Take a July 4 cruise on the world's oldest ship


The USS Constitution fires a 21-gun salute in honor of America’s 237th birthday during the ship’s annual Fourth of July turnaround cruise in Boston Harbor on July 4, 2013. ( DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Rooney)

If you’re in New England this summer and looking for something more than a barbecue on Independence Day, why not take a cruise through Boston harbor on the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat?

A lottery for 150 open spots on the USS Constitution’s annual July 4 voyage went live Feb. 3, for the ship’s last turnaround cruise before it goes into a dry dock for repairs through 2018.

Guests aboard “Old Ironsides” will enjoy a three-hour trip around the harbor, complete with 21-gun salute exchange with Fort Independence on Castle Island in South Boston.

To enter, simply fill out a form and return it by email or snail mail by noon on April 15. An April 30 drawing will select the winners, who are allowed to bring one guest.

All attendees must be between the ages of 8 and 70 and in good enough physical condition to go up and down the ship’s narrow ladder wells, as well as stand for prolonged periods in rain or shine.

Launched in 1797 as the third ship in the U.S. Navy’s fleet, Constitution defended the new American nation until 1855, defeating five British warships during the War of 1812. Later, she served as a training ship for the Naval Academy during the Civil War.

Constitution officially retired in 1891 and became a museum ship in 1907. Today she resides in Boston’s Charlestown Navy Yard with 60 active-duty officers and enlisted sailors, who put on ceremonies, educational outreach and other special events.


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  1. Your upper age limit stinks. I am 72 and will outlast 95% of the men age 50 to 70! Your discriminate based on one simple factor with nothing to back your decision. Shame on the Navy! And I am a proud sailor from the 60’s.

  2. Chris Melhuish on

    I don’t think the characterization of CONSTITUTION as a “Museum Ship” in the article is correct. She is a commissioned naval vessel (per the Naval Vessel Register). — A huge difference.

  3. World’s oldest ship – No way. World’s oldest commissioned warship – Yes. The article’s title is misleading.

  4. Chris Melhuish on

    “World’s oldest waship afloat” is actually correct. The oldest commissioned warship is Britain’s HMS VICTORY, but is no longer afloat. This makes Old Ironsides the oldest commissioned warship afloat. She has the capability of sailing free (under defined constraints) under her own sail power (which she has done twice since 1881. Once in 1997 — reaching about five knots) and the other in 2012 in the confines of Boston Harbor. [I was onboard for both events.]

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