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Sep 22, 2006 03:22 PM

"Nina Dandy" cruise on the Potomac

Please tell me someone has taken this cruise and has all the info...my husband wants to do this for our anniversary. He said that "this guy" at work said the food was great. It's about $80.per w/out drinks. www.dandydinnerboat.com

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  1. Is this the one out of Alexandria Harbour? If so, the food was great about five years ago when we took it. I was pleasantly surprised. The view was great and generally was a great time. We went in December and the cruise was pretty empty.

    1. I think *great* is a stretch, the food is decent. But, when you add in the novelty of the cruise and the view from the water, it's worth it. But, don't go expecting a gourmet meal - in my opinion, that it's not.

      1. I went on one several years ago. The food isn't great, but you don't really go for the food, anyway (and I would generally agree that it is worth it for non-food reasons). Unless I'm mistaken, I think one of those cruise lines may offer a later cruise that doesn't involve a full meal (maybe drinks and light refreshments?) for a little less. That might be a good deal if you can pair it with an earlier dinner someplace that you like.

        5 Replies
        1. re: alopez

          Extending on that suggestion, Cityzen is located quite close to the departure point for several of the dinner cruise boats. Now that is is great meal. Following it up with a cruise with drinks sounds interesting. However, it's getting close to colder temperature season so I'm not too sure about how much fun the cruise would be.

          1. re: johnb

            Where exactly is CityZen located?

            1. re: schoenick

              It's in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which's official address is on Maryland Ave. Search it here and you'll get many hits.

          2. re: alopez

            So if CityZen in in the DC Harbour and the original poster is talking about something in Alexandria, you may want to consider a restaurant in Old Town instead. My husband and I have been to dinner at O'Connell's http://www.danieloconnells.com/main.html in Old Town for dinner (not the pub but the actual restaurant) and were quite pleased with the offerings. The chef is amazing. They have a relatively small menu but everything is delicious. Then you could take the later cruise for drinks...

            1. re: schoenick

              The OP seemed not to be sold on the idea in the first place, so some alternatives seem in order. The fact is, the "guy" in the ofice who said it is great food is clearly not to be trusted--I've had the misfortune to be dragged along on one of those dinnerboat cruises (a corporate Christmas party) and I can tell you the food is far from "great." Furthermore, the boat the OP named appears to be the only one which leaves from Alexandria, and according to its website does not offer a late cruise, and as such one could not dine in a restaurant in Old Town Alex and then do drinks on the boat. Hence, the suggestion for CityZen which may be a workable compromise.

              If I were going to suggest a place in OT Alex it would be Restaurant Eve.

          3. You can see a sample menu here:


            Each to his/her own of course, but the one (and only time) I went on a cruise on the Dandy, it couldn't clear one of the bridges, so we couldn't see the monuments. Although we did get a great view of reagan airport and the various non-scenic sites. It was very underwhelming.

            For the money, why not just go to Maestro or CityZen?

            1. I went on one of these things for a corporate Christmas party once, and the food wasn't memorable, but to be fair, I've never had food at a corporate party in *any* setting that was memorable, so I hesitate to compare that to the regular fare.

              When deciding whether to go on one of these, though, one must keep the business model in mind. Most people are going on it for the "experience" or the view, not the food. It's the sort of gimmick that tends to make people go only once, or at most, infrequently. Can you imagine anybody other than maybe an "event planner" (who would come along on the various customers' planned events) being a "regular" on one of these? I can't.

              If one assumes that's the business model, it follows that the food needs to be good enough for business clients, "events", and to generate word of mouth to those who haven't gone that the food was not a "deal killer" - that it's not bad enough to be a reason to skip going on the cruise "just once".

              That pretty much hones in on the range of food/service excellence to expect - somewhere in the "good enough" to "surprisingly good ... for this sort of thing" range. If it were truly exquisite compared to a similar restaurant on land, most people couldn't afford it, given the extra overhead of the cruise aspect.

              Given that, the question is whether the experience and the view is worth it to you as a one-time or infrequent thing. Just be aware that if you choose to do it, it's not really about the chow - the food is an accessory to give people something to do besides looking at the view while on the boat, and to cover the time when traversing less-scenic stretches of the river. The food is not the main draw, and it's not supposed to be. You might not do the cruise without the food, and you might not do the food without the cruise, but put together, the two add up to something that hits an acceptable "package value" price point for a lot of people. If that's OK, then go, have a good time, and enjoy it for what it is.