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“Island princess boat- A very bad experience”

Toronto Harbour Cruises
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Island princess boat- A very bad experience”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2013

So we went there to celebrate my friend's bday in a group of 19 ppl..i must say it was an awful experience beginning from the time we were boarding until we left the boat! Firstly we had reserved for 20ppl buh only 19 showed up so we got charged for extra person. Then the unfair ticket price which is $52 for a crappy horrible tasting meal and a very small boat with no place for dancing.The crew including the captain was very very rude to us. They let us cut the cake on the boat only after a lot of arguments..and didnt let us request our fav music. On top of that the captain said he wud not give the $100 reservation deposit back jus cuz a cpl of guests in our group were a lil late n we had to fight to get that money back.Very disappointed. Would never go again. Please save your time and money. Do not go here!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank moodyqueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
1 review
“Dinner & Boat Blah, Views Nice”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 21, 2013

Quick, basic breakdown:

The dinner portion of this cruise was the worst part. It's like attending a poorly catered wedding in a cheap motel. I recommend getting in the door first, and making sure you secure seats on the upper deck, where there is an open canopy. This will spare you being trapped in the stale, sepia-toned confines of the dining room on the main deck. The decor and furnishings are far more dingy and stale than the photos on the website would have you believe.

The seating is all crammed together, and if you are a couple, you will not get a table to yourself. So, if this is an issue for you, I recommend booking a different cruise.The food is not terrible, but it is not prepared on the ship, and is served out of giant warming trays and bowls. Again, think of a low-cost wedding and you get the idea. As far as the staff goes, I found them to be friendly and helpful.

The real value of this excursion comes after the dinner, when you can leave the confines of the tight tables and lawn chairs. We spent the rest of the evening walking around the upper and lower outdoor decks, enjoying the beautiful evening and views of the islands (and later, as it got dark, the city skyline). The bar is open all night, so you can enjoy beers and cocktails as you unwind. The upper deck has a massive P.A. system that is pumping dance music all night. So again, something to take into consideration if you are looking for a strictly leisurely trip. However, once the sun goes down and the deck lights up, some folks choose to cut a rug.

My only other complaint would be that for us, the cruise seemed a little long. We weren't there for a crazy party, so after it had been dark for awhile we were ready to call it a night. It was a tuesday night, though, so perhaps on a weekend, a longer ride into the evening would be fine.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Penny B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Not high end, but not horrible either”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 21, 2013

After purchasing dinner cruise tickets on Groupon for my boyfriend's birthday, I stumbled on these reviews and immediately felt extremely nervous and upset. Since returning the tickets or changing the date of our cruise were not options, I decided that rather than eat the almost $100, we'd go on the cruise and hope for the best. I'm glad we did, and if you're in a similar position, I urge you to not get caught up in the awful, negative reviews on this site.

Facts:

-The advertising of this cruise on its website vs. the actual reality of the cruise is laughable. Totally false advertising. I am surprised Groupon even deals with a company that blatantly exaggerates to the point of lying on its website.
-The photo you see on the site makes the cruise appear like a luxury dining room on a pristine boat. That is not the case. The photos on this site show what the boat looks like.
-Arriving early is a great idea. You want to sit on the upper level of the boat (much brighter, close to the bar, with nicer views.)

Pros:

-Not that you can control it, but the weather on our cruise was absolutely perfect. After dinner, we spent the entire evening outside taking in the views.
-The food serving system was organized. A lot of previous reviewers said they didn't know when to get food, etc. Not the case with us. We got a coloured card and when our colour was called, we went to get food. Easy.
-The food itself was fine. It's not high end, but not horrible either. It reminded me of a basic, hall wedding type of meal. The desserts were just as described by other reviewers - store bought, but still fresh and definitely satisfied my craving for something sweet after dinner! Coffee was great too.
-The DJ was good! Not amazing, but fun. We didn't dance, but if I had been there with girlfriends we would have had a blast, I'm sure.
-Staff were friendly.

Cons:

-The operational side of this cruise is begging for improvements. The day I bought my tickets (and then found the reviews and wanted information about returning the tickets), I tried to call the company to speak with someone. After leaving a voicemail and calling at least once every half hour for a full day, I never heard back from anyone (and no one ever answered the phone). What kind of company runs like that?
-The staff were friendly, but not even close to polished or professional. Even the captain looked like he just rolled out of bed to come to work. The boat itself needs a renovation. Carpet, stained wallpaper, etc.
-I really, really dislike the group seating. On the website, the seating is shown in a photograph like restaurant seating ... tables for two, four, etc. On the actual cruise, there are tables for eight and that's it, and it's close quarters. This is NOT a romantic dinner for two type of situation. It's cafeteria style.
-The length of the cruise. Our cruise ran from 6-9, as scheduled, but I felt like it could have ended around 8:15.

My advice for anyone going on this cruise is this:

-Don't pay the full price for the ticket. This is not an $89 per person experience.
-Don't book it for a special event if you want something impressive and fancy.
-Go with an open mind, take in the sights, and have fun. If you walk into this experience with a a negative attitude, you will only see the negative parts of it.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank JM12342013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“AWFUL, awful, experience”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2013

My friends and I made our reservation MONTHS ago for a fun 80s girls night out on the Aurora Borealis. We arrived early so we could get a good seat because, as the company's web site says, you cannot reserve particular seats on the boat. We got seats on the upper part of the boat, where the bar and the speakers were located.

Five minutes before the boat was scheduled to leave, a staff person named "Jamie" came over to our table and two other tables and kicked us out of our seats in order to accommodate "a group of 20 who had reservations". Of course, WE also had reservations. Note also that the entire bottom floor of the boat was empty -- why couldn't the group of 20 been seated there?

This left five of us - us and another couple -- left to sit on the main floor by ourselves.

When we complained to Jaimie and asked him to accommodate us in the open-air section his response was variously "I don't need this", "I'm not giving you your money back", "Call the office Monday if you want to complain", and ultimately "I have to ask you to leave the boat". Yes, that's right, everyone -- we got kicked off!!!!

STAY AWAY! I had to give this a ranking of "1" for terrible, but I would have given it minus five if I could have.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
14 Thank TorontoKJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Fine For Groupon Deal (Lunch + 2 Hr Cruise, $25)”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2013

Honestly, after reading all the absolutely horrifying reviews in here, I was worried about even wasting my time going on this lunch cruise. But, I decided to give it a chance today anyway (nice day, going with a couple good friends)--and I'm glad I did.

No, the boat is certainly NOT the most luxurious, and there is not one extra frill to be found--but for $25? I was fine with it. I was content with what I got for that price. I'm not sure what the other people on here who paid the Groupon price are smoking, but what on Earth did you expect for $25? The Titanic?! You got a decent experience for what you paid.

We ate in the open-top upper-level dining room, which was pleasant (since it was a lovely day outside). The "school cafeteria style" tables forcing you to dine with strangers wasn't ideal, but wasn't horrible either. I urge future patrons arrive early in order to nab a table in the upper-level, as the enclosed lower-level dining room seemed rather...dark and unwelcoming. *Suggestion to event organizers: add larger windows into the lower level dining room to brighten it up a bit?

Food was suitable, warm, seemed fresh and served promptly. Deserts and coffee were tasty for the most part (the cookie selections were a bit lack-luster, but the brownies were good--and they even served fresh, delicious macarons! This was a surprise and a lovely treat!) Amount of food was plentiful and they weren't stingy with extra helpings (on Jubilee, they actually RAN OUT of appetizers and you could only choose 2 out the 3 deserts, etc. etc.). So no complaints here. [*Suggestion to event organizers: announce on the speakers when dinner and desert is served--most people didn't even know that either was being served until they saw other people walk by with food in their plates (including us)...)]

The staff was decent and helpful for the most part. No, they weren't smiling-ear-to-ear like some happy-go-lucky robots, but they were there when needed and seemed cordial enough. The only thing that was a bit annoying is that they were dressed so casually, they were often mistaken as lunch patrons (kind of hard to track down an employee when they just blend in with everyone else). [*Suggestion to event organizers: perhaps some staff T-shirts are called for? ]

The cruise itself was smooth. You could wander at will around the boat--best views (and most space) is on the lower deck. Nice views of the water and scenery and some nice photo ops. [*Suggestion for the event organizers: maybe some commentary on the speakers from the captain when you pass areas of interest? Also, some background music would be nice (even if it's just the radio!).]

All in all, I was satisfied with my experience for the price that I paid--I felt it was a good value. And I've been on Mariposa's and Jubilee's lunch and dinner cruises as well, so you can't say I don't know any better. ;)

Thanks, Toronto Harbor Cruises/Aurora Borealis!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Ella B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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