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Saturday, January 1, 2011

A San Francisco Bay Cruise on New Year's Eve

We had planned to spend a quiet New Year's Eve at home this year watching "When Harry Met Sally" and eating Mallomars just like Harry does at the end of the movie.

On the Left is the Zinfandel Commodore Yacht

But then we were invited to attend a cruise on San Francisco Bay as a surprise Birthday party for one of hubby's friends. Cool. I've lived here for over 20 years and have never been "on" the bay before. I took my Dramamine and we headed off to Commodore Cruises and Events in Alameda, CA.

Described on Commodore's website as "The Floating Glass Restaurant of San Francisco Bay" the Zinfandel's dining area is windows all the way around the entire second floor. Note the lighting in the picture above. Below the same room looks as if event lighting was implemented, but it was only the glow of the heat lamp used to keep the prime rib warm.

A dramatic difference right? The dinner was good. The carver was serving up generous slices of prime rib and there was a chicken dish at the buffet. Being vegetarian I had plenty of bread, salad, sauteed green beans and oven roasted potatoes to eat. I also pulled what I thought were whole olives out of the chicken dish but it turned out they were grapes :) I should have taken a picture but dinner was at 9:30 and I was hungry so I forgot. Oops!

The view from the second floor deck looking back into the dining room. Though I'd never been on a cruise I'd heard they could get cold so I wisely wore layers. Even then, being out on deck to take these photos left me freezing. At one point I was going back inside to get warm and as the boat pitched a bit I reached out to brace myself on a large pole like the one to the right above. It was warm! Really warm, like roasty toasty, snuggle up against it warm.

So I did. The rest of the evening whenever I got too cold on deck, instead of going back in, I perfected the art of pole hugging. And it wasn't just me. Other people were pole hugging too. LOL.

Another NYE first... I broke out one of my tiaras from my bridal accessory collection and wore it all evening just for fun.

Below on the main deck was a dance floor as well as a small enclosed, windowed area on the bow as you enter the yacht.

 Beside the dance floor was a lounge area and open bar...

I had a glass of water with lime :) The staff was friendly and capable. Things ran smoothly from the bar to the dinner service to making sure we were exactly where we needed to be when the fireworks display began at midnight on the Embarcadero along San Francisco's shoreline.

Click on any Image to Enlarge it

As we left Alameda, located in the East Bay right across from downtown Oakland, the approach to the Bay Bridge and the city beyond was really quite lovely.

That small red light in the center of the photo is the clock on the Ferry Building and the bright shining light to the upper right is the tip of the Transamerica Pyramid.

Looking back at the city as we headed towards the Golden Gate Bridge.

Coit Tower

The Bay Bridge and City Skyline

Exactly at midnight the fireworks began. I've seen them so many times on tv and once saw them in the city on the Fourth of July but had never seen them from the water with the Bay Bridge as the backdrop. It was really gorgeous. And you can't tell from the pictures but it was freaking freezing cold out on deck. With so many things working against me, the darkness, distance, moving boat and the frigid winds I didn't expect much when it came to the photos I was taking.

In fact, I'd recently begun researching upgrading my point and shoot Lumix camera for a more current model...

I have to admit after reviewing the photos, I felt kind of guilty, as if I'd lost faith in an old and trustworthy friend. My little camera did a great job despite all of the challenges and though I will retire it this year I'll be very happy to continue working with it until then.

As everyone else enjoyed the show from indoors, I braved the cold for these shots. I was chilled to the bone and my hand was like a gnarled claw frozen to my camera. At least that made it so I didn't have to worry about dropping it into the bay as I leaned over the side rail to get the best angle for my shots. LOL. Eventually my hubby showed up with his camera and joined me on deck.

Another yacht had just passed by. At first I was thinking it was going to ruin my shots but then it turned into a nice addition to this image.

I think this was my favorite photo. Purple fireworks. My Auntie will like this one because purple has always been her favorite color.

If you've never taken a bay cruise before I would highly recommend it's an experience to try at least once. We were a small group of just over 30 people and had the Zinfandel all to ourselves. The Commodore website says it's popular for both wedding and receptions. I can see that.

The only thing that would have made this a more perfect experience would have been to have the Journey song "Lights" playing as the fireworks went off.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy start to the new year. As luck would have it, it rained before the fireworks began, stopped during them, and began again literally seconds after the last firework had lit the sky above the city. I'm taking that as a good sign that things are going to work out for the best this year.

Happy New Year to Everyone!


  1. Awesome fireworks images, Stacie! (purple fireworks is also my fave) I feel like I was there :-) HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!

  2. Thanks Lisa, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Happy New Year to you too!


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