Ceaser, a staff photographer, snaps a photo of my girlfriend and me right before we board. I can tell this is something I’m going to remember for a long time. Once, we’re on the yacht, we’re handed chilled glasses of champagne and for the next two hours, our waiter makes sure the glasses are never empty. This is the Hornblower Brunch Cruise, and I can’t think of a better way to start a Sunday than on a yacht called Entertainer.
A huge ship, Entertainer is two decks and 145 feet of pure cruising. The lower deck is arranged like a restaurant with an open bar on one end and a musician playing acoustic cover songs on the other. The upper deck has chairs, tables, and a couch so you can properly lounge in the open air.
The endless champagne is great, but the brunch buffet is awesome. A spread like you wouldn’t believe, there’s plenty to stuff yourself with, including shrimp cocktail, pasta salad with scallops, fresh-caught salmon, veggie quiche, a carving station, cake, and other brunch essentials. Albert, our waiter, and the rest of the staff take good care of us, from topping off our drinks to telling anecdotes about the harbor.
After eating ourselves silly, we waddle onto the upper deck to see the view. We spot a few harbor seals, wave hello to boaters sailing past, and take in the coastline. I could even see the snow-capped San Gabriel mountains in the distance. With a cool breeze from gliding through the harbor, we couldn’t feel more relaxed.
To ensure smooth sailing, the captain stays behind the break walls, navigating a loop around the Marina del Rey harbor. Marina del Rey is one of the hidden gems of Los Angeles. Within walking distance to Venice Beach, less than four miles from LAX, and ten minutes from Santa Monica, locals and tourists alike spend time here kayaking, paddle boarding, and learning to sail.
After two hours, the yacht docks back at Fisherman’s Village in Marina del Rey. In contrast to the utilitarian docks that house the multimillion dollar boats of Los Angeles’ rich and famous, Fisherman’s Village is a quirky replica of a New England fishing town with rows of brightly colored buildings ranging from boutiques to a lighthouse that doubles as a restaurant. Back on dry land, we stop into a few of these shops and are tempted to buy a Joe Jackson record and a pair of vintage sunglasses.
Sunsoaked, we head home. This cruise would be ideal for our parents or cousins the next time they visit, I tell my girlfriend. Where else can you look out onto the Pacific Ocean and turn around to see snow-covered mountains? The Hornblower Sunday Champagne Brunch Cruise was a great reminder of why we love living in Southern California.
For more information visit Hornblower.com