd try something different with my recent visitors,however I highly recommend the arcihitecture tour over Wendella.
First, the departure time was 30 minutes earlier than the time I was given on the website and when I called. So when we arrived we were at the back of the line (i.e. bad seats).
Second, the construction of the boat was not ideal for a summer tour. The views were blocked from half of the seats, causing people to stand near the windows and block the view for others. The windows also cut down on the air circulation at the front of the boat.
Third, going into/out of of the lake took at least 30 minutes, so we weren't able to cruise past the Sears tower. They should factor this time into the schedule!
Great Way to See Chicago. On a beautiful day, there is no better way to take in the sites of this wonderful city. I've been on it several times, taking visitors from out-of-town and it is always the highlight of their trip.
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