With Valentine’s Day approaching many of you will be wondering what new and unique opportunities are available to help you celebrate with your loved one. I would like to share with you our experiences aboard Hornblower Cruises & Events recently which may prove to be a viable option for you!
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Hornblower Cruises & Events is a San Francisco-based charter yacht, dining cruise and ferry service company which began operating in 1980 with only two vessels. Today, Hornblower operates out of nine different ports, including: New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Berkeley, Marina del Rey, Newport Beach, Long Beach and Corpus Christi and the company’s entire fleet now includes more than 30 ships.
The ships are available for weddings, birthdays, daily dinner cruises, corporate outings and most notably, holiday events. We sailed with them for a Father’s Day brunch cruise followed by two New Year’s Eve cruises and a weekend dinner cruise.
For New Year’s Eve, Hornblower offers two cruises. A full dinner cruise and a dessert cruise which is shorter, less expensive and departs later. We sailed on The Entertainer (which has a capacity for 550 guests) on New Year’s Eve departing from Marina del Rey at 9:00 PM and arriving back to port at 12:30 AM. We were welcomed on board with a glass of champagne and seated at our own private table decorated with festive New Year’s Eve hats, beads and noisemakers of all types. The 5-course meal included appetizers, salad, a seafood dish, followed by a steak dish and dessert. They offer a full cash bar but tea, coffee and water are free of charge. We also received a glass of champagne at midnight to toast the New Year.
Entertainment was provided by a DJ who walked around the various tables taking requests before we set sale. On the brunch cruises, entertainment is usually provided by a solo musician, typically a guitarist and brunch is served buffet style.
The dance floor was filled with revelers of all ages and the party never slowed down until we pulled in to port to disembark.
Of course the price varies depending on the type of event but I would say that you get your money’s worth each time. The service we received during each of our sailings was impeccable. We have only sailed on two vessels, The Entertainer and the Marina Hornblower (http://www.hornblower.com/port/fleet/mdr) and found both ships to be clean and well-appointed and well-maintained.
Visit the company’s webpage provided below to view the various cruises and prices. Reservations can be made online but do note that once you confirm your reservation, it is non-refundable.