Atlantis Royal Sunset Dinner Cruise: A Journey to Remember and Savor
By Kathy Chin Leong
I count myself fortunate to have been to Oahu at least ten times in my lifetime. I count myself lucky. This time was different. This time I was celebrating our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary with my true love, Frank, a fellow I met at church in San Francisco nearly 30 years ago.
I don't really like to do touristy things, especially when Honolulu is like my second home. Yet, the romance of going on a sunset dinner cruise was too irresistable to pass up. But which one to choose? I saw ads for fancy catamaran cruises, but the big sails and the windiness just was not my thing. Also, catamarans tend to bob, and Frank, being sensitive to movement, does not like to bob. He likes to feel as if he is stationary.
The Atlantis sunset dinner cruise on board the Navatek Icaught my eye. The company that also brings the Atlantis submarines is also in charge of these dinner cruises. Years hence we had tackled one of the sub rides, and we had a great time. As I recall, the submarine excursion was clean, airy, and extremely educational. The length of time, less than two hours, was perfect, and I did not feel claustrophobic.
So, the Atlantis dinner it was. We chose the nice lobster dinner which included a sunset ride and a view of the Hilton fireworks on a Friday night. While other tourist sites sometimes show brochure pictures wtih experiences that don't quite cut it, the Atlantis dinner holds up well to expectations at $121 per adult and $69 per child. If you book online, you get a reduced adult rate of $108.90 per adult and $62.10 per kid.
The folks who run it are quite seasoned. The price included shuttle rides from the Sheraton Waikiki to the harbor where the large boat is docked. It is a new boat custom built for Atlantis. We were impressed at its shape that resembled a giant sting ray with sweet curves and fins. The boat features a special technology that sails so smoothly you don’t even know you have left the dock.
Before entering the boat, they took our photos and stressed that we were not obligated to buy them. If we wanted to, the cost for an 8x10 would be $25. And once on the boat, the wait staff quickly brought us to our window table. Everyone was extremely friendly, and the aloha spirit was evident.
THE FOOD, THE FOOD
Linda, the boat's lovely singer, came to greet and speak with us, and she was especially gracious and full of conversation. With guitar music in the background, the dinner commenced once we left the dock, and we cast off with views of Diamondhead volcano in the distance. The starter salad with crumbled bleu cheese and nuts and cranberries was crisp, fresh, and filling. The roll was soft. And our island cocktails had just the right amount of sweetness and tartness without too much alcoholic buzz. The steak was cooked to our liking at medium-rare, and we marveled at how tasty this “boat” dining experience was.
Before our lobster came out to greet us, we walked to the deck outside to observe the setting of the sun. It dipped quickly, but the afterglow was fantastic, as it always is in Honolulu . Orange skies with streaks of pink and red, puffy tangy clouds intensified as we leaned up against the railing of the boat, Movement was slow and steady, barely felt by us landlubbers.
Once inside, our servers saw us, and our waitress approached our table with two large, juicy lobsters on two platters. Served with a side of melted butter and some cooked carrots and zucchini on the side. Giddy with drooling delight, we plunged into our delicacies of the sea, cracking, smacking, crushing shells. After the barbaric act was over, Linda, our lovely singer opened with a few traditional Hawaiian songs and asked questions of audience. "Where are you from?" "Is anyone celebrating a birthday or anniversary tonight?"
We are not the attention-grabbing type, but we had to be honest and raise our hands. Linda ushered us up along with a
myriad of other newlyweds and oldie-weds. While we didn't receive any prizes, we did get rounds of applause. After this, Linda led the group in some basic Texas line dancing on the tiny dance floor.
We got off the dance floor just in time for coffee and chocolate mousse dessert, a surprisingly delicious treat. The mouse had just the right amount of bittersweet flavor and was chilled perfectly with an excellent consistency-not too firm, not too mushy.
Before we knew it, we were told to go outside to view the fireworks, and we were so happy it was not cloudy or rainy that night, but exacting and clear. The bursts of sparks and colors against the velvety sky were a romantic conclusion to a perfect evening. Food was excellent, entertainment was fun, and the sail was smooth, weather could not have been better on a balmy September evening.
For a Honolulu oldie like me, I simply enjoyed each moment of this experience and got to see Hawaii again through the awestruck eyes of newcomers.
Atlantis Royal Sunset Dinner Cruise
Cost: $108.90 online price for adults ($121 regular); $62.10 online price for kids ages 6-12 ($69 regular)
Length of ride: Two hours
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