Monday, October 1, 2012

StarShip Dining Adventure

It has been several years since the last time we volunteered for duty aboard the yacht StarShip, but as part of a birthday celebration for our daughter Michele, the Belle of Ballast Point booked passage. Our orders for this cruise were to eat, drink, and make merry - so we did!

Our StarShip adventure actually began in Ybor City where we had booked rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn figuring that after an evening of high jinx on the high seas the room would be less costly than a DUI. This really worked out quite well for us since the Hilton had completely and totally hosed up the reservations that we made a couple of months in advance.

We complained at the front desk and were told, "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" - and we were stuck with way less than agreed upon accommodations. Well alrighty then said we as we slid their green 100% satisfaction guarantee card back across the counter. Our rooms became gratis and life once again was good. Let's drink!

After a few adult beverages, our party headed out to the trolley stop at Centro Ybor.

I thought it somewhat ironic that in the heart of this trendy tourist district, on the opposite side of the street from the trolley stop, we were presented with this less than spectacular Kodak moment:

We purchased out tickets from the vending machines on the platform, and in due time our trolley appeared and we lumbered off to our final destination at Garrison Channel.

According to their web site:

"Yacht StarShip, America's First 3-diamond rated Dining Yacht by AAA , ranks in the top 28% of all restaurants.

Our exquisite dining cruises offer private seating, tableside service, spectacular views and dancing under the stars."

The StarShip Dining Troopers await the boarding call.
Once on board and seated, our drink orders were taken - "Grog for everyone Matey, says I." Actually, since we had started with beer in Ybor we felt it in our best interests to stay with beer so as to avoid the possibility of a sea cruise by rail (if you know what I mean).

We did get a briefing from the Captain, but thankfully no life boat drill, as we perused the bill of fare.

The menu, as seen here (click to enlarge), is representative of what you may be offered on your cruise adventure.

To me, the menu appeared rather limited. There was nothing here that really stood out, but I had to remind myself that food is just a part of the StarShip experience.

Speaking of which, the StarShip Dinner Cruise tickets include a 2.5-hour cruise, 3 course meal (choice of soup/salad, choice of entree, choice of dessert), and entertainment.

An $8 per person gratuity is added to your guest check on-board which represents 18% of the dining cruise ticket. Our individual ticket cost was $68.95. 

Beverages, and appetizers may be purchased on-board and an 18% gratuity will be assessed to your guest check for those purchases. 

The dinner dress code is resort to dressy casual attire.

For starters, both the Belle and I ordered salads - the uninspired Traditional Caesar with shaved Parmesan for me...

... and the much livelier House Salad for her with mixed greens, pumpkin seeds, blue cheese, and an apple vinaigrette dressing.

For her entrée my bride chose the Chicken Arugula which she described as very tasty, and is included in the ticket price.

The menu states that this chicken breast is stuffed with arugula, roasted sweet peppers, and Jack cheese, then topped with a creamy leek sauce and served on a bed of yellow rice with a side of green beans.

I had a hard time trying to locate the arugula, but it could be I just didn't look closely enough.

Anyway, she was happy with her choice and that was the most important thing.

The only entrée choice that shivered me timbers was the 8 ounce black Angus tenderloin filet served atop Yukon gold mashed potatoes with a side of broccolini.

The steak, with a demi glase sauce, was prepared to a perfect medium rare and was a very tender cut of meat - not the very best steak I have ever had, but not bad either.

With an additional charge of $11.95 though, it was a little on the pricey side.

Desserts are included in the ticket price and I had the lemon tart that went overboard on the pucker factor. My bride had the bread pudding which she said "wasn't bad."

After dinner we went up on the open air top deck to enjoy the city lights and the tunes being spun by the DJ.

We had a few more beers, danced a dance or two as the boat pulled in to port. We settled our check and headed back to the trolley and the trip to the hotel.

The StarShip doesn't make for a cheap date, and if you break the experience down into individual parts - food, beverages, cruise -  you could probably find reasons to complain about something.

On the other hand, looking at the whole of the adventure, it provided us with a most enjoyable evening.

Yacht StarShip on Urbanspoon 

Yacht StarShip on Foodio54


  1. "The weather started getting rough...the tiny ship was tossed...if not for the courage of the fearless crew..." I couldn't resist! Looks like a fairly pleasant "three hour tour" and the food looks better than most I've seen on dinner cruises. Miss you guys! Time for another convergence.

    1. Dearest Sweet Polly,

      Yes, it was a harrowing experience we had on the StarShip Minnow as we were tossed to and fro whilst the seas around us raged. Next time resist - I was almost over being sea sick.

      We have been missing you guys too, and you are correct - another convergence is over-due. Besides, it is our duty to share our gastronomic experiences with the world. We have been remiss.

      Say "Hi" to the mighty Underdog for us.