Recently, I was looking for a local activity for my husband and I to do that would allow us to unwind, reconnect and get a much needed break from our two babies.
After a quick search, I found GetYourGuide, a great resource to find adventures, tours and activities happening both close to home and in cities you plan to vacation in. I was surprised and excited to find GetYourGuide had a Basket Lunch Gondola Cruise in Irving, Texas (just a short drive from my home).
I love finding new adventures that I can experience close to home, since my kids are still too young to leave with anyone for long periods of time.
I quickly booked our escape online, confirmed some details by phone with the Gondola Adventures company in Irving, TX, and scheduled our cruise for a few weeks in advance.
This was my first time in the cute little town of Irving, TX. I was told that when we found the red awnings of the Italian Cafe, we turn right and head toward the water. It worked!
We were greeted promptly by our Gondolier, Tyson. The docks were located, down by The Shores at Las Colinas, I found out they will often pick up guests from the Omni Hotel as well.
We were given some safety instructions (no, pushing your husband/wife into the cold water is not funny, or nice, or safe), and carefully boarded the boat. Our Gondolier, Tyson poured us some sparkling cider and welcomed us officially to the cruise in beautiful Italian verse.
We shoved off, ready to cruise the beautiful calm waters of Lake Carolyn (which I never even knew existed just outside of Dallas). It was a cold and crisp day, but so calm and serene. A scarf and warm coat never hurt anybody, right? Plus, all the better for an excuse to cozy up to your loved one.
Cruising along, at the expense of our gondolier, who paddled the boat himself for the entire duration of our hour long cruise, we saw some pretty little sights along the way.
The gondolier asked if we'd like to hear a song or two, and while we're not used to being serenaded, decided to give him a chance to wow us. Wow us, he did. Tyson, our gondolier, had an incredible singing voice. The quality and depth of a broadway singer, not kidding.
He began with a traditional Neapolitan song, "Santa Lucia" sung in Italian about a boatman and the water as he paddled us through some smaller canals and under a few bridges.
We dove into our basket lunch, Boars Head sandwiches - a Turkey and Swiss for me, and a roast beef and provolone for my date.
The sandwiches were really nice and fresh, buns were soft and Boars Head is always a quality choice of sandwich meat. A few little chocolates truffles were added - bonus! As we finished up our sandwiches and sparkling cider, we had gone almost in a full circle around Lake Carolyn and hit the open water on the way back to our dock.
Our gondolier, asked if we'd like another song, and since we enjoyed his amazing voice for "Santa Lucia" we couldn't say no to the chance at being his audience again.
This time, he chose a piece from Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful." Again the confidence of this voice was astounding, and all the while paddling a boat with our heavy lugs in it!
The beautiful melody being carried in the crisp air, while holding onto my hubby for warmth - made me feel kind of giddy, like just before we got engaged. The gondola cruise definitely re-kindles the romance.....or if you're a new couple maybe just kick-starts it into motion.
As we aimed to return to the dock, we were graced with a final song. Can you guess what it was? Well, what romantic boat cruise would be complete without "O Sole Mio?" Answer: None!
The gondola cruise was very romantic - and I'm not really into cheesy romantic stuff most of the time. I was presently surprised, feeling bummed out that our little romantic adventure was coming to a close. We completed our mission of getting to unwind, re-connect and have a delicious break from the kiddos.
I can honestly say that I can't wait for our next anniversary or big event to celebrate, because I can't wait to take our next gondola adventure!
Room For Improvement
- The sandwiches didn't come with mustard or mayo. I'm a mustard fiend and would loved to have the option.
- The website says lunch comes with bottled water, bag of chips & bakery cookie - of which we had none.
- I had to choose lunch choices and confirm details via phone - would have preferred to do all this business when booking online (since phone conversations aren't easy to accomplish w/ a crying baby and toddler on the hip).
- Would have loved to enjoy a bottle of wine or champagne with our lunch - but apparently is only an option when launching from the Omni hotel dock (which wasn't an option for us).
Things I Loved
- Our gondolier was incredibly professional, likeable and the perfect mix of quiet (when hubby & I were enjoying a moment) & informative (only when asked about something).
- The chocolates were a nice touch.
- The local office was very detailed about directions and instructions to find the launching site.
- The gondolier's voice was amazing and so enjoyable to listen to.
- I got to take THIS picture but not do the heavy lifting!
When was the last time you had a romantic adventure with your loved one? Share your experience with me in a comment below!
*Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary voucher to use to book this activity by the company to evaluate their services. I am not under any obligation to write a positive review, however, and all opinions are 100% my own.