The original Kalmar Nyckel was one of America’s pioneering colonial ships, a Mayflower of the Delaware Valley, yet her remarkable story has never been widely told. The original ship — a new type of gun-armed merchant vessel called a Dutch Pinnace — was built by the Dutch in Amsterdam in about the year 1625.  She was purchased in 1629 by a Swedish consortium to serve as an auxiliary warship for the Swedish navy, which she did until her decommissioning in 1651.

The present-day Kalmar Nyckel serves as floating classroom and inspirational centerpiece for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation’s award-winning educational programs, engaging students of all ages and stimulating them to learn more about Delaware’s rich maritime and colonial history.  The ship is owned and operated by the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, a non-profit organization that offers a broad array of sea- and land-based learning and recreational experiences.

Dockside Receptions: Kalmar Nyckel can comfortably host up to 90 individuals for a dockside reception. The ship is a perfect choice for a special event or for a party venue.

Your guests will mingle about the main deck and quarter deck of the ship, enjoying the sights and sounds of the waterfront. Select a pirate-themed event, complete with crew in pirate garb and the Jolly Roger, or a traditional event with crew wearing their blue-polo-and-khaki uniforms.  You may choose to have a crew member give a history talk, or you can provide musical entertainment (max 2-3 musicians).  There is an area for setting up drinks or a small bar and a location that typically accommodates a full spread of food on deck, supplied by the caterer of your choice.  The ship will gladly accommodate flowers or a company banner and can set up a gift shop for your guests to buy memorabilia, if you so desire.

Weddings: Kalmar Nyckel has been selected by many couples as their perfect wedding venue.  It provides a special location that bride and groom and guests will enjoy and talk about for years to come!  The ship can sail with up to 49 passengers or can host a dockside reception for up to 90 people.

You may wish to host a pirate wedding, complete with the captain reciting your pirate vows! (though this is not a legal marriage).  There is an area for setting up drinks or a small bar and a location that typically accommodates a full spread of food on deck, supplied by the caterer of your choice.*  You may choose to have a crew member do a history talk to entertain your guests or you may prefer to bring musical entertainment (max 2-3 musicians).*  The ship will gladly accommodate flowers or a family flag or sign.

*Entertainers and caterers count towards the total passenger count of 49 underway or 90 dockside.

  • Location: The Kalmar Nyckel sails from four different ports in Delaware, and travels up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Be sure to view the website for the directions for the correct town, and if in Wilmington, the correct port.
  • Phone: (302) 429-7447
  • Website: http://www.kalmarnyckel.org/