Are you considering going on an Odyssey dinner cruise?
My review of my recent experience aboard Boston's most elegant cruise ship may help you decide!
Maybe you're wondering if these dinner cruises around Boston Harbor attract only tourists, or if they're a good value for the money?
I've taken similar dinner cruises in other cities that do seem to attract only tourists. Sometimes I even pass up the experience because tickets cost much more than a comparable dinner on land plus a regular cruise.
Not so in Boston.
For about what you'd pay for a comparable dinner in a nice restaurant (plus taxes and tips), you get both a wonderful dining experience, the best views of the city, and a relaxing trip around the Harbor. These cruises deliver a great value, whether you're visiting or you live here.
In fact, the Odyssey and Spirit of Boston dinner cruises are a sort of "insider's secret" celebration and social venue - so that's why you'll usually see as many locals as tourists on board.
Take a look at my photos from a recent Odyssey dinner cruise with my husband - and you'll see why this is one of our favorite special occasion destinations.
If you're visiting Boston, you'll see why these cruises also you a spectacular sightseeing tour of the waterfront - as well as a wonderful dinner.
Our Sunset Dinner Cruise departs at 7pm on a June evening, so we arrive around 6:30 at Rowes Wharf (behind the Boston Harbor Hotel) when boarding starts.
The evening is balmy with almost-cloudless skies so we're happy to get some extra relaxation time on the ship.
We start to head up to the top deck, our favorite - but first stop along the way at one of the ship's bars for drinks.
With our wine glasses in hand, we wander over to the tables of yummy appetizers lining the wall. We fill a couple of plates with a selection of fruit, veggies, and cheese.
Now we're ready to enjoy the deck!
The deck provides plenty of comfortable seating, but it's more fun to roam around and admire the Boston Harbor views from all sides of the ship.
Soon, we hear the purr of the ship's engines, and Boston grows smaller behind us as we head out toward the Harbor Islands.
We glide past the South Boston Waterfront, where all the glitzy new restaurants line the harbor's edge, and then pass the Black Falcon Terminal where all the big cruise ships dock.
Soon, Castle Island comes into view as we head to the Outer Harbor, with even more of the Harbor Islands visible in the distance. Fort xxxxxxxx shape from water
Even though the views are mesmerizing, we know we'll see even better ones later as the sun sets behind the city skyline . . . so we head downstairs to dinner.
The Odyssey offers a variety of brunch, lunch, and dinner options, depending on which cruise you choose. Our cruise serves a 3-course dinner, with the first two courses served by waiters followed by a dessert buffet.
The ship has its own kitchen, so all meals are prepared on board. The waiter gives you a menu with the evening's selections.
This is my main course - broiled salmon with a pecan crust and a fabulous sauce. My husband chose short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes and veggies - also fabulous.
You can certainly linger over dinner much longer than we did - but by the time we finished our main courses, the Odyssey had returned to the Inner Harbor and was about to begin its tour of the Boston waterfront - my favorite part of the cruise.
So we skip dessert and take our coffee with us as we head back up to the top deck to take in the panoramic sunset views.
As we head back toward Boston, the sun is just below the horizon, bathing everything with a golden glow.
As we get closer to the waterfront, we pass this group of beautiful white sailboats.
Soon, the Odyssey moves close to the shoreline, and we get terrific close-up views of the North End.
In the above photo, you can see a bit of the iconic triangular roof of the Boston Marriott Long Wharf at the far left, Custom House Clock Tower (another Marriott resort hotel) near the center, and much of the Financial District behind it.
From the water, Boston feels even more compact than it does on land.
As we cruise around the North End, we see sights from a totally different perspective from what we usually see on land.
I love this view of the commercial docks along the North End, with the Financial District still in the background. You can still see the Marriott's roof at the left and the Clock Tower near the center as we move up along the coastline.
Now, we pass the baseball field in Puepolo XXXXXXX Park. That's Commercial Street, where you can see cars parked along each side.
On the other side of Commercial Street next to the large red brick buildings is Freedom Trail site, Copps Burying Ground. Just a bit up the street to the left, next to the bocce courts, is the memorial to those who perished in the Great Molasses Flood.
As we pull past the North End, TD Garden suddenly comes into view. At the far right of the photo, you can barely see the beginning of the support railings for the Zakim Bridge. Once we pass the bridge, historic Charlestown is just on the other side.
We cruise up to the Charlestown Navy Yard and stop in front of the USS Constitution, also known as "Old Ironsides" for its indestructability during the War of 1812. It's the oldest commissioned U.S. Navy ship still afloat, and attracts numerous visitors each year who take one of the free tours offered by the Navy seamen assigned to the ship.
A few seconds after the sun finally slides under the horizon, we hear a loud BOOM! We smell the gunpower even before we see white smoke billowing from the Constitution's side. Applause and cheers break out on the Odyssey and on several other nearby Harbor cruise boats: we've just witnessed the Constitution's daily salute at dusk.
Moments later, we hear the plaintive notes of Taps across the water.
If you're not from Boston, you may not be aware of how popular these cruises are with locals - we celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, and graduations on the Odyssey. You'll typically see families, couples, groups of friends, and colleagues enjoying a relaxing or romantic evening.
So if you want reservations for a specific date and time, make them sooner rather than later!
Both the Odyssey and sister ship Spirit of Boston offer 2 and 3-hour brunch, lunch, and dinner cruises of Boston Harbor, as well as lots of special occasion tours - July 4th, New Year's, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and even Thanksgiving.
Check availability and make your reservations now:
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