You’ll want to add this to your list of fun weekend activities to schedule.
I’m not sure why it’s taken me 12 years to board the Portland Spirit but it has – this past Saturday I boarded the Portland Spirit at 10:45pm for the Radical 80′s Dance Cruise that sets sails at 11pm. 11pm, yup that’s the time it starts, which even for me I thought: if I wait that late to start my night I’d likely bag it and opt to put my pj’s on and catch up on Game of Thrones with a bottle of wine and a cross-bow hidden under my bed to protect me from all the crazy shit my imagination would throw at me after watching a few episodes; or if I started my night early and board the boat at 10:45pm,I’d be having too much fun elsewhere and likely not make the boarding time. And an 11pm swim in the Willamette has never been on my bucket list, so my 12 year streak might continue even longer.
Surprisingly neither happened and it worked out quite well, we met up at the the hotel bar, Bottle + Kitchen at the Hotel Rose, which is the perfect walking distance to the Portland Spirit. Another bonus of heading out later in the evening is, street parking is free, and along NATIO Parkway it’s pretty easy to find an open spot.
So after eating some yummy truffle fries and a bottle of wine, it was 10:45pm, and we walked over to the Portland Spirit to board. The security screening was well organized and moved swiftly, we were on board within 10 minutes.
The lower level of the ship has a bar, bathrooms and the buffet, which is an optional add-on to the ticket price. I can’t comment on the food because we didn’t choose that option. The bar line moved swiftly and they had a nice selection of decent wine along with draft beers and a full bar
Dressing up is not mandatory but I’d say 80% of the ticket holders were dressed up and they were pretty creative with their 80′s attire. On board was a Ghost Buster, “Like a Virgin” Madonna, Flashdancers, lots of neon, big hair and long mullets. My favorite of the night was the guy who dressed like Tom Cruise from Risky Business, a dress shirt with turned up collar, tightie whities and white tube socks! AWESOME!
Don’t let all the great people watching inside distract you from taking in some of the great views of Portland’s shoreline from the outdoor decks! Just off the dance floor you can exit outdoors to a narrow space along the ship’s rails or head upstairs to the upper deck which is completely ‘open air, and also seems to be the “smokers lounge” but the space is plenty big enough to enjoy the fresh air and sights.
The music was loud, the dance floor was illuminated with beams of rainbows, polka-dots, disco ball speckles and on occasion a blanket of fog. The 2-hour Radical 80′s Cruise sails along the Willamette River under a few of our picturesque bridges, it’s a smooth ride with a hint of rocking motion so be sure to drink some water in between your trips to the bar.
The Portland Spirit 80′s cruise departs every Saturday night at 11pm with a few exceptions.
Tickets are $20 or if you have a group of 6 or more it’s only $10 per person which is a great deal and finding 6 people who want to cruise up and down the Willamette River while nostalgic -can’t-help-but -sing-a-long-and-dance 80′s music plays, shouldn’t be that hard to do.
Again I’m not sure why it’s taken me 12 years to board the Portland Spirit but I know it won’t take another 12 years before I do it again. Check out their website for details on all their other excursions, like the Friday Happy Hour cruise, Sunday Brunch and sightseeing cruises.