You could call it a booze cruise for grownups who long ago traded quantity for quality. At nearly $50 per adult — food included, adult beverages extra — sunset dinner cruises aboard the Coeur d'Alene Resort's well-appointed fleet showcase both the beauty of Lake Coeur d'Alene and the region's growing collection of wine and beer makers.
On May's inaugural cruise, Coeur d'Alene Cellars owner Kimber Gates and winemaker Dirk Brink were on hand to discuss their award-winning wines, including the appropriately named Opulence Syrah. Featuring an array of reds and whites — the Grenache is a lovely summer sipper — Coeur d'Alene Cellars returns this week. Future purveyors include Selkirk Abbey (June 19) and Wallace Brewing (June 26).
According to Kevin Mills, beverage manager for Lake Coeur d'Alene Cruises, wine and beer prices are preset for wine (Wednesday) and beer (Thursday) cruises. Wine flights are $10 for three 2-ounce samples, $6/glass or $15 for a flight and full glass. Beer flights range from $10 to $12 for three 5-ounce samples and a glass of your favorite brew. Drink tickets can be purchased onboard or ahead of time.
Diners are treated to an ample buffet of baked salmon, hand-carved round of beef and assorted side dishes. Dessert and nonalcoholic beverages are included.
The backdrop, of course, is beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene. The two-hour cruise is an interactive advertisement for why people flock to the area. Departing almost daily from Independence Point, boats cruise past the resort's Floating Green, out past Casco and Kidd Island bays, around Arrow Point, and back. Knowledgeable staff provide occasional commentary on the area's geography, which makes this gentle trip ideal for special events, or for your aunt from Wisconsin.
In addition to the sunset cruises, the resort also has a full boat of entertainment options, including Sunday brunch and a sightseeing trip to the St. Joe River. And if you're nostalgic for the good ol' Derailer days, check out the adults-only Pirate Cruise with complimentary rum punch. ♦
Coeur d'Alene Lake Sunset Dinner Cruises • Sun-Thu through Sept. 14 • $51.75, $47.75/ages 55+, $27.75/ages 6-12, free/ages 5 and under • cdacruises.com • (208) 765-4000