The cruise experience — made up of gourmet meals, formalwear and coveted time with family and friends — is usually one that comes with a hefty price tag attached to its time overseas to faraway destinations.
However, you don’t necessarily have to pack an overnight bag to go on a cruise, nor do you need to take a flight to a cruise terminal. Instead, you can just drive to Perth Amboy.
Cornucopia Cruise Line operates four vessels that travel through Raritan Bay and down the Staten Island coastline toward the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, where its 35,000 annual guests have enjoyed a four-hour dinner cruise or 2 1/2-hour Sunday brunch cruise since 1998.
The Cornucopia Princess, the line’s starship, has three dining rooms, two dance floors with a live band or a DJ and a 15,000-square-foot observation deck for the 400 guests that can be accommodated onboard.
The line also owns the Cornucopia Destiny and Majesty, the latter of which is one of the largest dinner cruise ships in the New York Harbor area and can accommodate about 1,000 people.
Plus, they operate the Casino St. Charles, a dockside venue, and coming soon is the Star of America, a ship that sank during superstorm Sandy and is being refurbished. It should be open for business in about a year-and-a-half.
So what is it that makes people flock to ships that can hold hundreds for a few hours? Cornucopia Cruise Line commonly hosts events such as weddings, corporate gatherings, bar or bat mitzvahs, retirements, showers, graduation parties, birthdays or, as Mehmet Kilic, sales and operations manager, said, when people are just “looking for something different to do.”
However, the cruise line wasn’t always able to host so many. But today, after almost 20 years of growth, they employ over 100 people and constantly work to expand and renovate.
“We are currently focusing on improving our operations and we are always looking renovate the interiors of our vessels,” said Kilic.
Kilic said that because Cornucopia is a young company, they work hard to build long-term relationships with their guests so that they choose to come to them over and over again for various special events.
For very special events, cruises out of Hoboken are also offered for private charter, where guests can see the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn, Williamsburg and the Manhattan Bridge as they sail through New York Harbor.
The highlight of any cruise or special event is the food and alcohol selection. At the Sunday brunch buffet, which has a casual dress code, Cornucopia Cruise Line provides items such as omelets, pastries, fresh fish and a carving station, as well as a complimentary glass of champagne or a mimosa.
At the dinner cruise, which has a business casual dress code, dishes such as Atlantic salmon, Angus boneless short ribs or French-cut chicken are offered. A cash bar is also provided that is stocked with premium liquors, a wine list and domestic and imported beers.
Entrée orders are taken after guests board the ship and cruise line staff then cooks meals onboard. Anywhere from two to 10 people may be seated at a pre-assigned table, depending on the number of people on a ship during a given cruise.
Cornucopia Cruise Line sails year-round, rain or shine, but guests are recommended to make their reservations as early as possible or at least two weeks in advance.
CORNUCOPIA CRUISE LINE
Where: 401 Riverview Drive, Perth Amboy
Travels through: Raritan Bay and down the Staten Island coastline toward the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
Cost: From $29.95 to $74.95
Children: Under age 2 are free and a 25 percent discount is offered for children under 10
Contact: 732-697-9500 or cornucopiacruise.com