Spirit of Chicago Cruises


On a traffic-free day, what’s not to love about Lake Shore Drive? The city skyline on one side, the sparkling blue lake on the other. A wise man once said “this might be one of the most scenic city drives in all of the country.” And I completely agree with my dad… as would a lot of other people, I’m sure. Cruising along the coast of Lake Michigan with the windows down and the breeze blowing on my face, it doesn’t get much better. That is until you happen to notice the group of young and beautiful people heading out onto the water on their young and beautiful boat, which is coincidentally named, “The Young and Beautiful.” Turns out it does get better, a lot better.

For whatever reason, being on a boat always seems to trump being on land. Unless the boat is named the Titanic, I guess. Luckily, the Spirit of Chicago Cruises located on Navy Pier offers us simple folk the opportunity to live the nautical life on one of their luxurious boats for a few hours at our leisure. If you’re like me and long to be on the water but don’t want all of the fuss of owning a million dollar boat — read: excessive boat parties, too many friends, unwanted popularity — the Spirit of Chicago Cruises are the way to go. Whether you are looking for a dinner cruise with a great view of fireworks, an afternoon at sea, or a morning on the water with an endless breakfast buffet, Spirit Cruises offers a variety of excursions to suit whatever it is you are looking for.

I had my boating experience on the Sunday brunch cruise. Upon stepping aboard, our group was led to a table in the dining area and promptly handed complimentary flutes of champagne. I’ve never met a Sunday I didn’t like that started with champagne. Not long after we were seated our server gave us the ‘go’ to make our way to the bottomless buffet. On a Sunday morning sometimes an endless buffet of eggs, bacon and hash-browns is just what you need to pick you up after a long weekend in Chicago. Aside from breakfast cuisine, the buffet also features other dishes such as BBQ beef sirloin, Caribbean roasted chicken and penne al forno, to name a few. The dessert table is lined with a variety of cookies, bars and pastries, my favorite being the miniature carrot cakes, because everybody knows that if a dessert is miniature it’s completely appropriate to eat as many as you desire.

After filling our stomachs we headed out onto the deck to relish the warm sun on our faces and take in the breathtaking views of the city. The ship cruised along from about 10:30 am until roughly 12:30pm. As we passed fellow water dwellers, I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for the people on their private boats. I highly doubted they had the pleasure of being served by an incredibly talented singing waitstaff; another element that is all part of the fun aboard Spirit Cruises.

The inside of the ship features a large dance floor and DJ booth. It wasn’t exactly hopping at 11:00 am on a Sunday morning, but I’ve heard the dinner cruises can get pretty crazy. Imagine having the type of date night that most are only lucky enough to experience from a brief stint on reality TV. You can dance under the stars on the top deck, sip a cocktail and enjoy the live music, or simply camp out at the buffet and enjoy all the fine foods the Spirit has to offer.

Whether you’re a visitor in town for the weekend, or a local just looking for a little daycation, I would definitely recommend stepping aboard one of the Spirit of Chicago Cruises. Instead of watching from shore, check out the view from the water for a change. Visit the website for more info or to book cruises. And, of course, be sure to check out some of the other great boat operators out of Navy Pier, including Shoreline Sightseeing tours, The Odyssey, Mystic Blue Cruises, and the Seadog boat rides. Have fun!

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