Bloody Mary’s are my spirit animal. Not even joking. If you asked my close friends, they’d tell you how I went through a phase in college where I would order the cocktail outside of reasonable brunch hours – shameful, I know. So, when Spirit Cruises invited us to attend their Eat, Drink & B. Mary Brunch Cruise, I jumped at the opportunity!
To be honest, I had never been on a cruise of any kind before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. We arrived at Chelsea Piers on a gorgeous Sunday morning, around 11:40am. Boarding time was listed as 11:30am, with the ship set to depart at 12:00pm, so we were seated with plenty of time to spare.
Perhaps too much time to spare? Once we were seated by the incredibly friendly staff, we learned that we would have to wait until after we set sail before we could dig into the buffet. This translated to my boyfriend, Fields, and I sitting at our table for 30-40 minutes, with our stomachs starting to grumble. It would have been better if there had been an appetizer table, or some kind of hors d’oeuvres being passed around, to appease our appetites while we waited for the buffet to open.
While we waited, we took in the ambiance. It was basically what I expected a cruise ship dining room to look like. I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing. The room was a mix of silver metal and sparkles, with a lit-up dance floor, and had an 80’s or an art deco vibe to it.
We had a MC for our journey. It was kind of cool having her point out landmarks as we passed them and share facts about New York, similar to a tour guide. As we listened, we turned our attention to the star of the cruise: the Bloody Mary. The ship had a Build-Your-Own concept going on, something I am a huge fan of. You could completely customize your cocktail, from the kind of vodka you wanted to whether you wanted your mix mild or spicy. I especially loved that they offered outlandish garnishes, such as cajun shrimp and bacon, in addition to your traditional toppings.
We both started out with a spicy version of my favorite brunch cocktail; I opted to add bacon and a bleu cheese-stuffed olive, while Fields went with the pepperoni-cheese skewer and bacon. The Bloodys looked amazing and tasted just as good as they looked. They had tons of flavor, with a hint of Tabasco, as well as a tinge of smokiness. Later on in the meal, we switched to the mild version, but this time, we went big with the garnish – cajun shrimp. The shrimp were HUGE and full of flavor!
After we finished round one of our Bloodys, it was finally time to head to the buffet. I’m not wild about brunch buffets, so I had pretty low expectations going in. I was pleasantly surprised. They had your typical breakfast buffet items: bagels, breakfast pastries, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and eggs. But they also had entree items, such as chicken parmesan meatballs, baked ziti with a spinach sauce, and roast salmon & tilapia with a garlic parsley crust.
I really enjoyed the eggs – they were perfectly cooked and topped with cheddar cheese. However, I ate them towards the end of my meal so they were somewhat lukewarm. This is what I was referring to when I mentioned I’m not fond of buffets – you have to practically scarf down your food in order for all of it to be the proper temperature.
I also really liked the baked ziti with spinach sauce. The sauce was reminiscent of a pesto, and it wasn’t a super filling pasta dish. Fields was impressed by the hash browns, the chicken parm meatballs and the eggs.
After we finished our meal, we walked out to the bow of the ship to take in the views. Since this particular cruise was during Fleet Week, our ship actually went north on the Hudson River first – something it rarely does during brunch and lunch cruises – so we could see all of the ships docked for the occasion. Then we headed south towards the Statue of Liberty. Being new to New York, I hadn’t had a chance to see Lady Liberty up close yet. Let me tell you – the view was truly unforgettable. The ship then sailed towards the southern tip of Manhattan, which allowed for magnificent views of Governor’s Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, Freedom Tower, and the Financial District.
Just when we thought the cruise was about to come to an end, we were surprised to learn there was a dessert station made up of miniature brownies, lemon squares, and cakes. I didn’t like that the desserts themselves weren’t labeled. It made it hard to tell exactly what was what. Our favorites were the lemon square and the brownie, by a landslide.
The Bitches Say: B. The food itself may not be anything to write home about, but the Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary’s certainly are. The views are to die for, and the cruise is overall a really fun experience!
Spirit of New York’s “Eat, Drink & B. Mary” Brunch Cruise
Pier 61, Chelsea Piers
New York, NY
Spirit of New York offers the Eat, Drink & B. Mary Brunch Cruise on Sundays.