So much to see in Washington, D.C., and so little time.
That’s likely the lament of many visitors to the nation’s capital with its rich mix of monuments and historic sites. There are a dizzying array of ways to tour D.C.—walking, driving, double-deck buses, bicycles and Segways.
However, if you want to combine touring with a decadent meal, live entertainment, the possibility of dancing—all in a climate-controlled elegant environment, consider making a reservation on one of the Odyssey or Spirit cruise vessels.
I spent a fun and relaxing afternoon aboard the Odyssey on one of their lunch cruises in May. My date was my mother (a spry 86-year-old) who couldn’t thank me enough for asking her to accompany me.
While the cruise itself was pure pleasure, all the before-and-after stuff that can sometimes make an excursion irksome was also wonderful. Parking was free and just steps away from the vessel—in a gated area. The price ($51.90 for lunch) was more than reasonable. The service was particularly friendly and every morsel of the four-course meal was fantastic.
While sister vessel Spirit is a four-level yacht that hosts lunch, dinner and weekend dance parties, the Odyssey is more of a ranch-style vessel with most everything on the main level. Perfect for anyone with mobility issues. Several guests on our cruise were in wheelchairs.
The 246-foot Odyssey is open and airy with large picture windows so the sights can be taken in from every direction on the 12-mile journey. It’s up to you whether you stay inside the entire time or step onto the wrap-around deck for a stroll.
As the vessel plied the waters of the Potomac, narration was broadcast of what was visible from the right and left side of the craft—Fort McNair, the first federal penitentiary, the National War College, Washington Navy Yard, Anacostia Naval Station, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and the Watergate Hotel, to name a few. Some of the lesser-known facts about these sites were riveting.
Having been on a number of dining cruises where the food is nothing to write home about and often arrives at the table lukewarm, I was surprised at the quality of the food and how pleasing the plates were to the eye. The three-course menu included a nice array of gourmet choices. For starters, one could choose Ceasar salad, shrimp and corn chowder or carmelized duck in a puff pastry. Entrees included chipotle chicken, salmon, seafood ravioli, short ribs or vegetable Napolean—hearty servings all. Five dessert choices were offered.
I thought I was getting special treatment when a mojito shrimp appetizer with salmon mousse showcased in a martini glass, which we hadn’t ordered, arrived at our table. Turns out it’s an option that all patrons can opt for. Nice touch.
Wine and cocktails can be ordered via wait staff from a cash bar.
George and Marian Moyer of Woxall, Pa., were on our cruise celebrating their recent nuptials. The excursion was a wedding gift from George Moyer’s daughter.
“I loved everything about it,” gushed Marion Moyer. “It’s just so lovely.”
The Moyers weren’t the only ones marking a special occasion as several guests celebrating birthdays and anniversaries were acknowledged, including one woman who had turned 100.
A three-piece band played easy listening tunes during the two-hour lunch and more energetic numbers during the latter part of the excursion. The music was good enough to bring some folks to their feet for the Electric Slide and other dances.
The Odyssey also provides dinner cruises ranging from $94 -$113 and a $64.90 for brunch cruise on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information on Odyssey cruises, visit www.odysseycruises.com.