Guide to Booking a Toronto Cruise Boat
Looking to book a boat for your next function? Not sure how to compare ships and get exactly what you want? We’ve put together a guide of things to think about when looking for a Toronto Harbour ship for your special event.
Capacity. How many people are you expecting for your Toronto Harbour cruise? Every ship has a maximum number of passengers it is legally and safety-certified to take on. If you have 100 people for a wedding, you won’t want a ship that has a capacity of 100. While we are all different sizes and shapes, a good guideline is half the capacity of a ship may be seated comfortably. If it is just a party and you don’t want to sit down to eat all at once, just dance and have fun, then you certainly may go to capacity with no problems. Yankee Lady has a maximum capacity of 280. She can sit down 160 people over two decks.
Appearance. Ships come in different styles: yachts, tall ships (sail boats), paddle wheelers, and other oddly shaped configurations. What would you prefer for your event? Yankee Lady III and IV are three level yachts.
Cleanliness & Maintenance. How does the boat look when not cruising? How clean is the structure, the carpet, the windows, the bathrooms? When was the last time the ship was painted? If the owners don’t care how their ship/investment looks, and don’t keep up on the cleanliness and maintenance, do you think they will care about you? Make sure you come down and take a look at the ships. Ask for a tour of all spaces on the ship. Bathrooms are a big one. Do you want your guests to come on a boat with small smelly bathrooms? Yankee Lady takes pride in her ceramic tiled, odor free washrooms. We’d be happy to give you a tour of our ships anytime.
Staff. How many staff are on your cruise? How do they look? Is there a uniform? Can you tell the staff from the guests? Are they smart served? Safety trained? Yankee Lady’s crew all wear white nautical shirts with Yankee Lady epaulettes. Our staff is safety trained as per Transport Canada regulations. Our wait staff will provide bar service to your guests, no matter where they are on the ship. Your guests do not need to go to the bar themselves. There will be a captain, a first officer, Cruise Director, bartenders, wait staff and catering people.
How does Weather affect your cruise? Is the ship certified to cruise rain or shine? Consider whether you have enough indoor space during inclement weather to accommodate your guests on the inside of the vessel. On sunny days and gorgeous evenings, is there enough outdoor space to show off Toronto at her best? Do the windows open on hot days? Is there Air Conditioning or heating? Yankee Lady IV is equipped to provide air conditioning and heating for her indoor rooms as required.
Visibility. Toronto has beautiful scenery for your guests to view: island lagoons, cityscape, greenery, gorgeous sunsets. Can you see the views when you are sitting down for dinner? Are there large windows that you can see through rain or shine? Or do they have cloudy plastic curtains? Yankee Lady has large windows in her dining areas, and a large 360 degree observation deck on her third level.
Reputation & Certification. Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Talk to past clients in detail if you are unsure. Talk to your co-workers or friends and see if they have any experiences on any of the ships. Make sure the ship is properly certified by Transport Canada Marine Safety and has been passed for the latest damage stability rules. Yankee Lady would be happy to provide references and is up-to-date on all inspections. She is a member of the Toronto Passenger Vessel Association & Canadian Passenger Vessel Association and follows all local noise by-laws and liquor laws.
Catering & Beverage Service. Health Board approved? Staff have required Food Handling Certificates? Is their Liquor license up-to-date? Food cooked on board by a reputable chef? How clean is the galley (kitchen)? Does the boat have real dishes and cutlery or just disposable items? A few menus or many to choose from? Flexibility on whether you want a cocktail menu, a buffet or plated service? Will they customize a menu for you? How do they handle their bar? What options are there? Is there an opportunity for you to try the food? Yankee Lady’s menus are prepared by a certified and seasoned chef. We have large, well equipped galleys that produce the tastiest menus whether a simple BBQ, a cocktail-style service or a sit-down plate service menu. Tastings are available upon request.
Disc Jockeys. Does the ship just play house CD’s? Is the house DJ a summer student or a professional? Yankee Lady has a group of professional disc jockeys for your listening pleasure. We provide a music profile to each and every client to let us know what kind of music you and your guests wish to hear. We are happy to dedicate songs and sing Happy Birthday at your request. Sightseeing commentary is also available upon request.
Satellitte Radio is available on each ship. A live DJ, unless included in your cruise package, is an add-on.
Where the ship travels. What route does the ship take? One of the most beautiful spots in the Toronto area is the Island Lagoons: green parkland, wild swans and other fowl, yachts and beautiful skyline views. Can the ship you are renting go into these boating lanes or are they too big/have too deep a draught to enter this shallow area? Yankee Lady can easily traverse the island lagoons and sail safely around the Island.
Giving you what you want! Is the ship willing to customize the event to suit your requirements? Are they flexible with boarding time, menus, and itineraries? We at Yankee Lady take great pride in our ability to customize each and every event to suit the client. Let us help you with your special event!
Pricing. In general, ships charge a rental fee for the ship which will be 4 or 5 hours inclusive of boarding and disembarking time. On top of that they will charge you a per person rate for food, plus any beverage and extra entertainment charges. Some ships have package deals as well. Each ship has a rate card. Why do the fees vary from ship to ship? Many factors must be taken into account including the size of the ship, where it docks, how well it is maintained, the number of service staff, etc. The old saying, “you only get what you pay for” may easily apply here. If the price of a quote is much lower than other ships, ask yourself why? It is always wise to take a tour of each of the ships you are considering, to ensure that you are comparing apples with apples and not apples with oranges. You should book with an operator that makes you feel comfortable/special, fits your budget, and is worthy of your trust.
Boat cruises and dinner cruises for Corporate Events, Weddings and all types of Private Parties.