2 weeks ago I was in Boston and loved my time aboard Old Ironside. Yesterday Annie and I spent 3 hours on HMS Victory in Portsmouth. The Constitution is still a working sailing ship, although in drydock at the moment. The Victory, while still commissioned will never float again. The Constitution has wooden masts and the original guns while most of the Victory's guns are plastic and the masts are metal.
All that being said all of the Victory's decks are open to tour, from the poop to the massive hold. Many displays of medical, carpentry, gunnery, anchoring (6 hours to get the anchor up) and where Nelson was during Trafalgar. Seeing the large circular line around the capstan and how the ship's boys (nippers) would lash the anchor line to the capstan line then unlash it as it approached the capstan was fascinating to me.Only the main deck and the gun deck are open on the Constitution.
So for me the Victory was a richer experience but given the choice I am happy I got to choose seeing both.
Off the boat for hurricane season