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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is your purpose?

The Columbus Foundation's aim is to educate the public on the type of ship, the "caravel", that Columbus used to discover a new world in the year 1492. Columbus made 4 voyages totaling 12 years on ships like these. We take great pride in displaying and maintaining the only traveling replicas in existence today.

How many stops do you make in a year?

We travel an average 10 months out of the year to 30 to 40 different locations around the United States.

Where do you travel?

We travel the Gulf Coast, the East Coast, the Great Lakes, and the Midwestern River System.

How do I find where the ships are?

Go to the SCHEDULE & TOURS page. There you will find hyperlinks to a maps of where the ships will be docked. We use Google's maps, and make every effort to get an actual picture of the location where we will be docked. Sometimes Google changes the link after we have coded them into our page, so we can't always guarantee the maps work. If you get in the neighborhood, you can always look for the ships' masts, they are very distinctive!

Why does your schedule change at times?

"Mother Nature" has a lot to do with us maintaining our schedule. Our first priority is to keep the crew members safe at all times. On the inland waterways, both high and low water can cause unanticipated changes in lock & dam operations. Whenever navigation delays occur, we always communicate with our Port of Call to give regular updates of our new arrival time. We have a 95% success rate of arriving at our Port of call on time! We do very timely updates on our SCHEDULE & TOURS page, and we also do fairly regular updates on Facebook, so be sure to LIKE US to keep up with interesting new posts!



Are the ships the exact size as the originals?

The Nina is an exact replica. She is regarded as the most accurate reproduction ever constructed. The Pinta was built 15 feet longer and 8 feet wider than the original, so she can accommodate more people, and be used for dockside charters/events.

Do you have a replica of the Santa Maria?

The Santa Maria was a different type of ship, known as a "Nao" and considerably larger than the Caravels The Nina & Pinta. The biggest operational difference between the two designs is the draft. The Santa Maria would require 14 feet of water depth, where the Nina & Pinta only draft 7 feet. A Santa Maria replica would not be able to travel to many places where The Nina and Pinta visit.

Do the ships take people out sailing?

The ships are floating museums, and remain tied to the docks for the duration of their stay in port.

Can the ships be chartered for dockside events or filming?

Yes, for more information about availability and pricing contact us by email.

Where can I learn about becoming a crewmember?

See our JOIN THE CREW page.

Where can I get photos to use in my publication?

See our GALLERY page, or our Facebook page.

I made a great picture of the ships, will you pay me for it?

We don't buy photographs. If you want to share your picture with us via email, and if we do publish it on our site, we are happy to give you credit. But, we ask for full shared rights, because we don't keep a database of ownership, and we don't control whether someone downloads your picture from our site, or how they might use it. This is essentially the same agreement you have with Facebook when you publish a picture there. They won't be held liable, and neither can we.


COME ABOARD FOR A TOUR!

What will I see on the tour?

When you step aboard, you will be whisked back in time, surrounded by the design and materials of the historic caravel. Being floating museums, there are also exhibits on each ship highlighting the history of the Age of Discovery, navigation of the era, how the ships were built and a taste of what life was like over 500 years ago.

Are both ships available to visit?

Yes, your ticket allows you aboard both ships.

What are the hours?

Generally, the ships are open from 9:00 am to 6:00pm. In parts of November, December and February, the hours are 9:00am to 5:00pm.

What are the ticket prices?

Adults are $8, seniors (60 and older) are $7, and children between the ages of 5-16 are $6. Age 4 and under are free.

Do you have group rates?

Yes. The group rate is $5 per person, ages 5 and older with a minimum of 15 people. Groups also get a guided tour from a crew member during the weekdays. To qualify for the group rate, one must call 787-672-2152 to schedule a tour.

Where do I buy the tickets?

You can purchase your tickets directly at the ships. There is usually a blue tent at the entrance to where the ships are docked.

What forms of payment do you accept?

Cash is preferred. Credit and debit is accepted with $20 minimum. No checks.

I'm coming to see the ships with just my family. Do I need a reservation?

Unscheduled, self-guided tours are available any time during our open hours. Media representatives are encouraged to contact us in advance, to be sure we optimize your time.

Is it a guided tour?

The tour is self-guided but there are crew members on deck of both ships to answer questions and share actual experiences. We also offer guided tours for groups, see next question.

How long do tours last?

Group & school tours are guided, last about 30 minutes, and require a reservation. After the tour is concluded, you are welcome to spend as much time as you like reviewing exhibits, shopping our Ship's Store, and asking any questions that weren't covered during your tour.

Are the ships handicapped accessible?

The ships are not wheelchair accessible. However, our visitors in wheelchairs are invited to come view the ships as close as they can safely with a companion free of charge. Some small walkers, and crutches can be used on the ships. Once aboard, there are places to sit.

Are there restrooms?

No facilities are available aboard the ships. Each port we go to is different, but usually there are facilities nearby,

Do the tours include areas below deck?

No, down below is not open to the public because it is present day crew quarters. The crew quarters on both ships are partially visible.

Are food or drinks allowed on board?

Only bottled water is allowed.

Are pets allowed?

Pets are welcome as long as they are carried. Service pets are always welcome.

  THREE BEST REASONS TO VISIT THE NIÑA AND PINTA
          -- Written by John Malcom, Niña crew member.

  To see a near perfect example of a type of sailing ship, the caravel, of such clean, sculptured, honest design, that it was produced for upwards of 125 years. With its Scandinavian style bow and midsection, and its combination square and lateen rigging, it was probably the best open water sailing vessel of its time - that pivotal time referred to as the "Great Age of Discovery".

  To, in some small way, enter that age, to perhaps get a feeling for Columbus himself, that enigmatic and flawed human being, who, admire or despise him, is one of perhaps only three individuals in all of our long past who, by themselves, for good or ill, personally altered the course of Western history.

  To stand on the sloping deck of the Niña, as true a replica as will probably ever be built. It was Columbus' favorite ship, the one he very nearly died on in 1493, upon which he ultimately logged more than 25,000 miles.


What answers would YOU like to see here?

Please, E-MAIL US your suggestions, or message us on Facebook.


The Columbus Foundation, British Virgin Islands
Ship's cell (787) 672-2152

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