Erie Canal Cruises is off I-90 exit 30 at 800 Mohawk St. at Herkimer Marina. A narrated 90-minute tour on the historic Erie Canal includes a trip through Lock 18 to the Mohawk River on the 45-passenger Lil' Diamond II or 120-passenger Lil' Diamond III. During the “lock-thru” experience, water levels raise and then lower the boat 20 feet. As the trip progresses, the captain provides information about locks and how they work, with details about the canal's history from its conception in 1817 to its completion in 1825. Passengers also will learn about the history of the area and the importance of the Erie Canal in the settlement of the United States, particularly its role in circumventing the Appalachian Mountains, a major transportation barrier to the western part of the country.