Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bite to eat while gently motoring around the scenic back bay of Atlantic City?
If you think so, you’re in luck. A new nongambling attraction — cruises with food on the back bay — has started this week.
The Atlantic City Princess, an 87-foot boat that can comfortably host 100 people at a time, is running three cruises a day out of the Farley State Marina by the Golden Nugget casino hotel.
The service is a dream come true for Gina and Tom Reynolds, of Galloway Township.
Gina Reynolds, 41, said she has always been on or near boats and long wanted to be in the boat business.
“I lived on a houseboat in the Lake George (N.Y.) area, and every summer I’d take cruises on the steamboats there,” she said.
The $300,000 Princess is designed for leisure and luxury, powered by twin diesel engines, she said.
The enclosed lower deck has air conditioning and heating, and plenty of chairs and couches — “very comfortable, like a living room,” she said.
The open upper deck is big enough to hold 65 people, for sunbathing, star watching and sightseeing.
On weekdays, the Atlantic City Princess makes three regularly scheduled cruises: with continental breakfast from 10 to 11 a.m.; lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m.; and hors d’oeuvres from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, there is a champagne brunch cruise.
Tickets start at $24.99 for adults, and required reservations may be made by calling 609-241-6600 or online at atlanticcityprincess.com
Gina Reynolds said the rest of the time on weekends is kept available for private charters. Typical charters include for birthday, retirement or reunion parties; wedding parties and rehearsal dinners; and corporate events.
“They can bring their own food or use our caterers. They can have a live band on the boat, or a DJ, or simply plug their iPod into our sound system,” she said.
There is room to have dancing, or people can just relax and even keep up with a sports game with the boat’s satellite television system.
“It’s nice for an intimate gathering, and with two floors, even large groups won’t be scrunched together,” she said.
Reynolds said local officials have been supportive of offering visitors more noncasino attractions, and she and her husband researched the market and found room for cruises with food in the tour-boat niche that already has another boat.
The Cruisn1, operated by Atlantic City Cruises out of Gardner’s Basin, principally travels out onto the ocean to give passengers the famous view of the Atlantic City skyline and Boardwalk.
Owner Jeff George, of Egg Harbor Township, said the 65-foot boat is certified for as many as 130 passengers and has operated since 1998. Daily cruises focus on the skyline, dolphins, an ocean and back-bay mix, and cocktails at sunset.
Reynolds said she’s confident the market is big enough to keep both boats busy.
“There are three steamboats on Lake George and they’re always booked,” she said. “People love going on cruises.”
In the future, the Atlantic City Princess will offer an array of special cruises, including a blues cruise, a Hawaiian luau, a wine and cheese night, and a sushi night, she said. Those events will be posted on the website.
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