The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. | Marcel Proust
Hornblower Cruises — As I ascended the spiral staircase of the 140-feet Endless Dreams luxury yacht at Newport Harbor, I watched people behind me usher flowers and presents into the dining room, waiting to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions. While staring at the glorious Moët et Chandon bottle resting on the table, it dawned on me that I, too, was celebrating a few things: 1) it was my post-birthday weekend 2) it happened to be The Cultureur’s 10-month milestone that day, and 3) I was a tourist in my own city and discovering something new to do. With my welcome glass of champagne in hand, I smiled and happily began the 2-hour celebration in style.
From seamless embarcation to the impeccable food presentation to the elegant chiavari chairs, there isn’t much more to say except: BRAVO! to the Hornblower Cruises team! With the glowing sun showing no greed as usual, and from endless eating/drinking options (think: a french toast station, gorgeous array of pastries, shrimp cocktail, bottomless mimosas, chocolate-covered strawberries, and much more!) to picturesque views from the upper sky deck to live music entertainment, it was the most perfect Sunday afternoon that revealed the quintessential Orange County experience. The two hours passed by in a flash.
I must note that my flute of champagne never reached below the halfway mark, thanks to the very attentive service of the crew members. I greatly appreciated the history lessons that were orated through the loud speaker throughout the entire journey; it instilled a newfound vitality into the trivia tidbits I had learned in school. And frankly, it made me appreciate Orange County–the place I was born and raised–a little bit more.
As an avid bruncher and yacht lover, I’m still thinking to myself as to why I never thought to fuse the two in Orange County. Perhaps, in my defense, it seemed too touristy and the cliched thing to do. Having already sailed through the sparkling Mediterranean and Atlantic waters, I’m glad I decided to come full circle and experience it on my home turf. All I know is that next time someone from out of town comes in, I’ll be taking them on a brunch cruise so they, too, can indulge in two things Orange County does best: freshly prepared seafood and stunning coastline views.
I thank Hornblower Cruises for injecting the romance back into my stale familiarity with Orange County and making me don that new pair of eyes.
Disclosure: My Champagne Brunch Cruise was generously hosted by Hornblower Cruises. Views are 100% mine and reflect my actual experience. Each champagne brunch experience includes a 2-hour cruise, brunch buffet, free-flowing champagne/cider, complimentary coffee/soft drinks, scenic views, a private table, and live music.