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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Dining on the Yacht StarShipII, Channelside Dock in Tampa, Florida

My husband and I returned home yesterday day from a wonderful two and a half week vacation to our vacation home in sunny Florida.  I'm sure some of my regular readers realized I was blogging from there.  We had a wonderful, delicious break from home flying out first to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to spend a couple of days then onto to Florida where we spent the remainder of the trip.  We had a lot of fun and ate a lot of great food.  The day of our departure, I tripped at the airport suffering a rather nasty looking shiner.  I'm not impressed especially since my husband said my fancy rocker sole trainers have to go since this is the third time they have tried to kill me.  Anyway, today I wanted to share a very special dinner my husband and I enjoyed during our vacation.

Yacht StarShipII at Channelside Dock in Tampa, Florida
My husband and I do a lot of boating home side since we own a boat.  The last two visits to our vacation home we have made it a point to include boating of some type into our side trips.  The beauty of boating is you get to see a lot of things you would not see by land.

My husband bought tickets for a dinner cruise aboard the Yacht StarShipII docked at the Channelside Dock at 603 Channelside Drive in Tampa Bay.  Isn't she a gorgeous vessel?  Tickets included a three course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Bob Barfield with an optional fourth course.  The YachtStarShipII is America's first three diamond rated dining yacht.  The two and a half hour dinner cruise also featured dancing on the second level, ane amazing view on the promenade.  The total retail value for two was $181.90 but going through Groupon he got the tickets for $80, gratuity not included ($8 per person).  Alcoholic drinks were not included as well.  We spent a total of $150.82 but it was well worth it!

dance floor above the Yacht StarShipII
Looking back on the pictures I took, I realized I did not take a picture of the dining room, on the main level below the entertainment room (pictured).  You are assigned a table in the dining room that is tastefully decorated.  It had a warm and cosy feeling with a navy blue and white theme to accent the beautiful cherry wood. 

The entertainment room carries through the them of blue and white accenting the cherry wood.  There is ample windows to enjoy the beautiful view while relaxing after dinner.  The door on the end leads to the promenade where you can take drinks or simply enjoy gliding over the water in open air during warmer weather.  We went up to take a few pictures but didn't stay long as the air had turned cool

Tampa Bay as seen from the Yacht StrShipII
The dinner cruise is designed so that not everyone eats at the same time.  The wait staff take your order then bring out the courses when you want time leaving you free to enjoy the sights and dine at your leisure.  They recommend the first hour and a half for dining leaving the last hour for relaxing and dancing. 

The spacious windows and promenade offer many photo opportunities.  Pictured is the city of Tampa as seen from the cruise ship with the setting sun on the buildings.  Gliding along the water taking many, many pictures was just a wonderful way to dine!

dinner rolls
I really apologize as I got so captivated in being on the yacht and enjoying the water I did not take as many pictures of the food as I should have.  We ordered citrus peppered calamari served with two dipping sauces as an appetizer (not pictured).  The calamari was flash fried.  The sauces consisted of a very lightly seasoned puréed tomato sauce along with a tomato based tartar sauce.  Also not pictured are the dinner salads served before the entrées.

The dinner rolls were not rolls at all but rather squares of delicious flat breads.  There was a white, whole wheat, multi grain and sourdough each topped with a suitable topping.  The rolls were served hot with a side of butter.  This would be very easy to duplicate at home by rolling out the prepared bread dough then cutting into squares before baking.

angus filet on the Yacht StarShip11
The menu selection on the Yacht StarShipII is limited.  There were four available entrées - chicken benville, fresh catch of the day, pumpkin ravoli and premium reserve pork chop.  I'm sure this varies by season.  My husband ordered the angus filet ($11.95 additional charge) medium rare with the au jour on the side.  The entée consisted of 8 oz of black angus filet of beef with porcini marsala sauce served with bleu cheese yokon gold mash and roasted broccolini.

I liked the presentation!  It was clean, sleek with nice eye appeal.  My husband said it was quite delicious, well worth the extra price. 

Atlantic wild salmon dinner on the Yacht StarShipII
I ordered the fresh catch of the day which consisted of Atlantic wild salmon topped with a delectable creamy sauce.  The generous portion of salmon rested on a bed of seasoned rice and side of steamed green beans.  I did not catch the name of the sauce used but it was slightly citrus flavoured. 

The piece of salmon was absolutely delicious but far more than I could eat.  Salmon is a dense and filling fish as it is but this was quite a large serving.  After dinner we retired to the entertainment room where we enjoyed cocktails and dancing before the yacht returned to port.  Waiting for us on our table were two slices of pumpkin cheesecake in take-out containers as we had opted for no dessert with our meal.  It was rather good with coffee the next morning for breakfast!

sunset aboard the Yacht StarShipII
I will leave you with one of the sunset pictures we took during the dinner cruise.  We have very fond memories and a lot of photos of our dinner cruise.  It is something I would highly recommend to anyone.  The experience was quite delightful!

Yes, it was a bit more expensive and had we paid full price it would have been about $260 for the evening but it still would have been worth it.  My husband and I don't gift each other at Christmas.  Instead we pamper ourselves  through-out the year.  You only go through life once and while most of us would not dream of paying that price for dinner on a regular basis, a one time splurge makes it worthwhile be frugal 99% of the time.  This dinner cruise was definitely well worth it!  Just look at that beautiful sunset...

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