From the glorious sunsets to the Cleveland skyline glittering at dusk, there’s nothing like a summer evening spent on the waters of Lake Erie. Whether you’re talking a party of two or 200, taking a ride on one of Northeast Ohio’s well-known cruise ships is a hallmark of the season and a highlight of a visit to the region.
What better way to follow up a day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame than with a quick walk to the neighboring dock where the Goodtime III— a Cleveland tradition for more than half a century–awaits? Long known for its guided sightseeing daytime trips, the Goodtime III offers nighttime weekend dinner and dance cruises that make for an ideal grown-up night out.
Want to dine on the water? Catch the Goodtime’s first evening departure and enjoy a full buffet while the sun dips to the west. Stick around, though. After dinner, the boat swings back to port to pick up guests for late night dancing on the lake, with a live band on the main deck and a disc jockey cranking out music on deck two. And from the two uppermost decks of the 1,000-passenger ship, take in the unparalleled scenery and summertime air.
Meanwhile, the Nautica Queen, based on the Cuyahoga River in the Flats District, fills its summer schedule with a variety of themed cruises, special events and family-friendly offshore fun.
Wednesdays, for instance, are tropical nights on the Queen, bringing the tastes and sounds of far-off seas and emerald islands to this corner of the Great Lakes, while Thursday nights are set aside for dinner and Dancing through the Decades, cruising through four musical eras just offshore from the city crowned “rock and roll” king.
The Nautica Queen is popular for their Mother’s Day or Father’s Day brunch cruise, making for a gift that’s sure to beat breakfast in bed or that box of personalized golf tees you had in mind. And wine lovers should make plans to spend at least one summer Friday on board for the Wine on the Water wine tasting and dinner cruise.
If you’re interested in a little Lake Erie lore, the Nautica Queen’s Friday “Legends of Lake Erie” lunch cruises are held from June through October, treating guests to tales of sunken treasure, ghost stories and shipwrecks galore.
Depending on weather and water conditions, both ships also offer tours along the winding mouth of the city’s crooked river, providing close-up views and passage beneath some of the amazing bridges connecting some of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods.
One sure-fire spectacular night on the lake, naturally, is the Fourth of July, when the offshore viewpoint of the city’s fireworks display offers an unparalleled experience of the extravaganza. As one-night-only events, of course, these trips book up fast. But if you’re in town for Independence Day, there’s simply no better seat for the show than one on the water.
– Submitted by John Booth, guest blogger