This July I had the pleasure of taking my son for a boat ride on Lake Erie. Not just any boat ride, we enjoyed the lakefront and river dinner cruise on the Nautica Queen. And, we could of not have asked for a more beautiful calm night for a lake cruise than we had that evening.
We arrived at the dock at around 6:30pm. Our crew for the evening greeted us with smiles and leis. After being seated at our table our server informed us to feel free to roam the ship before we set sail. So, we headed up to the top deck for a view of Cleveland from the Flats. My son, a picture fanatic, was photographing the many architectural designs seen from the river.
As our departing time of 7pm arrived we made our way down to our table as the Captain started the engines and began to turn the boat away from the pier to begin our 3-hour cruise. ("two passengers set sail that day, for a 3 hour tour, a 3 hour tour"...sorry couldn't help myself.)
The buffet was served promptly at 7pm. Our evening dining consisted of various salad selections, potatoes and rice, vegetables, prime rib, pork, chicken and of course mine and my sons favorite, the breaded perch. Our dinner meal was finished with a slice of cheesecake topped with mango sauce. I can say we were a bit full. (Coffee, tea and ice tea are included in your meals. Alcohol and sodas are an additional fee.)
After our dinner we made our way up to the 2nd level to the front of the boat or "bow" for us sea experienced boating individuals. This area did not offer seating outside as the upper 3rd level, but we so enjoyed the view from this angle that we choose to stay there for the entire cruise. (For those who want to enjoy a more festive mood as they cruise, the Nautica Queen offers musical entertainment on the 2nd level and 3rd level by the on-board disc jockey.)
Our boat ride followed the Lake Erie coast line west from the flats. We enjoyed looking at the homes along the shore as well as the many jet skis, tankers, sail and fishing boats that went by. From this point of view you begin to realize just how vast and special our lake is. How very alive it is.
As we began to make our turn at the half way point the City of Cleveland came into sight. What a beautiful photo from our boat. The evening lights reflecting on the water with beauty of the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, the Browns Stadium and Terminal Tower in the background all lit up. For those aboard with cameras it was a picture frenzy. As we passed the light house and made our turn into the Cuyahoga River to the Flats, all the historic bridges just seemed to come alive. All beautifully lighted up to show their unique designs, you could not help but be in impressed.
And just when you think your trip has come to a conclusion, you are given an encore as the railroad bridge is lifted up so you can make your way under.
So, if you have not taken a boat cruise on Lake Erie then you really need to add it to your must do Ohio list. What a fun thing to do with your family, friends or that special someone. And what a great way to get a new perspective on how very wonderful our lake is.
Some items to remember. There are three (3) levels to the Nautica Queen, two of those levels are used for dining and are heated and air conditioned. We were seated on the lower level for dinner. I think had I known I would have requested the 2nd level to sit up a little higher.
The lunch cruise is a bit cheaper, but if you really want the extra thrill of the evening lights on the city and coastline then book a dinner cruise. The Nautica Queen holds special themed cruises throughout its season, such as the Tropical Dinner Cruise that we enjoyed.
Take a sweater even if it is hot outside. We had a beautiful night with not much temperature drop, but as night fell the breeze became a little cool if you were outside.
I suggest you make reservations as some cruises may already be filled. There is a slight parking fee when you arrive. And make sure you take your camera!
For any additional information, pricing and directions call 1-800-837-0604 or visit their website at www.nauticaqueen.com
I would like to say a special thank you to Captain Scott Baker for doing such a great job navigating our cruise. I would also like to thank the crew for being so helpful and answering all my 1000's of questions and finally I would like to thank Ms. Colleen Grey for supplying such a wonderful media kit for the Nautica Queen that I could just not pass up the opportunity to go on the adventure.