Sea Turtle Sunset Cruise - Apra Harbor Dinner Cruise is a Boat Load of Fun!
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
The Sea Turtle Sunset Cruise has got to be the best two hour vacation I've ever had and one you'll certainly not want to miss! I have to call it a "vacation" since you really do "vacate" the island and embark on a leisurely, fun-filled voyage on the breezy tranquil waters of Apra Harbor. You get a satisfying dinner catered by our friends at Jamaican Grill, bottomless pitchers of Budweiser, wine, soft drinks, and water, as well as live music and what seems like continuous entertainment that'll get you up off your feet and dancing on the deck!
One of the great thrills of this boat cruise is that breathtaking sunset, with everyone on board searching for the ephemeral "green flash". I don't know that anyone has ever photographed the flash, however, there's no shortage of cameras held by tourists who are snapping away at the incredible colors that flood the horizon as that golden orb makes its descent.
This review is timely since there is a summer special running from July 1 through September 30 that offers an extra incentive for families. In addition to their current reduced local rate of $45 for adults and $25 for children, ages 3-11, the summer special is for each paying adult, a child can go for free! This should really encourage families to come and enjoy a spectacular holiday evening on the ocean.
Once you've made reservations by call 646-8331/1710, you just show up before 5:30pm at the Sea Turtle Sunset Cruise berth in the Harbor of Refuge in Piti - there are signs giving you complete directions so you really can't miss getting to the boat. The boat is a very large catamaran floating effortlessly on the surface of the ocean providing a comfortable ride. For those worried about rough waters, the vast harbor is protected from the large unruly waves of the deep ocean outside the mouth of Apra Harbor. After your party walks the plank to boards the boat, you'll be given a plastic lei and asked to pose in front of the Sea Turtle Sunset Cruise banner for a souvenir photo, which is processed and presented during the trip for optional purchase.
All guests are assigned a table that already has chafing dishes and cellophane-wrapped salads awaiting. Once seated, you serve yourself the Jamaican Grill-made Salad and Jerk Chicken Kelaguen. One of the servers will put Red Rice, BBQ Jerk Chicken, and Steak on your plate, as well as a Seafood Kebab. The food is served and guests are eating before the boat disembarks. Pitchers of beer are on each table and guests can avail themselves of free beer, water, sodas, and no-host well and call drinks. For $6 you can order a tropical drink like a Haggan Tasi, Ocean Spray, Blue Lagoon or Melon Daiquiri. Non-alcoholic versions of these specialty drinks are available for $5 each.
While dining, guests are entertained by a live musical performance from either David Evans or John Moore. Tonight Dave was playing. He's highly entertaining as well as an accomplished musician, with several cd's recorded. After the main meal was served (by the way, I should say that Jamaican Grill is a perfect caterer for this sea cruise, since the food is consistently good and holds up well from the time it was initially prepared), a local dessert favorite, latiya, is put before guests in small bowls. This is a really flavorful version of this smooth, refreshing light creamy dish.
After dessert, servers came around with a tray full of Sauza Tequila shots in little glass cylinders. Some members of our party requested the traditional accompaniment of salt and lemon slices, and after getting them rendered up a hearty toast of "bottoms up"!
The boat just cruises throughout the harbor, capturing the bright afternoon sun on both sides of the catamaran, so that passengers on both sides get an equal share of sun. While cruising, some of the crew members who are expert in making balloon art go from booth to booth making hats, umbrellas and all sort of twisted creations to entertain and amuse the guests.
The sunset time is one of the highlights, since everyone is encouraged to look for that elusive "green flash". This is a special time with myriad hues of orange, yellow, rose, and magenta create an evolving panorama of colors on the deepening blue sky's palette. The ocean's colors deepen, too, and this becomes a romantic, photo opportunity as the sun slowly descends. It's a magical moment that should provide a cherished memory of a lovely evening.
Now that the sun has retired, it's time to party! Guests are beckoned up to dance to Dave's reggae music. Songs such as "One Love" and "Island Style" are performed and people are just as happy as can be to clap their hands and move their bodies to the rhythmic cadence.
Other events that happen are birthday recognitions with everyone singing along, contests for dancing, and even a kissing contest for newlyweds. The tourists are ecstatic throughout...it's wonderful to see this, too, as a local resident, since it allows you to view a Guam vacation with the same positive feelings our visitors have. One person who really keeps the whole party moving is the energetic and talented emcee, Alex, who hails from Saipan and speaks five languages. He is able to really work the audience to a near-fever pitch of excitement, and goes back and forth effortlessly between English and Japanese. In addition to being the emcee, Alex is also the Captain of the boat!
A final event is the Polynesian dance, and these comely dancers find willing volunteers amongst the guests (usually a couple of guys) to put on skirts and flowered bikini tops and to dance with them. This adds an uproarious hilarity to this non-stop floating party - the guys are really good sports and seem to have as much fun as everyone laughing at them! The last song performed is "YMCA", which seems now to be the international anthem of group dance, with everyone making letters as they belt out the words. It's pure fun! The line dance includes parents with their kids and adults of all ages, with everyone smiling broadly and just having the time of their lives.
The Sea Turtle Sunset Cruise is just one of several optional tours offered by Kloppenburg Enterprises, who have long been involved in Guam's tourism industry. This was one dinner cruise I will always remember and will certainly make plans to return again with friends and family. It's a boatload of fun!
Bon Voyage and Bon Appetit!