Are you in the Vancouver area, perhaps even visiting our beautiful city and looking for something unique yet romantic to do? Have you dined at the many restaurants in the City of Vancouverâ€™s downtown core and looking for something a bit more unique or perhaps you want to try something a little bit different and experience the City of Vancouver form a point of perspective that most people do not get to see? Then you need to check out a Sunset Dinner cruise offered by the helpful and friendly people at Harbour Cruises and Events.
For our six month anniversary, Robyn and I thought it would be fun to go and have dinner on one of the sunset cruises that we see advertised about from time to time. If you have been a visitor of English Bay you might have noticed one or more larger vessels with a bunch of people on them sailing past. Yes, these could be your typical boat tours but chances are in the summer evening they are one of many Sunset Dinner Cruises that travel from Coal Harbour around Stanley Park, past English Bay, into False Creek and back.
Harbour Cruises and Events is a company based in Coal Harbour (City of Vancouver) that offers various boat type tours of the local surrounding waters. They offer a narrated tour of the Inner-Harbour, the popular Sunset Dinner Cruise and operate the only luncheon cruise that takes you up along the magnificent coastal mountain fjords that surround Metro Vancouver.
Upon arriving at the marina in Coal Harbour we noticed one thing right off the bat, we were over dressed. I was wearing a suit and Robyn was wearing a nice dress whereas other people were wearing shorts or jeans with t-shirts and the occasional hoodie. I found this a bit odd and it bugged me a little bit because we paid $70 per person for this dinner cruise, at least it could have been semi-formal. I shrugged it off and we played it as if we were important people (because we are, right?).
At 6:30pm we boarded the Constitution (a paddlewheel boat) and were seated at our table for two. Robyn made note that the boat had a â€˜rustic/historicâ€™ feel dressed nicely in white linens for the tables.
She said the chairs were 1970â€™s banquet style but she was comfortable, I on the other hand had to sit at a funny angle because our table was sort of squished between another table and a booth.
The service and staff were helpful and friendly. The boat had a full-service bar and Robyn was ecstatic they had stock of Smirnoff Ice for her; I just sipped on my tall Crown and Seven. Drinks are separate and paid for at the end of the cruise.
The boat pulled out away from the dock and we headed out of Coal Harbour into the Burrard inlet where the Captain narrated some of the history of Vancouver. He also pointed out the current construction of the new convention centre being built next to the current convention centre, Canada Place. Since Robyn and I were out on deck taking in the magnificent views from the water I didnâ€™t hear any more of the narration the Captain gave.
We sailed around Stanley Park, underneath the Lions Gate Bridge and into the open waters, where they started to ask tables to the buffet one by one. We gave up our spot so that we could watch the Lions Gate Bridge go overhead.
Dinner was buffet style and offered a nice selection of food choices ranging from fresh garden salad with freshly made dressings to the slow roasted, sirloin beef and fresh BC Salmon. The food was good and we both enjoyed every bite. I for some reason thought it was going to be the 3-Course variety of service but after Robyn pointed out the website did say buffet.
Now Iâ€™m not great at describing food but the freshly made dressing I choose was similar to an Italian and quite flavourful on my garden salad. The Penne pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil was tasty as well. I have never been one for Salmon but that could have been a childhood issue but I tried the fresh BC Salmon with the creamy white wine and fresh dill sauce and it was quite lovely and almost melted in my mouth.
Robyn agreed with me about the Penne pasta, the baby new potatoes tasting quite good. She liked the sirloin beef as it was prepared medium rare and quite delicious. I wonder where the Salmon came from as I have heard that more and more local restaurants are not carrying BC Salmon due to depleting stock and going with imported Russian Salmon. Nonetheless I really enjoyed the Salmon.
The dessert bar was, as Robyn put it, â€˜slightly limitedâ€™ as they only offered a few choices; fruit platter, chocolate cake, cheese cake of sorts and what looked to be the crumbs of a fruit pie. I tried the chocolate cake and it was nothing spectacular but it wasnâ€™t dry and tasteless either.
Throughout the evening they also had live music performed by a man and woman who did acoustic cover songs from about 1960 and onwards. Robyn and I both thought the music was well done, though Robyn was a bit disappointed there was little to no dancing during the course of our cruise. Robyn would have also liked to see a full band setup with a formal dance floor. I am sure that more people would have gotten up and danced if they also had this done, I know Robyn would have liked to dance.
They also had a photographer onboard who would take you photo (she took a couples shot and an individual shot of Robyn). After she printed them out she went around asking people if they would like to purchase them.
At $15 a photo it was not a bad deal but if she offered to take a photo of us outside on deck with English Bay as a backdrop we would have been more inclined to purchase our couples shot, instead we just took a photo of it. Robyn later informed me she wished we did purchase it though as it was a nice shot of us. At least it was not the same price they charge at 5-Star resorts like they did when we were in the Dominican Republic, they wanted a higher price for a photo!
After dinner we cruised past English Bay and passed under the Burrard Street Bridge into False Creek.
We paddled onwards further into False Creek and under the Granville Street Bridge passing by Granville Island itself as well as some really nice looking houseboats.
We circled around just before the Cambie Street Bridge which gave us a glimpse at Science World as well as BC Place stadium and headed back out to English Bay where the sun began to set over the North Shore Mountains.
Luckily the rains stayed away and there was enough space between clouds that evening that we were finally presented with a beautiful sunset to end our awesome and magically sunset dinner cruise. Overall we both really enjoyed our dinner cruise. The food was good, the atmosphere was good and Mother Nature decided to hold back and give us good weather as well. Even though we were the most dressed up people it did not deter us from having a most excellent sixth month anniversary and enjoying ourselves during the 2.5 hour cruise around Vancouver.
Most people who visit our city (as well as those who live in it) seldom get the opportunity to experience the views of Vancouver from the water. If you are looking for some good food, beautiful scenery and the potential for a great sunset I highly recommend getting out onto one of the Sunset Dinner Cruises, especially with the great weather we have been having here recently.
One experience I would love to try out would be to book an evening on one of their Celebration of Light dinner cruises. The Celebration of Light is a yearly event in Vancouver in which a spectacular display of Music and Fireworks in a worldly competition is done 4 days a year. Harbour Cruises and Events offers dinner cruises which would allow you to experience this grand event and offer you a great view for watching the fireworks display. You would also not have to deal with the hundreds of thousands of people who flock to English Bay during the event and get to enjoy a great dinner too!
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