Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

Spirit of Melbourne Cruising Restaurant

Home > Melbourne > Boating | Dinner | Food and Wine | Restaurants | Romantic
by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published March 20th 2023
Sail through a delectable dining experience
Looking for a special gift for a friend or family member, an experience for an international or interstate guest, or a special occasion meal? Here's the answer - a dinner cruise aboard the Spirit of Melbourne. Departing from Southbank Promenade, an easy walk from Flinders Street Station, the dinner cruises offer a full table service four-course quality meal, inclusive of beverages.

The Spirit of Melbourne Cruising Restaurant
Enjoy a special dinner aboard the Spirit of Melbourne, while gently cruising the waters of the Yarra River.

The Spirit of Melbourne offers dining over two levels. The dining areas are enclosed, but there are some outside areas for diners to stretch their legs and take in the view. The boat can accommodate up to 90 passengers, with each booking allocated their own table.

The Spirit of Melbourne Cruising Restaurant
The lower deck of the Spirit of Melbourne.

On boarding the boat, we were shown to our table, and were happy to see we were seated next to a window. Within a very short time, we had a waiter enquiring what we would like to drink. Red, white and sparkling wines, along with beer, and a range of spirits, plus orange juice and soft drinks, are included. We ordered a glass of sparkling wine, and sipped it while nibbling on the fresh, warm bread rolls waiting for us on our tables. With boarding finalised, we set off on the dot of 7.30pm, the appointed departure time.

The dress code for guests, as per the FAQs for the boat, is 'smart casual'. This was interpreted loosely, with clothing styles ranging from very casual to 'special occasion'. It's fair to say the atmosphere on the boat is very relaxed and welcoming.

The motion of the boat was very gentle, as we plied the smooth waters of the Yarra. Wait staff patrolled with bottles of wine, regularly offering to top up our glasses. This was a theme of the night - it was noticeable that the staffing levels ensured regular, efficient, and friendly service. There always seemed to be a staff member available to offer us more of something before we had to ask.

The entree was a tasting platter, consisting of lamb kofta served with minted yoghurt, Peking duck on a bed of garden salad, and seafood cocktail dressed in a creamy seafood sauce. My pick of these was the seafood cocktail, which included a luscious prawn, plump scallop, and mussels served in the half shell.

The Spirit of Melbourne Cruising Restaurant
Entree: tasting platter.

Diners select their main course at the time of booking. We had the choice of chargrilled chicken breast, backed barramundi fillet, chargrilled beef eye fillet cooked 'medium', or Portuguese lamb shank (vegetarian options are also available). I opted for the lamb shank, while my dining partner Dave chose the beef eye fillet. We were both very impressed with our meals. Dave's steak looked plump and delicious, and it was tender, and cooked medium, as promised. My lamb shank was heavenly, cooked to falling-off-the-bone perfection.

The Spirit of Melbourne Cruising Restaurant
Chargrilled beef eye fillet with a port wine jus.

The Spirit of Melbourne Cruising Restaurant
Portuguese lamb shank (with mash). (Writer's image.)

After a short interval to give the first courses time to settle, the dessert platter was served. This was a sumptuous selection of small cakes. We were also offered tea and coffee, as well as port, muscat, Kahlua or Baileys.

The Spirit of Melbourne Cruising Restaurant
Dessert platter (shared between two people).

The final course of the night was the cheese platter, comprised of blue, soft, smoked and tasty cheeses. Served with nuts and dried fruits, it was the ideal way to round out a very satisfying meal.

The Spirit of Melbourne Cruising Restaurant
Cheese platter (shared between two people).

Insider tip, if you're on the lower deck, pop out on to the bow as the boat approaches the city on its return. You'll be treated to a beautiful vista of city lights.

Chatting after dinner with other guests, it seemed everyone had enjoyed the experience and their meal as much as we did. The general view - which I share - was that the cruise is good value for money, given the quality of food and service, and the generously offered beverages. In fact, if I try to sum up the dinner experience in one word, 'generous' is what immediately comes to mind.

Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

The Spirit of Melbourne Cruising Restaurant offers the dinner service each Thursday to Sunday.

The cost per person for the three-hour cruise and four-course table service meal, inclusive of beverages is:

Adults: $175

Children aged 13-17 years: $105

Children aged 2-12 years: $80 (from the children's menu)

Children under 2: no charge (no meal provided).

Click here to make a reservation.

The cruise departs at 7.30pm, and returns at 10.30pm. The departure point is Berth1, Southbank Promenade, Southbank.

The menu is set courses for entree, dessert and cheese platter, with diners able to choose (in advance) their main course from four options. Vegetarian options are also available. You can view the full menu here.

There are other cruise experiences offered by Melbourne River Cruises, the operator of the Spirit of Melbourne, including bottomless brunch on the weekends, spring carnival race day events and New Year's Eve packages. You'll find more information on the website.

Image credit: except where indicated, the images in this article were taken by David Bignell (@david_bignell_photography).

Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  49
*Fiona Anderson was invited as a guest
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? A delightful night of wining and dining aboard the Spirit of Melbourne
When: Departs 7.30pm each Thursday to Sunday
Phone: (03) 8610 2600
Where: Departs from Berth 1, Southbank Promenade, Southbank
Cost: Adults: $175; children (13-17 years): $105, children (2-12 years): $80, (children under 2 free - no meal provided).
Your Comment
Lovely photies Fiona.
by May Cross (score: 3|8375) 73 days ago
Is the chicken and lamb halal?
by natas (score: 0|5) 3 days ago
Top Events
Popular Articles