Mrs. BurgerDogBoy surprised me with one of her anniversary gifts, and purchased the lunch time cruise on the “Spirit of Portland” ship that puffs up and down the Willamette and Columbia Rivers for the benefit of tourists and denizens, alike.
My experience with dinner cruises has been fairly limited in my lifetime, from the really bad, to the ridiculous (the latter being on the Nile out of Cairo), but nevertheless, I was eager for our day on the Spirit to arrive, what with it being 1) Free, and 2) a few hours pleasant distraction.
The cruises are a set price, with a choice of several entrees, basic beverages included, alcohol, desserts, and ‘special appetizers’ available for purchase.
We arrived at the dock at 1130, and boarded promptly for the 12pm sailing. Each party entering the ship has their photo taken, and you have the chance to purchase this souveneir later in the day.
We were seated by a window, table for two, and the first floor dining room (there are two floors and an observation deck) was crowded for a weekday, I thought.
The help was affable, and the service adequate. They seem to have plenty of help on board, in addition to the servers, there is a full-time bartender, piano player, and the waitstaff doubles as entertainment, belting out a couple of tunes during the trip.
We went with the seafood appetizer, which was extra, and ample at $12, it included some boiled shrimp, a crab cake, smoked salmon, and some other goods. We really enjoyed it. For our lunch, we both picked crab melts, which were fairly large portions, we could have shared one and it would have been adequate. There was also a vegetarian option, a steak, a pasta, and one other choice.
We weren’t in a “spirits” mood on the spirit, so we limited our beverages to soft drinks (included), and the nanosecond one of our glasses reached the half-empty stage, a fresh refill was brought to the table.
A bread and butter basket was included in the price as well. The cruise portion took two hours, wound down the river to near Lake Oswego before turning around and returning. Mrs. Burgerdogboy has been known to be afflicted by motion sickness on occasion, but she experienced zero discomfort on the Spirit.
The same company runs various other cruises on different rivers in the area. Their full variety of options (and you can book) is on the Spirit’s website.
I marvel at folks who run operations like this, especially at a time when their operating costs (translation: fuel) vary wildly and unpredictably.
It’s a fun couple hours, with good food, and pleasant people. I recommend you include the Portland Spirit in your vacation (or summer) plans!