Sure, they may be a little cheesy, but what’s wrong with combining a delicious dinner with exploring new sights? This is especially true when you consider the recent renaissance in culinary quality, service, and atmosphere in recent years. Here are just five favorites we love hopping onto for delicious eats and smooth sailing.
The Water Table (New York, New York)
Away from the commercial cruises in the harbor, The Water Table makes for a fun, relaxed dining experience from New York City. Married couple Kelli Farwell and Sue Walsh team up to deliver a slice of New England onboard the Revolution, an old Navy boat that’s been retrofitted into an artisanal tavern. Kale caesar salads, lobster mac and cheese, and seafood stew are some of the highlights from the prix-fixe menu — and don’t forget about the craft cocktails.
$50 for two courses on Sundays, $75 for three courses Thursdays through Saturdays, $13 for one cocktail; taxes not included.
Dinner Cruise Lahaina, Maui (Lahaina, Hawaii)
Along Hawaii’s coastline, Pacific Whale Foundation’s Maui Dinner Cruise Lahaina serves up a thrilling side of whale watching along with four-course meals of locally sourced, fresh cuisine. The double-deck catamaran is a comfortable and well-appointed ship that sails into the sunset each night, to the beat of the live island-style music provided by a local musician. Three alcoholic beverages — such as tropical cocktails, champagne, wine, local beer, and well drinks — are included with the cruise.
From $98.26, tax included; book online for better prices.
Santa Barbara Sail (Santa Barbara, California)
Santa Barbara’s stunning coastline is best admired looking east from the water, and you can do just that as you enjoy an al fresco meal aboard Santa Barbara Sail’s Sunset Dinner Cruise. With two menu options that alternate weekly. Highlights of the Italian Riviera cruise include tri-tip steak and chicken picatta, while the Mexican Cantina cruise serves up steak fajitas, enchiladas, and plenty of chips and salsa. Both, of course, offer unobstructed, 360-degree views of Santa Barbara and the ocean.
$65 plus tax; champagne, beer, and wine are additional.
Showboat Branson Belle (Branson, Missouri)
No visit to Branson is complete without a ride on the Showboat Branson Belle, the classic showboat that has been towing the line of dining and entertainment on Table Rock Lake for more than twenty years. Built to hold up to 700 guests, a variety show of music and comedy acts entertains diners as they tuck into classic entrees like beef roast and honey glazed chicken. As the boat cruises throughout the Ozark Mountains, guests are encouraged to explore the ship and catch a breath of fresh air on the exterior decks after the shows.
$50 or $69, plus taxes, depending on three table locations.
Hornblower Cruises: Wild Goose Dining Cruises (Newport Beach, California)
Trace the steps of Hollywood legend John Wayne aboard the Wild Goose, a three-deck yacht that was one of Wayne’s favorite possessions. It’s easy to see why the yacht has a place on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places — its incredible paintings and one-of-a-kind carvings all add to the atmosphere. On Saturdays, three hours onboard will quickly slip by, with a four-course dinner, champagne toast, and plenty of dancing to a live DJ’s spins.
$89.95 per person, plus tax, service charge, and landing fee.