Last week I had the opportunity to take a short cruise on the Odyssey, which is one of several boats operated by Entertainment Cruises, based out of the Washington, DC area. There are several different companies offering tours up and down the Potomac, but Entertainment Cruises might be the most ubiquitous. And although they have several boats, the Odyssey is perhaps the most recognizable due to its sleek appearance.
The cruise itself was a networking event hosted by the HIP Network. The Odyssey was docked from 5 to 7 PM and then sailed from 7 to 8 PM, which was a shorter cruise than they usually offer, but it was perfect for a networking event if you’re noncommittal.
I’m so much more likely to attend networking events when they are in fun, new or nontraditional venues. I had actually been on the Odyssey a few years ago for a site visit, but we ended up going in a different (non-seafaring) direction for that event. So I was looking forward to seeing the boat in action.
The weather had other plans. I’m sure when the HIP Network folks originally scheduled the networking event they assumed that the end of March in Washington DC might be bordering on pleasant, but not bitterly cold. Well the day of the cruise was freezing. It was an otherwise beautiful spring day – clear blue skies, the sun was shining – aside from the constant, frigid wind.
Luckily, the Odyssey is mostly indoors with large picture windows so you can watch the scenery from the comfort of the climate controlled deck. Thank goodness!
The Odyssey is docked at the Gangplank Marina in Southwest DC. There is a private parking lot for the boats. Unfortunately, my colleague, Christina and I, were trying to time our arrival to be “fashionably late” (arriving around 5:30 PM – no one ever gets to a networking happy hour on time!) but apparently “just missed” the opportunity to park in the lot since it had just filled up. There was plenty of street parking (which is metered) but we opted to park at the nearby hotel’s garage, which may have been a mistake. The garage is… sketchy. Which is saying something – DC is full of less-than-stellar parking garages.
So after double and triple checking that my car was locked and that our valuables were secured, Christina and I scurried back outside to head to the boat, with the wind taking what was (I swear!) nice, wavy hair, into something less than cute. Why does my hair matter? Because as soon as we got on the boat we were asked to take a portrait – compliments of Entertainment Cruises. Nice touch, but I really wasn’t in the mood (less so when I saw how bad my hair really looked!)
The back half of the boat was being used. There was a dance floor and a live band, plenty of tables and seating, and several food stations.
The food was okay – nothing was so spectacular that it would make me convince someone who hates boats to get on board anyway. But the food isn’t why most people get on board the Odyssey.
Although they had adorable milk and cookies:
Promptly at 7 PM, we pulled out of the dock and went for our short cruise. I don’t ever get seasick so I might be the wrong person to judge this, but it felt very smooth to me. It was a very pleasant ride.
Some photos of the view:
I have to say that the service was excellent – very attentive and kind.
The Odyssey offers regular dinner cruises as well as specialty cruises – such as Cherry Blossom cruises and fall foliage cruises. You can buy individual tickets or group tickets. Pricing starts around $45 with food to purchase on board, up through the $99 ticket for dinner (which doesn’t include alcohol). Each of the boats Entertainment Cruises runs offers different itineraries – one of the other boats might be a better fit for your interests.
The Odyssey (as well as their other boats) may be partially or totally rented for private parties. The Odyssey has a capacity of up to 600.
Overall, I enjoyed the cruise. I’m not sure I would spring $100 a person for a dinner cruise ticket – I would prefer an excellent restaurant with a view. For private events, it’s a unique option, albeit not an inexpensive one.
For more information about the Odyssey or other Entertainment Cruises, visit their website.
Have you been on the Odyssey or one of their other boats? What did you think? Thanks for reading! To continue to support Planning It All and make sure you don’t miss a post, consider subscribing: