By PAMELA BARKER
Community Reporter/ Social Media Editor
North Palm Beach Life/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Boat Show just hoisted anchor and floated away from the Palm Beaches until next year.
How grand it was to see such majestic vessels bobbing and straining at their ties, along the West Palm Beach waterfront.
There I was, taking in their glamour, dreaming the dream of lounging on a shady deck, music playing, a champagne flute in hand and a competent captain at the helm.
Ah, the vision is crystal clear in my head.
Alas, it is just that -- a vision.
Boating is an expensive hobby, we can all agree on that fact.
However, making my vision, with a few tweaks and a quick trip (from North Palm Beach) to the Port of Palm Beach, a reality was as easy as spotting a New York license plate during Season.
Because, there on the IntraCoastal waters sits the Majestic Princess, and it is waiting, just for us regular types.
So, let's break it down:
They offer lunch, brunch, twilight, nightlife, and family cruises. For around $5,000 (all-inclusive) you can even host a wedding or special occasion for 30 people.
We opted for the lunch sightseeing two-hour (yes, we felt safe because it was a two, not a three-hour tour) cruise.
Oh, our boating adventure began with the purchase of a Groupon discount ticket.
Making a telephone reservation was easy, and there were no problems having a coupon.
Be aware that the Rivera Beach Marina is looking great, but is still under construction. The parking is free, and we were fortunate to find a close place in the paved lot near the dock. Otherwise, the parking is on dirt and/or grassy areas and there is a bit of a longer walk to the dock area. A little transport cart was zipping around with folks, so I suppose you can ride to the dock.
There is new parking being completed, so the parking should improve in the near future.
The signage for the boat is not immediately apparent, but the friendly staff inside the current Marina office gave us clear instructions. After by-passing a small crowd waiting for transport to Peanut Island, and a fairly short walk down the dock, we arrived at the boat.
Friendly greeter with a clipboard found our name -- we were ON the list -- and we were good to board.
Seating on the multi-level boat is open. You may choose bow (front), stern (rear of boat) or the air-conditioned inside on the first or second level.
We opted for a table outside at the back (stern) of the boat. Several metal tables for four and several high-tops were available.
Approximately 25 people could be seated comfortably in this area.
We sat at a round-top, in the shade of the over-hang. It was perfect.
Before departing the dock, friendly and efficient servers arrive to offer food menus.
We ordered soft drinks. Cocktails and wine are available, and I tried for Prosecco, but was shot down as they do not offer it. They should seriously reconsider such an oversight.
Fortunately, the March weather cooperated and we had near-perfect conditions -- sunny, with a cool breeze.
The lunch cruise menu offers appetizers, sandwiches and entrees, ranging in price from $8-$14. Only one dessert, the Chef's Choice is listed for $6.
Once ordered, our Turkey Burger and Rustic Shaved Turkey Sandwich, with kettle chips, arrived promptly. The presentation was nice, and the food was quite good.
Now, about the tour itself.
The narrator was competent and gave an adequate description of sights along our route.
You know how I felt about those yachts at the Boat Show -- dreaming the dream? Yeah, I had that same experience as we trolled along those Palm Beach Island mansions.
Alas, another vision to be squashed.
So many mansions with water views. So many mansions with privacy, multi-level shrubs to prevent the residents from actually viewing the water-view.
I did have one unanswered question about a house we passed. It had a rather large blue puzzle piece attached to the back of the mansion. What was that about? I never got a chance to find out, and I hate an unsolved mystery.
One hour into our tour, we made a turn near the Flagler Bridge in West Palm Beach and the narration ended, and canned music floated around us.
The one little bump-in-the-road to a perfect IntraCoastal experience came in the form of barely-legal-looking types at a nearby table. They were there, mostly, to drink. So, their raucous talk would, occasionally completely overshadow the narration. Funny thing. On the return trip, they became eerily quiet. Must have been the shrimp cocktail they kept ordering! It was a very minor distraction to our experience.
The Majestic Princess was a lovely time. Comfortable and clean vessel, good food, friendly staff, clean restrooms and fabulous views. See, you don't have to own a boat --I felt like a Princess on the Princess for two hours!
The only thing missing was my champagne flute.
Well, now I am eyeing the Brunch Cruise. Champagne is a must at brunch, right?
For more information and pricing, visit the Majestic Cruises website.