Bradenton is a large suburb in Florida on the southern edge of the Tampa-Saint Petersburg metropolis. Located on the shores of the Tampa Bay across from downtown Saint Petersburg, Bradenton is a popular waterfront spot for ships and leisure cruises to leave out of, due to its much closer proximity to the mouth of the bay in comparison to Tampa. For those looking for a unique way to experience the scenery of the water, a dinner cruise leaving out of Bradenton might be a good bet.
The Yacht StarShip company operates a series of luxury yacht cruises that specialize in upscale dinner cruises out of the Tampa area. Docking just a quick drive up the highway from Bradenton, the StarShip dinner cruise provides a top-of-the-line dining experience and a romantic scenic cruise through Tampa Bay and out to sea. The dining menu changes daily and highlights fresh local seafood and European cuisine. Dinners are served in a three-course style in a casual, laid-back atmosphere inside the ships expansive public dining room. After the meal, guests are welcome to dance into the late hours to live music on the open-air party deck or to relax under the stars on the more secluded lounging deck. During the dinner cruise, guests can enjoy sights of all the area’s cities as seen from the waterway. The skylines of Tampa and Saint Petersburg provide backdrops for a photo and the beaches of Clearwater offer some quiet scenery as the ship moves off into the ocean, where it stays for several hours before returning to the dock.
YachtStarShip 603 Channelside Drive Tampa, FL 33767 813-223-7999 yachtstarship.com
Marina Jack is both a seafood restaurant on land and a luxury dinner cruise on board the company’s privately-owned converted yacht. The dinner cruise leaves out each night aboard the "Marina Jack II" boat, which docks just south of downtown Bradenton. The boat is fully staffed with a trained crew that will sail into the Gulf of Mexico for a full evening of dining and entertainment. The dinner takes place in a large dining room full of floor-to-ceiling windows and a view of the sea. Food options are numerous at the dining room’s dinner buffet, which features items, such as prime rib and fresh seafood. When not sitting down to a meal, the boat crew serve up fresh drinks on the outer sun deck, where guests can relax as the sun sets over the water. For large groups or corporate functions looking for a scenic and relaxing dinner cruise, Marina Jack also offers rentals of the boat for private functions.
Marina Jack 2 Marina Place Sarasota, FL 34236 941-365-4232 marinajacks.com/dinnerboat
LeBarge Tropical Cruises
LeBarge features various single-day cruising trips out of Sarasota, just minutes south of the main downtown Bradenton area. Offering a full line of converted barge ships and yachts, LeBarge has a wide array of cruise types, including a dinner trip called the Sunset Cruise. The Sunset Cruise is decidedly more laid-back and casual in comparison to many upscale dinner cruises that focus on romance and seclusion. Instead, the Sunset Cruise dinner trip bring an island-style party atmosphere to the dinner cruise market. The two-hour trip features live bands playing Caribbean island-type music during the sailing. Guests are invited to dance on the open-air party deck or just relax with a cold drink while taking in the scenic ocean sights. Food is served around the mid-point of the trip and features a rotating menu of dishes, as well as more standard snack foods to complement drinks during the duration of the trip. The LeBarge Sunset Cruise is a definite recommendation for those in large, fun groups or simply for people looking for a dinner cruise in a more festive and partying atmosphere.
LeBarge Tropical Cruises Marina Plaza Sarasota, FL 34236 941-366-6116 lebargetropicalcruises.com
- cruise image by Einar Bog from Fotolia.com