A Sunset Cruise in Clearwater, Florida
Tropics Boat Tours in Clearwater, Florida offers a variety of entertaining cruise options throughout the year, including: dolphin cruises, sunset cruises, party cruises, and specialty themed cruises. We opted for the sunset cruise as we thought it would be a nice way to see the area without suffering through the intense summer heat.
A night cruise in Clearwater is a great alternative for those tired of sweating in the hot Florida sun and dealing with chaotic crowds at the beach. Although it was still extremely hot and muggy at the start of the cruise, the temps cooled down tremendously as the night went on. An impending thunderstorm gave us a nice cool breeze and a chance to enjoy the drastic drop in temperatures. I would guess that the temperature dropped from the mid 90s to the lower 80s!
Tropics Sunset Cruise leaves Clearwater’s beautiful marina and heads into the gorgeous waters of the Gulf. Take a look at the beautiful marina pictured below.
Along the way, your energetic tour guide will point out a variety of sights, including: Clearwater’s downtown, celebrity homes (Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Hulk Hogan), and other major architectural attractions in the area.
Tom Cruise’s house (the house to the right)
A view of the beach from a distance (the large pink building is the Hyatt Regency)
How cool is this Jaws themed boat?!
A pirate themed cruise passing us by
The ride is relaxing: a fresh change of pace from the intensely hectic atmosphere on the beach.
The boat features both an upper and lower level. Views from both levels are fantastic, however, I preferred the lower level as the top unfortunately allowed smoking. To get a seat on the upper level, plan on getting in line early or you may have to stand up (seats on the top level fill up faster!).
Don’t worry if you do not get your preferred seat as you can move around once you get on board. I recommend checking out the view from both settings. There is no air conditioning, however, the lower deck is covered and once you get moving the breeze will cool down.
The sunset on this particular night was not spectacular. Unfortunately, it was pretty cloudy with a thunderstorm on the way. I imagine the views are spectacular on a clear evening. We were able to capture a few quick pictures in between the cloud coverage.
On our return route, an unexpected thunderstorm dampened the experience for a bit, as all upstairs passengers proceeded to come in to the lower deck. As you can imagine, it got pretty hot and noisy!
Check out these storm clouds!
As soon as the rain led up, we proceeded to check out the upstairs level. We took advantage of the empty spaces and smoke free environment (no one wanted to sit on the wet seats) and enjoyed the beautiful night views of Clearwater as we made our way back.
I enjoyed Tropics Sunset Cruise, although I can’t say it is the best in the area as I haven’t tested out the numerous other cruises offered at the marina. Anyone looking for a fun, scenic, non-beach activity in Clearwater is sure to be pleased with their experience. As an added bonus, you get a $3 parking pass which can be used for the whole day.
Your cruise will run approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. After your cruise, you will find a multitude of additional activities in the area including: beaches, restaurants, bars and the nightly “Sunsets at Pier 60” festival featuring live entertainment and vendors.
Pricing: The sunset cruise is offered at a rate of $25 for adults and $15 for children. This price includes a champagne toast at sunset. For an additional $12, you can purchase a wristband good for unlimited beer, wine, and soda.
The cruise felt more like a party cruise with the majority of passengers purchasing the wristband. The staff set the tone early on with a free specialty cocktail for one lucky passenger. Add in: energetic music, reduced priced drinks before departing, and on-going shot and drink specials throughout the night.
Location: Tropics Boat Tours is located at 25 Causeway Blvd. Slip #5 in Clearwater. You can reserve your tickets online on the Tropics website. In terms of parking, you will need to arrive at least an hour early to secure your spot. You will be given a pass at the Tropics stand for $3 all day parking.
The nice thing is that marina parking is only for marina activities. It is a lot easier to park for a cruise, than circling around Clearwater attempting to find a spot for the beach. More details will be provided when you book your cruise.
*Bring your camera. There are plenty of fantastic photo opportunities!
*Bring with water bottles. That 1/2 hour or so wait to board the boat is much hotter than you think!
*Check Groupon for discounted rates.
*Arrive early to guarantee a parking space.
*If possible, book your cruise on a less crowded weekday, preferably during the off-season(December-March). Both traffic and parking will be less hectic.
*Check the weather forecast. After all it is a sunset cruise! If you are looking for some great photography, plan your trip for a clear night!
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