Berthed just off the rows of shops and restaurants that make up Fisherman’s Village in Marina Del Rey, the revamped Entertainer, operated by City Cruises, sat waiting on a coolish gray evening to cast off for its nightly cruise in the waters of Marina Del Rey, just before the breakwater.
Departing 30 minutes after its scheduled departure—likely waiting for friendly stragglers—the Entertainer moved slowly through the water, as passengers availed themselves of, over three decks of live music, dinner and dessert.
The zhuzhed-up interior, replete with interior wood accents and portholes, was set like a wedding with long tables and impressive floral centerpieces. There were bars at the open bow and the stern along with a dance floor all topped with a sun deck, 25 feet above the water, offering 360-degree views of the marina’s boats, shops and restaurants, along with a steady stream of flights departing from LAX just to the south, as planes depart straight out over the Pacific before settling into their flight routes.
We dined on an array of appetizers like ahi on sliced cucumber, along with assorted cheeses, cold cuts and fruits from an impressive charcuterie table. A carving table served a choice of turkey and beef (or both) sandwiches, but the highlight for most was the ice cream station at the stern, which served thick bricks of vanilla or chocolate ice cream dipped in Belgian chocolate and then coated with an array of toppings.
At the casino table, guests played with the “money” provided by City Cruises at two blackjack and craps tables on the second level. (We “won ” $1600 over the $1000 in play money provided.)
The boat moved quietly through the marina as we watched the parade of strollers, joggers and skaters on the nearby walkways, along with the occasional sailing classes, practicing turns in the calm bay.
At the breakwater before the open ocean, we sat still in the water, taking in the view before turning around and heading back to shore, after about an hour-long, relaxing and luxurious cruise.
Beginning in Berkeley in 1974 with just two boats, and after more than a few ownership and name changes, the company, now just commonly referred to as Hornblower, operates out of 19 different ports: San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, Marina Del Rey, Long Beach, Newport Beach, San Diego, DC, Alexandria, Boston, Chicago, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Toronto, Baltimore, Port of New York and New Jersey, London, Poole and York.
The company’s entire fleet now includes more than 80 boats.
More information on City Cruises is available at www.cityexperiences.com. (800) 459-8105.