June 25th, 2010 3:30 pm ET
The emphasis is on fine dining while cruising StarLite.
Although there are many restaurants and other venues in the Daytona Beach area that host events, there has been a recent detectable trend towards celebrating and gathering on the StarLite Princess, Volusia county’s premier dining cruise boat. When the name StarLite Cruise is mentioned, the inevitable response by those in the know is along the lines of: “The food is incredible!”
A recent interview with Phil Henderson, StarLite President/CEO, shed some light on this tasty and enjoyable dining experience. A pictorial slideshow follows.
How is a StarLite Dining Cruise different from most other dinner cruises?
When compared to most others, a StarLite cruise is unique in many ways. We pioneered the concept of fine dining while cruising on smooth and scenic inland waters. One feature that guests are continually amazed by is our ability to offer each guest an individual choice of up to ten different entrées. All food is professionally prepared fresh to order right on board and served to your table without the need to place orders ahead of the cruise. Our plush, comfortable dining areas are surrounded with large picture windows and guests are seated at their own individual reserved table.
Where does the StarLite Dining Cruise in Daytona Beach sail from and how much does it cost?
The StarLite vessel that serves the Daytona area is the StarLite Princess Authentic Paddlewheeler. She departs from behind Caribbean Jack’s at 721 Ballough Road. We are currently running a special of 25% off our retail rates for Florida residents. Lunch Cruises start at $22.50 and Dinner Cruises are $29.99. (Note: These discounts are as of summer 2010 – it’s always best to check before you go.)
What type of experience do you hope passengers on the StarLite Princess will take home with them?
Sometimes, the best evenings out aren’t where you expect to find them. StarLite offers great dining with live entertainment and dancing all in a genuine cruise experience: gorgeous vistas, soft breezes, changing waterfront views and brilliant stars in the evening sky.
What is the history of the StarLite Princess Authentic Paddlewheeler?
The StarLite Princess was designed and custom built to offer fine dining cruises. She was launched on November 22, 1986, at Patti Shipyard in Pensacola, Florida and began cruising on the West Coast of Florida. The Princess is one of the few authentic paddlewheelers in the country. In June of 2009, we moved the Princess to its current location in Daytona Beach.
In what body of water does the StarLite Princess cruise and what sights will be visible for passengers to enjoy?
All of our cruises are on the Halifax River. Because we stay on the protected waterways between the beach islands and the mainland, our cruises are always very smooth. Afternoon cruises feature a live narration by the captain. His commentary includes historical facts as well as present-day sights of interest.
What types of occasions are celebrated on StarLite Dining Cruises?
StarLite provides a unique, beautiful location that has all the elements needed to create the ideal event. We host everything from couples celebrating anniversary parties, small birthday gatherings, family reunions, company parties and weddings. In addition to reserving the vessel for an exclusive private charter, we also host events on public cruises and offer private decks and dining areas for some larger parties.
What are your personal favorites from the Dining Cruise menu?
My absolute favorite entrée also happens to be our signature entrée – the StarLite Filet Mignon. We have always offered this classic steak, hand trimmed and grilled to order on board, then complemented with sauce Béarnaise.
What happens if a Cruise on StarLite is booked and the weather turns rainy or otherwise unpleasant?
Rain does not affect our cruises. All of the dining areas on the Princess are enclosed and climatically controlled. The cruise is on the calm, intracoastal waters of the Halifax River, so we are protected from any rough surf that may occur in the Atlantic.
Has the StarLite Dining Cruise in St. Pete/Clearwater on the Gulf coast been affected by the tragic oil spill?
Unfortunately, the media tends to take things out of proportion on stories like these. The Central Gulf Beaches are open, clean and are as beautiful as ever. We have received some calls from individuals concerned about their future travel plans, but are hopeful that we will be minimally impacted.
For more information about Daytona or Clearwater/St. Petersburg cruises or to book your experience, please visit StarLite Dining Cruises online.
Slideshow: StarLite Dining Cruises make for great events