6 Best Lunch and Dinner Cruises in the United States

Few activities are as relaxing as a cruise out on the water—whether it's a short excursion across a still lake or a multi-day voyage off one of our nation's gorgeous coasts.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, however, it may be a while before more traditional, multi-day cruises return to normal. A lunch or dinner cruise, on the other hand, allows you to enjoy a great meal and a few hours out on the water without having to stay on board for an extended period or experience long bouts of motion sickness.

Whether you're looking for a top lunch or dinner cruise to plan your vacation around or you're curious as to whether there's a great cruise option in your own area, here are six of the top lunch and dinner cruises in the United States!

1. Showboat Branson Belle Cruise — Branson, Missouri

If you're familiar with Missouri, you know that there is no access to any of the nation's coastlines. With that said, the small tourist town of Branson is nestled in the Ozark Mountain range and is located on Table Rock Lake—a large body of water with a surface area of approximately 43,000 acres.

To experience these peaceful waters and behold a scenic view of the mountainous landscape, book a lunch or dinner cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle. Since its initial launch in 1994, the vessel and its crew have treated thousands of guests to an evening of delicious food and live entertainment.

During this two-and-a-half-hour cruise, you'll be treated to a breathtaking live performance from a very talented ensemble of singers, musicians, and dancers. Sing along to some of the most recognizable tunes from the '60s up until today!

The Showboat Branson Belle cruise menu features honey citrus chicken, slow-cooked pot roast, and garlic mashed potatoes, and more. Wash down your meal with a cup of coffee and a slice of Silver Dollar City's famous lemon berry ice cream pie!

2. Jungle Queen Riverboat Island Dinner and Show Cruise — Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Florida is the second most popular vacation state and the city of Fort Lauderdale is a popular vacation spot in its own right. While you're in town, consider booking tickets to the Jungle Queen Riverboat Island Dinner and Show cruise.

During this four-hour experience, you'll enjoy a narrated sightseeing adventure down New River as you look out over what is often called the “Venice of America.” Once you arrive at the island, you'll feast on an all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner with a menu that includes baby back ribs, chicken, and sides galore.

After dinner, you'll enjoy a variety show that features a live music performance, mind-boggling magic tricks, and knee-slapping comedy—not to mention, a Polynesian fire dancing grand finale—before making your way back to the Bahia Mar Yachting Center!

3. Star Casual Sunset and Show Cruise — Honolulu, Hawaii

When it comes to potential getaway destinations, Hawaii sits atop many lists. In fact, Oahu, Hawaii is the sixth most popular vacation spot in the United States, according to TripAdvisor.

As if gorgeous beaches and clear blue waters can't persuade you to visit this tropical island, the capital of Honolulu is also home to the Star Casual Sunset and Show cruise—one of the highest-rated dinner cruise experiences in the country.

This particular cruise includes a three-course crab and steak dinner, along with your choice of coffee or tea. Following your meal, kick back and enjoy a live presentation, “60 Years of Aloha”, before making your way up to the top deck for the finale—a breathtaking sunset view of Oahu's coastline.

4. Sailing Connecticut Afternoon Cruise — New London, Connecticut

While the average person might not have Connecticut on their list of potential getaway spots, the Sailing Connecticut Afternoon Cruise is a fantastic cruise option for the person who either lives in Connecticut or needs to pass through the state on their way to New York.

During this three-hour voyage, you'll enjoy a coastal view of the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Mystic Whaler—a single-floor, 110-foot tall ship that accommodates only a handful of people per cruise.

The cruise's lunch menu features grilled chicken and vegetarian dishes. If you would prefer to set sail in the morning, there are also brunch cruise times with a rotating seasonal menu!

5. San Francisco Dinner Dance Cruise — San Francisco, California

There are plenty of reasons to visit San Francisco—the cuisine, the culture, and of course, the cruises!

While there are multiple dinner cruises that depart from San Francisco's docks every evening, the San Francisco Dinner Dance Cruise might just top the list of options. This three-hour excursion offers unrivaled views of the entire Bay area—including the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, and Alcatraz.

A cruise designed for those who are light on their feet, the San Francisco Dinner Dance Cruise makes for a romantic dinner date. Sit down to a three-course gourmet meal—made from only the freshest local ingredients—before dancing the night away to some of your favorite hits!

6. Steamboat Natchez Jazz Dinner Cruise — New Orleans, Louisiana

The vibrant city of New Orleans is known for its live music scene and authentic Louisiana-style cuisine. Experience the best of both with a trip on the Steamboat Natchez—the last paddlewheel ship in the entire city.

This two-hour cruise packs a punch, as it includes live music performed by the Grammy-nominated jazz trio Dukes of Dixieland. The cruise's buffet-style menu features local favorites, such as chicken and sausage gumbo and Bayou seafood pasta. Be sure to leave room for white chocolate bread pudding and bananas foster!

There is also plenty of indoor and outdoor seating available on board for your convenience. Stay inside to enjoy the live music, or venture out onto the deck to take in the coastal breeze and a gorgeous view of the city.

Despite its quality, the Steamboat Natchez Jazz Dinner Cruise still manages to be very affordable compared to other popular dinner cruises. What's more, children who are under the age of six get free admission when accompanied by a paid adult!

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