By Kristin Archer
Photos by Lisa Vuyk
I’ve been enthralled with the Waterfront and the idea of taking a boat trip around the harbour since the very beginning of this blog, over five years ago. I had experienced one cruise and one boat tour so far, but it had been a few years since I hit the water. When Hamilton Harbour Queen invited me out to experience one of their dinner cruises, I jumped at the chance to hit the high seas! (Apologies in advance for any misused nautical jargon in this post.)
The Hamilton Harbour Queen sets sail with lunch, dinner and brunch cruises, as well as special events. They run until Thanksgiving – check out their calendar for all events and to reserve tickets. Lunch and dinner run on Thursdays and there are select dates for brunch and special events, including live music and dance parties. If you miss out this time, be sure to take advantage next season!
I was very excited to experience the dinner cruise, especially knowing the sunset views would be unbelievable! But I also love the idea of brunching on a boat. This just means I’ll have to return. At the helm is Chef Robert To – I first sampled the culinary stylings of Chef Robert a few years back when a Dishcrawl adventure led us to Nino’s Ristorante on King William. The meal on the cruise is served buffet-style and there was a delicious and filling spread. Our dinner consisted of:
- Coconut shrimp with mango thai dipping sauce (my favourite menu item – I had to go back for more)
- Vegetable spring rolls
- Antipasto platter with salami, olives, bocconcini cheese, cantaloupe, roasted red peppers
- Chef’s rice
- Satay beef
- Lamb skewers with plum sauce
- Smoked salmon served with fresh bread, horseradish & cream
- House salad
- Potato salad
- Dessert: cheesecake, rice pudding, coffee & tea
First we set sail and got to roam around the boat and take photos as we launched away from the harbour. It had been a while, and I forgot how much I love the sensation of being on the water. I had “I’m On A Boat” stuck in my head all day leading up to it, and made sure to wear a nautical-inspired outfit. Stripes all the way.
The dinner cruise boards at 6:30pm, and sets out from 7-10pm. Shortly after we roamed around (there’s also a cash bar to imbibe in), dinner was served and we went below deck to our assigned tables. It’s such a neat experience to look out at the water beside you. The sun was beginning to set as we ate, so we hopped up and down a few times to race out and get the most picturesque photos.
Later on as we roamed around the front of the boat, the Captain waved us over, and my first thought was, “Uh oh, I’m being summoned by The Captain!” It was a friendly gesture – he knew Lisa and I would appreciate the photo opportunity inside. But it wasn’t just for show – he asked us if we wanted to try steering the ship. Why not! As he directed me, somehow I instinctively knew where Port and Starboard were. He said it seemed like I’ve done this before. I resisted the urge to shout “TALLY HO!”
We had a nice chat with the Captain, just shooting the breeze, and he shared about his family and we remarked how fast time goes. Wise words from the Captain, himself: “Enjoy it now. Any new adventures, just do it.”
It was a cloudy night with storm clouds in the distance (this I couldn’t resist declaring – “There’s a storm a brewin!!”) and it made for the most gorgeous sky. We watched the sunset get even more brilliant by the second. Once it was dark, the sky was painted the most beautiful deep blue, mauve, grey and purple.
When it was dark, I went with some red wine after dinner and we went back up top to take in the night sky. It was so quiet and peaceful, looking out to the city skyline in the distance. For a minute there, I was up at the front by myself, wine in hand, gazing out onto the water. I pretended for a minute that it was my own ship. Just cruisin’ in style.
As much fun as a boat party is, and I look forward to checking out more events aboard the Hamilton Harbour Queen with a DJ and live bands, I really enjoyed this serene ride around the Waterfront. I could seriously do it every day!
Note: I was invited out as a guest of Hamilton Harbour Queen, but all thoughts about the event are my own.