Frequently Asked Questions about Toronto Boat Cruises

"I have been planning boat cruise parties at the Toronto Harbour since 1991 and many people ask the same questions. So below are some answers. If you don't find your question here, please feel free to call us at 416-364-3244 or email me at meaghan@nauticaladventure.com. No question is too small or too silly. We'd be more than happy to help!" ~meaghan

How much does it cost?
What does the charter fee include?
What do you do?
I'm on a budget, can you help?
Can I get married on board?
How many people can the boats take?
How many people can be seated on the ships?
Do I have to have a minimum number of people?
How's the food?
May we cater our own food?
Can I smoke?
Is the ship coast guard certified?
Are children allowed?
What time do you sail?
What do boarding, sailing, return and disembarking time mean?
Can you pick me up outside Toronto harbour?
Where are the boats?
Do I have to wear special shoes?
Is there a dress code?
Is the cruise cancelled if there is bad weather?
I don't have as many people as I thought, do I cancel?
Can a wheelchair get on board?
Can we drink on board?
What kind of Entertainment is provided?
What kind of music does the DJ play?
May we decorate ourselves?
What if I have guests who need to get off early?
What types of payment do you take?
How can I purchase a Cruise Voucher?
Will my cell phone work on the water?
How can I make a reservation for a Public Cruise?
How can I get my tickets for a Public Cruise?
How do I book a Private Cruise?
When do you require full payment for a Private Cruise?
What taxes are added?
How do I get a quote?
I don't see my question here?

How much does it cost?
When we answer the phone, this is the most frequently asked question. But it's not that simple to answer. Our charter rates vary depending on which ship you'd like, what time of year, the time of day, which menu you select, the type of bar you want, and if you want any extra entertainment or décor. In general there are two ways to do the math. First: we customize. In other words we will put together a cruise that suits your needs. The pricing is done by adding up the costs of
The charter fee
Plus the food menu cost per person x the number of people you have
Plus any bar fees
Plus any extras.
Plus all applicable taxes and gratuities.
So obviously this can vary greatly in price depending on your selections.

The second way to figure out the cost is to pick one of our specials & packages. These include all the details and calculations for you and provide a per person price depending on the number of people you plan to have.

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What does the charter fee include?
Our charters always include the rental of the ship itself, all the crew (officers, deckhands), hospitality staff (bartenders, wait staff) and professional disc jockey. Our charter rates are based on a total of 4 hours: ½ hour boarding time, 3 hours cruising and ½ hour disembarking time. Some of our Wedding Packages are based on 5 hours instead of 4. And yes, you can have less or more time. There is a charge of $400/half hour for extra time.

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What do you do?
In general, we are "floating banquet halls." We book out our ships, staff included, and are licensed to serve food and alcohol. We're great at hosting weddings, company socials, special events, private parties such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. We also do open public dinner dance cruises from time to time. Check out our Public Cruising section for more details on that. We also are licensed to take our ship The Empire Sandy to other ports of call. We attend events such as Canal Days in Port Colborne each year.

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I'm on a budget can you help?
Let us know what your monetary restraints are and we'll be happy to let you know what we can provide for you. Take a look at our specials as one of these may suit your needs. We can also shorten your cruise, do it on a less popular day of the week or time of year. So don't always think a cruise is out of reach…ask! We'd be happy to do what we can.

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Can I get married on board?
Yes you can! We love to host wedding ceremonies and receptions. Captains are not able to legally marry you so we can provide an official who can. Check out our wedding packages or email me at meaghan@nauticaladventure.com for our complete Wedding details.

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How many people can go on the ships?
The Empire Sandy, Toronto's premier tall ship can take a maximum of 275 guests. Our motor yacht Wayward Princess can take up to a maximum of 325. However, these numbers reflect the amount of safety equipment we have on board, not the numbers we can sit comfortably. Both ships are also excellent with small numbers.

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How many people can be seated on the ships?
The Empire Sandy can seat 166 people in four seating lounges.  The Wayward Princess can seat 249 people on all three levels.  For further details please click on the Empire Sandy Seating Plan, or Wayward Princess Seating Plan.

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Do I have to have a minimum number of people?
No. We'd be happy to cater to your small group.

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How's the Food?
Great. We cook right on board with fresh ingredients from our food suppliers and take great pride in providing well-presented tasty food. We have many menu options to choose from, and would be happy to customize a menu for you. We can provide buffets, plate service, food stations and cocktail menus. We do cater to vegetarians, special allergies and requirements. If you'd like to have your food catered by another caterer, there may be surcharges applied and regulations to follow. Please enquire.

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May we cater our own food?
Arrangements can be made to cater your own food from a registered caterer.  The caterer must be insured and provide documentation. The caterer must prepare all food offsite. A per person service charge would apply. Please ask us for details.

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May my guests smoke?
We follow all the smoking by-laws as per the Province of Ontario's legislation. You may smoke on all outdoor areas of our ships that do not have a permanent overhang. Of course, we customize each cruise, so if you don't want any smoking on board during your cruise we can certainly comply.

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Is the ship coast guard certified?
Yes, both of our ships are inspected and certified by Transport Canada annually. Documentation can be provided upon request.

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Are children allowed?
Yes. There are no restrictions via our liquor license, and we carry children's lifejackets as well as adult jackets as per Transport Canada regulations. Please note, while babies are allowed on board (yes you can bring car seats and strollers), we do not have specific lifejackets for them. While we keep a close eye on children, it is a wise parent who manages their child and does not let them run all over unattended.

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What time do you sail/cruise?
There is no restriction on the time we will charter out our ships. However there are certain considerations. We cannot serve alcohol before 11am or after 2 am. There are noise bylaws to be adhered to so late night cruises must adhere to these regulations.

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What do boarding, sailing, return and disembarking time mean?
Boarding time refers to the time the passengers will begin to board the ship for your cruise. The boarding time is a half an hour in length.  The sailing time refers to when the ship will set sail for your cruise. The return time is a half an hour in length and refers to when the ship will return to the dock.  The disembarking time is the time by which all passengers must be off the ship.

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Can you pick us up outside Toronto?
The Empire Sandy is certified by Transport Canada to go anywhere. So if you have a destination other than her regular dock in Toronto, there will be extra docking charges and a transportation fee to cover costs for crew, fuel etc . Pricing determined by destination. Enquire.

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Where are the boats docked?
The Empire Sandy sits at the foot of Spadina Ave. (at Queens Quay West) on the edge of the City's beautiful Music Garden. The Wayward Princess is docked at Marina Quay West, just east of Bathurst Street (at Queens Quay West.) Parking is at Marina Quay West. For a map check out our Contact Us page.

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Do I have to wear special shoes?
No. However…stilettos are not always the wisest choice.

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Is there a dress code?
A dress code isn't enforced. We suggest business casual attire for our evening cruises and casual attire for afternoon cruises. A light jacket, or sweater is always recommended for evening cruises, as the water can be breezy and cool down at night.

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Is the cruise cancelled if there is bad weather?
No. We go rain or shine.

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I don't have as many people as I thought, do I cancel?
Not getting the amount of people you thought is always a disappointment. Further, we don't want to lose your business either. People tend to decide close to the date, so don't panic if people haven't signed up months a head. If you are having difficulties please talk to us, and we'll certainly work with you to achieve your goal.

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Can a wheelchair get on board?
We are not truly wheelchair accessible. Boats are designed to have water tight doorways for safety and thus have "edges" that are obstacles for wheelchairs. As well, you have to transverse the gangway to board the ship. We will certainly assist anyone who has a wheelchair or is motion-challenged. We can certainly get you on board. Please note our washrooms are not accessible for a wheel-chair bound person.

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Can we drink on board?
We are liquor licensed, and therefore all beverages must come through our license. We do not allow anyone to bring on board any alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages. This contravenes the liquor laws of Ontario. There are many bar options for clients wishing to pay for drinks for their guests. We also can provide an unlimited non-alcoholic bar for groups such as proms, dry weddings, etc.

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What kind of Entertainment is provided?
All of our cruises include a professional disc jockey. The disc jockey cost is included in the charter rate. Sight Seeing Narration can be arranged upon request. Additional Entertainment can be arranged with any of our Event Coordinators. Additional charges apply for additional entertainment.

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What kind of music does the DJ play?
Our DJ's have a wide variety of music including rock, disco, jazz, salsa, country, motown, blues, calypso, reggae, 50's and 60's, rap, hip-hop, pop, classical and instrumental.  For most cruises, we suggest background music for boarding and dinning.  The type of music played on our cruises is either determined by the clients' request, or the DJ can make the musical choices based on the crowd.

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May we decorate ourselves?
We would love to help you decorate and would be happy to provide you with a list of options for décor. Of course, if you wish to do these things yourself you may. But please note you will be given a time-limited "window" to do your decorating.

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What if I have guests who need to get off early?
Currently, there is a water taxi system in the harbour which can bring out guests and take off guests. There is a fee for this service and your guests are expected to pay for the service. Let us know if anyone is thinking of having a water taxi as this will allow the captain/ship to be in the right place at the right time. Water taxis will not come out to the ship once it goes out of the inner harbour. If you prefer, we can charge your guests' water taxis to your account.

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What types of payments do you take?
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Certified Cheques, Money Order and Bank Drafts.

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How can I purchase a Cruise Voucher?
Cruise Vouchers can be purchased by contacting one Nautical Adventures by telephone at (416) 364-3244, or by sending us an email with your request at info@nauticaladventure.com

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Will my cell phone work on the water?
Cell phones work on cruises most of the time, but reception is poor in some areas of the lake.

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How can I make a reservation for a Public Cruise?
Public Cruises offered aboard the Empire Sandy can be arranged by contacting us by telephone at (416) 364-3244, or by email us at info@nauticaladventure.com. Reservations are secured with the purchase of tickets and payments can be made by Credit Card, Certified Cheque Money Order, or Cash.  Reservations can be completed electronically if paying by Credit Card, or in person by setting up an appointment and visiting our office.  We require the Card Holders Signature to process any Credit Card transactions.

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How can I get my tickets for a Public Cruise?
Tickets can be picked up at our office prior to sailing, picked up upon boarding, or mailed to the purchaser. Please let us know what you would prefer.

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How do I book a Private Cruise?
A cruise is booked with a signed contract and a deposit of $ 2,000.00. To prepare the contract we require the following details; date of the cruise, name of boat, time of the cruise, name to write the contract in and address to write the contract in. Menus, bar type, number of passengers, etc can be determined no less than two weeks prior to the cruise.

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When do you require full payment for a Private Cruise?
Full payment of the contract is required 30 days prior to sailing.  Final confirmation of passengers attending the cruise is required one week prior to the date of the cruise.  Full payment for additional passengers is required at the time when the number of passengers is confirmed.

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What taxes are added?
A port fee of $ 100.00 applies to all charters.  HST is applied on all charges including the port fee, charter rate, per person cost for food and any additional charges.  HST is currently 13%.  Gratuity is optional on the food.  Please note there is HST on gratuity. On prepaid beverages (tickets, host bars, etc), there is a 15% gratuity and there is HST on gratuity. Our beverage prices include HST.

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How do I get a quote?
Call us at 416-364-3244 or email us at info@nauticaladventure.com. Tell us what you are planning and we'll send you all the information.

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I didn't see my question here?
We'd be happy to answer any question. Do not hesitate to give us a call at 416-364-3244 or email us at info@nauticaladventure.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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