The Fort Myers area offers dozens of boat excursions and sunset cruises; however, only one boasts a crew of pirates.
The Pieces of Eight pirate ship is a 65-foot replica of a Spanish galleon that cruises the coastline of Fort Myers Beach, looking for ships to plunder and treasures to steal.
Passengers are treated to a 90-minute interactive pirate experience where cannons are fired, but no one is forced to walk the plank.
Passengers love to pose with this pirate before boarding his ship in Estero Bay — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
The swashbuckling crew includes characters such as Peg Leg Meg, Scurvy Scarlet, Blackbeard, Captain Jack, Pick Pocket Pete and more. Together, they tell tall tales and do their best to get you to participate in the fun.
The ship's name comes from the Spanish eight-real coin, the most famous coin associated with the New World and the coins that pirates would steal from treasure fleets, transporting the currency throughout Europe.
The ship docks at Salty Sam’s Marina, on the Estero Bay, the body of water one must cross to get to Fort Myers Beach proper. The ship store is perfect for picking up pirate gear, so you can better fit in with the crew. You'll even find satisfying dining options here when your excursion is complete.
One of the most popular times to take this cruise is at sunset. The pirates race to get out of the bay and into the Gulf of Mexico, where there's a beautiful, unobstructed view of the sun, sinking into the water.
This moment is celebrated by the firing of a tiny cannon, propped on the ship's rail. Don’t be fooled by its size: it packs a loud punch.
A tiny cannon with a big punch is fired every night at sunset — Photo courtesy of Gina BIrch
No respectable pirate ship would set sail without a supply of booze, and the Pieces of Eight is no exception. There's a fully stocked bar on board that also has some basic salty snacks as well as refreshing ice cream.
The ship has two upstairs decks for even better views of the sunset and coastline. These also offer a break from the pirate action below, that at times can get loud.
The top deck of this pirate ship offers spectacular views of the coastline — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
You might imagine the life of a pirate to be a bit salty, even debaucherous. But don’t worry if you have kids; those stories are reserved for the adults-only, 21-and-up cruises.
These set sail on weekend nights, when passengers are treated to a complimentary rum punch – known as a “pain killer” – upon boarding.
The more traditional, family-friendly cruises feature treasure chests for the children, face painting and games. It’s become hugely popular for birthday parties and events that require accommodations for large groups. The ship can hold up to 130 passengers, and it's certainly available for private charters.
Prices for the pirate cruise range between $20 to $40, depending on the time of day and type of package. For extra fun, some tickets include pirate gear, such as eye patches, beads, etc. In addition, purchasing tickets online can often save you a few bucks.