Champagne with a view: The Nauti-Cat Sunset Cruise in Traverse City

We have written a LOT about Traverse City. But heck, we loved the place!

Here’s the last post on the beautiful Michigan region, about our Nauti-Cat Sunset Cruise.

Catamaran + sunset on Lake Michigan + champagne… Could there be a more perfect evening?

Nauti Cat sunset cruise Double-Barrelled Travel

Who would say no to enjoying this view with a glass of champagne in hand?

There’s something uplifting to the soul when watching the sun go down over the water. It’s even more beautiful if you’re taking in this view while on a boat, bobbing up and down in the middle of a picturesque bay like we were on the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay.

And this is what we were doing as part of the Nauti-Cat Champagne Sunset Cruise, and it was absolute bliss.

Captain Chien Captain Shane Nauti Cat Cruise Double-Barrelled Travel

Captain Chien in his element, driving the catamaran on the Nauti-Cat Cruise

Captain Chien (pronounced ‘Shane’) was leading our expedition onto the water and was everything you’d imagine a Captain to be. He had a good sense of humour, long unrurly beard and hair to match.

All he needed was a tattoo of an anchor on his bicep, a peg leg and a parrot on his shoulder to make the image complete.

Unfortunately the evening wasn’t windy so we did more bobbing than shooting across the water’s surface, but it was relaxing nonetheless.

Ducks on Lake Michigan Double-Barrelled Travel

Ducks on waddling next to Lake Michigan – this photo was taken just before we boarded the Nauti-Cat

We had a bunch of characters on board with us. We chatted to one couple who said they were taking a break from looking after their son who has a brain tumour and two young children. A sad story that touched us and made us appreciate just how lucky we are.

They bought us each a drink and we clunked our plastic glasses and toasted the sunset.

A group of girls who seemed fresh out of college downed shots while the Captain Chien rang a large ship bell. The crowd on the boat smiled as the girls tried to drink shooters placed in carved holes marked out on a snowboard.

Nauti-Cat Cruise on Lake Michigan sunset Double-Barrelled Travel

The Nauti-Cat Sunset Cruise is a peaceful way to watch the sun go down

Someone got a little too rowdy and lost their flip flop overboard. As the captain turned around to try and find it, the woman’s partner lost all hope on ever rediscovering the shoe and threw the other flip flop into the lake. No sooner had he done this that the other shoe appeared.

The race was on and after 10 minutes of skilled manouvering on Captain Chien’s behalf, both flip flops were recovered and returned to the woman and her husband who was now blushing a deep crimson.

As Dave bought a further round of drinks (there’s a cash bar on board, hence the deborchery), we started chatting to a lesbian couple who were celebrating their 15th anniversary together.

We toasted their happiness and I downed the drink Dave bought me – a potent yet tasty lime green punch.

Nauti-Cat Cruise on Lake Michigan Double-Barrelled Travel

Me and Dave playing on the nets of the Nauti-Cat

Feeling a little flushed from the alcohol, we jumped onto the nets of the catamaran and watched the waves splash below. Every now and again a large wave would get our backs wet, prompting squeals from all those lying in the space.

It was good fun.

With the fresh air (no salt in the air on Lake Michigan!) whipping our faces, we watched the sun go down as Chien’s shipmate handed out complimentary cups of champagne which we sipped contentedly.

Coming into dock, Chien fired a blank shot out of a musket at the back of the ship, to wake us all from their alcoholic slumber.

Ahoy indeed!

What you need to know:

Cost  An adult ticket for the Nauti-Cat Champagne Sunset Cruise costs $35 per person and includes a plastic cup of champagne.

When to go  We went in July and even then it could get chilly on the lake. So best to make it a summer event!

How to get there – The catamaran leaves from the West Bay Beach Resort a resort by the Holiday Inn at 615 E. Front St. Traverse City, MI 49686. It’s best to get there by car and there’s free parking in the hotel’s parking lot.

Nauti-Cat Cruises provided us with two complimentary tickets, but as always our views and work are our own.



About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

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