Just before Christmas we decided to experience the Sea World Dinner Cruise on the Gold Coast. Sea World Cruises offer a range of tour options including a lunch cruise and whale watching when in season. Sea World Cruises is operated by the Tour Collective, the same team behind the HOPO Gold Coast Ferry, and See Moreton Cruise.

Getting There

The Sea World Dinner Cruise departs from Appel Park Wharf in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. If you are staying in Surfers, this is only a short walk from Cavill Avenue and many of the hotels. If you are catching Public Transport, the Gold Coast Light Rail stop at Cavill Ave is about a 3 minute walk from Appel Park.

We decided to drive and parked at Bruce Bishop Car Park in Surfers Paradise which only costs $5 for the night. The car park is located a short walk from Appel Park and pretty close to Surfer’s Cavill Avenue which is a hive of activity on a Saturday night.

There are a number of berths where the vessel can pull in, but keep an eye out for the large Sea World logo on the side of the boat. We boarded right near the HOPO terminal

Sea World Dinner Cruise

The vessel, The Spirit of Elston, pulled in around 6:40pm for the 7pm cruise. Everyone boarded in their groups. The waitress led Danielle and I straight to our seat which was right at the window, mid deck, so we had the perfect location to see everything as we cruised past. We were also conveniently close to the food!

Window seat on the Sea World Dinner Cruise
Window seat on the Sea World Dinner Cruise

The Spirit of Elston was adorned with Christmas decorations and bon bons were waiting for us at our table. For those not familiar with the tradition, a bon bon is a Christmas cracker usually containing a crown, a joke and sometimes a small toy.

Christmas Bon Bon
Christmas Bon Bon

Before the cruise departed, I headed up onto the open air of the top deck. There were seats where you could enjoy the city lights with an unimpeded view as we pulled away from dock and headed North past the Gold Coast Home of the Arts (HOTA).

Back inside, on the main deck, there was a bar where you can order beverages. Danielle ordered a Yarraburn Premium Cuvée (I guess that’s a type of champagne) and I got a Schweppes Lemonade.

We enjoyed our beverages while listening to the delightful live music provided by Maddy Zanatta.

Maddy is a talented singer based right here on the Gold Coast.

Buffet Dinner

Dinner was a buffet style selection. The selection included fresh salads, fresh local prawns, New Zealand mussels, lamb, herb crusted lemon chicken, barramundi and grilled squid. The waitress called us up table by table to be served, and the crew filled our plates until they were overflowing!

The beginning of the buffet on our Sea World Cruise
The beginning of the buffet

The pasta salad had a delicious infusion of pesto, the lemon chicken was juicy and full of flavour and the lamb was melt in your mouth tender. There were plenty of options for those who can’t have shellfish like yours truly.

A plate full of delicious goodness
A plate full of delicious goodness

That said, Danielle enjoyed the seafood. She tells me that the mussels and prawns tasted very fresh. The barramundi was beautifully tender. The grilled squid was nicely seasoned and tender.

The seafood on the Sea World Dinner Cruise
The seafood on the Sea World Cruise

Relaxing On Deck

After dinner we relocated to the top deck to enjoy the cool ocean breeze, the lights, and the atmosphere. We enjoyed looking to shore as we cruised along and figuring out the landmarks. Seeing everything from the water at night gives you a completely different perspective of the Gold Coast.

Enjoying the lights of the Gold Coast by night on our Sea World Dinner Cruise
Enjoying the lights of the Gold Coast by night on our Sea World Dinner Cruise

The boat moves along nice and slow at a relaxing pace. We enjoyed the peacefulness of it all.

The Spirit of Elston cruised past Sea World, following the shoreline of the spit, almost to the northernmost point. We then turned around and then headed back toward Surfers Paradise.  

As the boat began to turn around and set sail for Surfers Paradise, it was time for dessert. There were three options, a meringue, wonderfully moist chocolate cake and a passion fruit cheesecake. We shared the cheesecake and chocolate cake – a delectably sweet way to finish a night of delicious food. Danielle and I ate up on deck so we could enjoy the lights as we neared Surfers Paradise.

Dessert on our Sea World dinner cruise
Dessert on our Sea World dinner cruise

We pulled in to dock and disembarked. It was a great way to enjoy a night out on the Gold Coast. Though we went at Christmas time, Sea World Cruises offers lunch and dinner cruises all year round. Visit their website for details.

Have you been on a Sea World Cruise? What was your experience?

Lower deck of the Spirit of Elston
Lower deck of the Spirit of Elston

***We may have received discounted or free services to assist us in writing this post.