Dining cruise coming to Chicago river via Odyssey Chicago – Consumer News

on Sep28

27 September 2017 | 6:24 pm

Odyssey Chicago will launch the first dining cruise on the Chicago River next summer.

“We’ve been watching the river and every year it gets cleaner, there’s more activity, more development,” says Dan Russell, regional vice president of Odyssey parent Entertainment Cruises. “We get more guest inquiries every year asking, ‘Can you take the Odyssey up the river?’ The interest is clearly there.”

Beginning July 1, Odyssey Chicago will operate three glass-topped cruises daily on​ the waterway: one for lunch, one for cocktails and one for dinner. Voyages will range from 90 minutes for lunch and cocktails to three hours for dinner. Because Odyssey’s custom-made boat will be almost totally enclosed in glass, Odyssey will offer trips year-round.

“We wanted to make it something that was Chicago’s own,” Russell says. “We enclosed it in glass so we could take in all the views here, the full sensory, visual appearance our river is.”

The Odyssey boat, which will be about 140 feet long and 30 feet wide, will sail as far west as Chicago Avenue in River North and as far south as Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown. Odyssey will lease about 200 square feet of dock space adjacent to NBC Tower at 455 Cityfront Plaza Drive in Streeterville.

Russell declined to comment on how much the lease cost but estimated the entire project—including new boat, dock renovations and lease—will cost $5 million. Entertainment Cruises will foot the entire bill.

The glass-enclosed dining area will run about 3,000 square feet and seat 200. Diners can choose a casual option that features food stations and a relaxed dress code; and more upscale, multicourse meal option, which includes steak and lobster and requires formal attire. Like Odyssey cruises on the lake now, attendees will be able to be rent out the riverboat for a private party or buy individual tickets to public sails. The majority of Odyssey’s ticket sales now go to private groups that don’t rent out the entire boat, Russell says.

River cruise tickets will cost $70 to $190 per person. Odyssey has operated public and private cruises from Navy Pier for about 25 years.

Chicago-based Entertainment Cruises is the largest dining-cruise operator in the nation. It operates two glass-topped boats in Washington and New York.



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