Historical venues in Florida don’t stop at land’s end.
In Key West, the Schooner Western Union (www.schoonerwesternunion.org), built on the island with wood from the Caribbean and launched in 1939, sails corporate charters for up to 64, with light fare served and full catering available.
“We usually do two-hour chunks, but we can extend additional hours, no problem,” says David Jackson, director of operations for Momentum Strategic Services, which markets the vessel. “We also do day and sunset sails, stargazer sails and full-moon sails. The Western Union is a nonprofit, so there’s no sales tax, which saves a lot of money,” he adds.
Meanwhile, another maritime legend, the cargo ship American Victory (www.americanvictory.org), is docked in downtown Tampa’s Channel District, right behind the Florida Aquarium and within walking distance of major convention venues like the Tampa Bay Times Forum and the Tampa Convention Center. Open daily as a museum, the Victory also offers indoor and outdoor space for receptions, dinners, meetings and team-building exercises.
“We hosted a nurse’s association here recently and it was done as a USO show,” says Stacie Turner, admissions representative for the vessel. “They had swing music and dancing. It was really terrific.”
Commissioned at the end of World War II, the Victory also served during the Korean and Vietnam wars, running supplies and ammunition and bringing soldiers back to U.S. soil. Twice a year, the ship sails “Relive History” cruises that include reenactors and live entertainment.