Chi Cheemaun Dinner Cruise is the Spirit of the Bruce Peninsula
I love cruises. Now in this case I don’t mean those luxury multi-floor steamliners, but instead those charters with all sorts of experiences. You know- lunch cruises, jazz cruises, sunset cruises, scenic cruises, and wonderful dinner cruises. As you can see, these nautical excursions certainly do tick off the right boxes with my travel style. So it should be no surprise that on my recent road trip up to Tobermory Ontario that I set sail on the Chi Cheemaun dinner cruise right in the heart of the Bruce Peninsula.
First a little about The Bruce Peninsula
- This beautiful region of Ontario shares its beauty with Georgian Bay and part with Lake Huron
- Tobermory, deemed the diving capital of Canada, is within Bruce Peninsula
- Bruce Peninsula is the only area in North America that has taken a strong stance on Light pollution (blog coverage coming soon!)
- Ontario’s gorgeous Flowerpot Island is located in Bruce!
- It is part of the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere with lots of plants and wildlife!
- The Ojibwe tribes ruled the Bruce Peninsula up until mid 19th Century
- The Chi Cheemaun Dinner Cruise and other services take patrons several destinations including Manitoulin Island – the largest island in Ontario, Owen Sound, and round-trip back to Tobermory to name a few. This cruise is big enough to escort your vehicle as well so no worries about leaving it in the Tobermory dock area.
- Coves Lighthouse is one of the 6 famous lighthouses still in use to this day that was built in the 1850’s to guide ships. You can see this from the Chi Cheemaun Dinner Cruise!
- There are 77 species of orchids in Canada with 61 found up in Bruce Peninsula 🙂
- Bruce Peninsula brings together four different towns in Southwestern Ontario: Tobermory (where the Chi Cheemaun Dinner Cruises and others depart), Wiarton (coverage coming soon!), Lionshead, and Sauble Beach
As we explored the area of Tobermory we had the pleasure of ending our day with the famous Chi Cheemaun Dinner Cruise. With a motto and slogan to “Travel in Good Spirits,” it isn’t hard when you are on one of the provinces’ most incredible journeys.
Our voyage began with a gorgeous sunset overlooking the Tobermory shores. As you board the vessel, head to the upper deck and check out the beautiful orange coloured skies as the captain begins his departure safety routine. Here you will see an array of quintessential Canadian Muskoka chairs for ultimate viewing. The night we sailed we were truly blessed with one of the most gorgeous natural displays of colour we could have asked for. Few clouds interrupted the sky’s colourful spectacle and we were able to capture the beauty in our hearts, memories, and of course through our lens.
Meet the Chi Cheemaun Dinner Cruise Team
When partnering with the Chi Cheemaun Cruise, I knew it was going to be an experience to remember. I knew that it would definitely provide a picturesque and enjoyable evening to share with all of you. What I didn’t expect was the ultimate privilege to meet the fleet of incredible nautical geniuses with combined years of service of over a century taking us safely through the waters of Lake Huron in the moonlight.
The crew were so welcoming!
Meet Norm – he has been the wheelsman for 50 years. You read that correctly – 50 YEARS. An incredible master at his job, Norm steers the cruise in the night waters as passengers enjoy gazing at the stars or savouring their gourmet meals. 250,000 people on average take the Chi Cheemaun dinner cruise and other serviced routes, so his job becomes more important everyday. I loved learning that the cruises were still controlled and steered by humans and not by automated systems they are attempting with planes and automobiles. It may just be me or my comfort levels, but I do feel safer when a human hand and mind is at the helm over a bot.
This is Rob, one of the Chi Cheemaun Captains. He has been navigating this cruise and its routes for 15 years. He showed me the incredible system they use to track the waters, islands, rocks, and shipwrecks (if any) within the lake and the cruise’s course. He explained that the season for the cruise is rather small with the ships dry docked in the winter months. (Understandable as the great lakes do tend to freeze over in the winter, bringing huge skating rinks for snowmobilers).
Just imagine a cruise at full capacity – 638 passengers and 25 crew members. Rob has navigated this beautiful ship at full capacity on the Lake Huron waters enduring at times waves up to 15-20 feet. Crazy to believe for a body of fresh water (240 miles worth!) isn’t it!
Now for the Gourmet Dinner
It isn’t every day that you find a cruise that offers upscale top-notch dining. We were blessed to experience this luxury on our cruise this evening and definitely left full and happy.
Chef Specialty Salad
The first course we were given was a delightful Chef Specialty Salad. Head chef Andy Mackey, a culinary artist serving the Chi Cheemaun Dinner Cruise for 35 years, creates a delightful array of greens mixed with garden vegetables and his signature dressing. If you love a fresh salad with many flavours, this is the appetizer for you. Plus, the croutons were seriously crunchy. You know it’s going to be a good salad when the croutons are that crunchy and satisfying…
Coconut Chicken Curry Soup
Add a touch of spice to your meal with this incredible chef creation. I loved this soup because the curry was subtle and flavoured the broth perfectly. The chicken was tender within the mix and complemented the coconut milk, vegetables and herbs incredibly well. Sometimes curried soups have strong flavours with overpowering spice. Not this one. This soup was loved by my palate and gave the meal an international flavour boost.
Traditional Prime Rib Roast
When this option was brought to my attention, I couldn’t help but think back at my wonderful time in England. Having a Sunday roast with all the trimmings including Yorkshire pudding, potatoes, horseradish and vegetables definitely pleased my appetite. The piece of meat I received was enormous! Perfect for the hungry passengers and the accompaniments were incredible. I love asparagus and these were sauteed beautifully leaving some of the crunch in tact. I am not a gravy person, but when my husband sampled the au jus that comes with the meal, he said it was delightful and as light as a satisfying consomme.
Duck a L’Orange
What a treat! Duck is not often offered on a cruise so of course when advised of its availability this evening, we jumped at the opportunity to sample it. Boy did we enjoy this. If you are duck lover, you will know that orange is a traditional flavour combination with duck recipes. It is a common garnish and complementing fusion. Well Chef Andy’s dish he whipped up was incredibly flavourful and pleasant, leaving my husband completely and utterly satisfied. The meat was tender, the orange jus had just the right amount of pungency and the vegetables accompanying the meat were top-notch. You will definitely enjoy this dish if chosen on your dinner cruise.
Lemon White Chocolate Cheesecake
So the dessert spoke right to my sweet tooth! A combination of lemon and white chocolate mixed with the yummy filling of cheesecake? Divine. That is all I can say. I was in a mini trance with the white chocolate shavings melting within the creamy cheese and graham cracker crust. Truly a highlight for me in the Bruce. You need to try it yourself to get just what I mean. Pair it with the house blended coffee and you have a match made in foodie heaven.
The Chi Cheemaun Dinner Cruise is the perfect ending to a day in Tobermory. Many disembark on Manitoulin Island, but if you are not one of those vacationers/citizens of the island, the ship will bring you back on a round trip experience. I highly recommend this excursion on your next trip to the region as well as adding it to your Ontario bucket list. Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula are definitely scenic getaways for the lover of nautical and picturesque backdrops and most certainly a must-do when visiting Ontario in the summer. We are truly grateful to have enjoyed this experience on the sacred waters of Lake Huron and as we continue our venture for the Heavenly Centenary, we know in our hearts Granddad would have loved it too.
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We were a guest of the Chi Cheemaun Dinner Cruise. All opinions are our own and were not influenced in any way.