Tuesday, January 3, 2012

#45 New Years Eve Dinner Cruise

I have been wanting to go on one of the Potomac River Dinner cruises for years now. I've also been wanting to go "out" on New Years Eve for years - and by out I meant somewhere other than a friend's house (as much fun as those parties are, I'd always wondered what it would be like to be out at a hotel or something). Well, in November I decided to check out the dinner cruises online, and on the Odyssey's website I found out that they host a New Years Eve dinner cruise with a live band, 3 course meal, top shelf open bar, etc. It sounded absolutely perfect, and the best part was the early bird special price if we bought our tickets in November!

Normally New Years Eve is a big "friend" occasion for me, I've never had what I would really consider a "romantic" New Years Eve (especially because Chef Hubby is usually working on NYE). I did invite our friends along, but unfortunately no one was able to join us (and to be honest, we wouldn't have been able to go if it hadn't been for the generosity of a wedding gift). Still, even though this was going to be my first year celebrating NYE without my friends, I was excited. Chef Hubby and I would have a romantic NYE, our first one as a married couple, alone together.

Well, it might not have been everything I dreamed of and more, but it was a heck of a lot of fun. Sure, the table spacing was a little cramped, and it took us more than half an hour to get our first drinks, but DC is beautiful at night, especially with Christmas lights on so many of the buildings, the food was delicious and the first drink order was the only one we had a long wait for. The top shelf open bar was more than worth it, best French Martinis I've ever had! One time they even brought me two at once!
It was a lot of fun to dress up and go out and be seen. I got several compliments on my dress from complete strangers. The other nice thing was the feeling of togetherness, despite the fact that I was celebrating my first NYE without friends by my side, there was definitely a feeling of "We're all in this together" on the ship. The people in our dining room joked with the tables next to them, toasted strangers at midnight, took pictures of each other's antics, and even coaxed each other into silly dancing off the dance floor! It was fun to watch and fantastic to be a part of, a small reminder of how people can come together for a night of camraderie, despite the fact that we'll probably never see each other again.

For appetizers I had Mixed Greens with Candied Pecans, Strawberries, Apples and Raspberry Vinaigrette and Chef Hubby had  Duck Confit, Forest Mushrooms, Sage and Monterrey Jack Cheese baked in a Puffed Pastry, served over Spaghetti Squash, with Dried Cherries, Candied Pecans and drizzle of Marsala Wine Demi-glace . Dinner, for me, Braised Beef Short Ribs marinated in a Shallot and Wild Mushroom Gravy, served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Puff Pastry and crispy Onion Straws and, for him, Pan-seared fresh Salmon fillet marinated in spicy Chimichurri Sauce, served over a fried mashed Yucca Cake, topped with a sweet Corn Posole and crispy Corn Tortilla Strips. In other words, freaking delicious.

Dessert they had a table set up with a giant chocolate fountain, into which I dipped many cream puffs, rice krispie treats and strawberries.
We walked the deck, fortunately it wasn't too cold outside - also, the ship thoughtfully provided hot air blowing out into a couple places. It was absolutely beautiful to watch nighttime DC slide by us:

A little before midnight they provided us with champagne for a toast:

We spent a good portion of our time on the dance floor. It was a pretty mixed crowd, and there were some really impressive dancers and some people who were just there to have fun. We fell somewhere in the middle.

The boat came back into the dock a little after midnight, although you could stay on and keep partying till 1am. Since Chef Hubby had work the next morning (or, well, later that morning) we left around 12:30.

It was a wonderful time and I'm glad we did it. Although it has definitely left me with cruise nostalgia yet again...


  1. LOVE the pictures!!! so glad you had fun :) those boats definitely get crowded, but i bet they're more fun crowded than when we went and there weren't many people on it! :) the Spirit of Washington dinner cruises can also be super fun; especially if you have people visiting. the lunch cruises usually have a narrative tour of the things you pass by!

  2. H and I have done a few riverboat cruises on the Mississippi and have always enjoyed them. We're planning on doing the NYE one this year, if we can get friends to go with us. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it!