brunch chicago

Cruising Around Navy Pier: The Odyssey II

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 Catie Coscino

One of my favorite things about our lovely city of Chicago is that there is never, ever a shortage of sights to see.  What I am guilty of, however, is avoiding the "tourist traps."  You know what I'm talking about- taking pictures on the Skydeck in the Willis Tower, eating at the Rock 'N Roll McDonald's, and hopping on the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier.  That being said, my most recent experience at Navy Pier has shown me that some of the old favorites have more to offer than I gave them credit for.  When I got the opportunity to partake in a Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard the Odyssey II, Chicago's premier cruising vessel, I knew I was in for a treat.

The Odyssey II

Odyssey II has an elegant atmosphere, and is the perfect opportunity to dress up a bit more than usual.  I opted to pull out my high heels for the occasion, and was not necessarily looking to walk a mile in them.  My boyfriend and I made our way down to Navy Pier and parked in the garage due to proximity and convenience.  There is, however, plenty of parking in the surrounding areas if you are willing to make the trip.  Once arriving at the boat, a photographer awaited to take a souvenir photo that we could choose to purchase towards the end of the cruise.  When boarding, we were greeted warmly by the crew and seated right next to a window.  Our indoor deck featured tables around the perimeter, with a DJ booth, dance floor, large buffet tables and a full bar in the center.

View from the bar aboard the Odyssey II

Soon, we were approached by our server, Kaitlyn, who was extremely friendly and gave us a quick overview of the boat, also letting us know that we could help ourselves to the gorgeous breakfast buffet.  Offerings ranging from a smoked salmon platter, to freshly baked pastries, to chicken and waffles ensured that all tastes were accommodated.  Desserts such as tiramisu, fresh fruit and chocolate fondue were also available right from the start; a detail that I personally appreciated, as I hate when I fill up before getting to enjoy the sweet stuff!

Everyone was given a complimentary mimosa as Peter, the entertainment director, commenced the nautical tradition of a "bon voyage" toast. As we departed, we were treated to stunning views of the Pier, museum campus and  Buckingham Fountain.  From the rooftop lounge, we enjoyed signature cocktails and the Chicago skyline.

View from the rooftop lounge aboard Odyssey II

The crew was extremely friendly and offered the utmost level of service, down to the smallest details. Our server followed us up to the rooftop lounge and offered to take our photo.  The magician onboard gave each table a private performance.  Peter made sure to make everyone celebrating on board feel special, calling out each birthday and anniversary for a round of applause.  Towards the end of the cruise, they even raffled off souvenir glasses and chances to win a free cruise for two.  Our experience was fun, elegant, and made for such a special Sunday afternoon.  I will absolutely be back to experience Odyssey II's other offerings such as dinner, firework shows, and skyline lunch cruises.

The Odyssey II, a current Navy Pier resident, underwent a multimillion dollar renovation in the winter of 2013.  The boat is truly stunning, offering 3 indoor decks and a modern rooftop lounge.  It is two-hundred feet long and able to accommodate 890 passengers and crew members.  The Odyssey II is an Entertainment Cruise boat, alongside others that offer alternative entertainment options.  Mystic Blue features a more casual, hip atmosphere.  Spirit of Chicago is a festive way to experience the city at an affordable price point, and Elite Private Yachts are totally customizable for private events.

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