There’s a new tour in Boston, whose vehicles have just started winding their way through Boston’s streets and waterways, and it’s called Boston Super Duck Tours. And no, it’s no relation to the very popular and well known Boston Duck Tours; it’s just yet another tour company that wishes exhibit the city of Boston and share the city’s wealth with their visitors while trying to stake a share of the increasing tourist wealth in a city where competition for the tourist dollar has history of getting intense.
Boston Duck Tours president, Cindy Brown, has gone on the offensive, crying foul over the new competition’s choice of name, the very similar Boston Super Duck Tours. She insists that this is nothing more than an attempt to ride the highly profitable coat-tails of her company, Boston Duck Tours. She has also accused Boston Super Duck Tours of deliberately attempting to confuse the consumer, even going so far as allowing the public to believe that the Super Duck Tours company is somehow associated with the Duck Tours company.
And no one within the industry is disagreeing with Ms. Brown. However, that said, not everyone is full of sympathy for Boston Duck Tours. It wasn’t all that long ago, when Boston Duck Tours was a relatively new company that used legal intimidation in an attempt to prevent any other land & water tours in all of New England. More than a few burgeoning tour companies never had a chance at success while simultaneously trying to build up a customer base and fight the litigation coming from Boston Duck Tours.
Aside from two names, Boston Duck Tours and Boston Super Duck Tours, the two companies’ tours are quite different. As the name Boston Super Duck Tours implies, their vehicles do a splash down into the water. Unlike Boston Duck Tours, whose water route takes its vehicles up the Charles River, past the Museum of Science, and the Longfellow Bridge, and out towards the Back Bay and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston Super Duck Tours enter the Boston Harbor and provides its guests with a water side viewing of the U.S.S. Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) as well as views of the Bunker Hill Monument and the Old North Church steeple in the North End. Also dissimilar is the fact that Boston Duck Tours uses WWII surplus vehicles that have been modernized and properly fitted for touring in an urban environment, the vehicles at Boston Super Duck Tours have been specifically designed and manufactured for the business of giving bus-boat tours.
The tour routes on land are also quite different. Boston Duck Tours follow a more expansive route that covers the Back Bay and Beacon Hill and a small part of the Freedom Trial. Boston Super Duck Tours covers the Boston Harborfront, the South Boston Waterfront, and the same small part of the Freedom Trail that Boston Duck Tours covers. Overall, Boston Duck Tours has a more interesting land route, but they miss out at having a stop at the Long Wharf, which is the primary staging area for bus and trolley tours in Boston. This will put Boston Duck Tours at a severe competitive disadvantage. (Boston Duck Tours used to travel in that part of Boston, but were banished by the city after a series of accidents and public complaints.)
In regards to the quality of the tour narration, the early returns on the internet in regards to Boston Super Duck tours are pretty damning. Which is not surprising given that Boston Super Duck Tours owner, Dennis Kraez, has no background in tourism and that Boston Super Duck Tours is a brand new enterprise. What a lot of people are not aware of, or forget, is the fact that the tour narration of the guides at Boston Duck Tours was awful when they first started out as well.