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A Bucket List Boat Ride: Gondola Getaway

By John Grossi

How many activities in life can you participate in these days that are truly unique? How about a pizza cruise with your 10 best friends, being rowed through the Naples canals by an experienced and entertaining gondolier? If you book a group “Pizza Cruise” at Gondola Getaway (with pizza provided by Domenico’s Restaurant), you can be certain your group is the only one in the entire world experiencing that particular entertainment at that precise moment. Now that is pretty cool.

Being rowed on a private cruise through open waters by a gondolier is something that’s hard to find anywhere else, except perhaps Italy. It is picturesque, inspiring, and relaxing; and has all the romance tied in a 1000-year-old tradition. While Gondola Getaway is most often thought of as a romantic “couples” experience (which it certainly is), owner Mike O’Toole says more and more people have discovered its draw for just about any occasion. Friends in town, family get-together, brunch, dinner, or just a relaxing afternoon - why not take a private cruise?

The Naples Canals in Long Beach are—well—about as close as you can get to the real thing in Naples Italy, and the entire Gondola experience is crafted to follow all the old style traditions of an Italian Gondola ride.

“Just as a boat ride, the experience shines,” says O’Toole. “Someone else – someone who is an ambassador of Alamitos Bay, Naples Island, and even Venice, Italy – is rowing. You just need to bring along a bottle of wine, breathe easy, and know that for the next few hours you won’t have to drive or socialize with people you don’t know.”

The natural positioning of a gondolier, about 8 feet away from the passengers, allows the passengers to easily hold private conversations when they want, while also being able to interact easily with the gondolier.

In whatever way you want to experience Naples and Alamitos Bay, the gondoliers just want to help! Bring appetizers, a bottle of wine or champagne, whatever you want. Relax and experience a tradition like no other, right here in your own backyard!

Gondola Getaway is open 11 am -11 pm every day of the week. The standard cost for a cruise is $100 for two plus another $30 for each additional person. There are lots of boats and gondoliers, but it’s also a popular attraction so call ahead and make a reservation just in case!

Looking for snack ideas for your gondola ride? Find @charcuteriebychrissy and @justaddicecocktails on Instagram!

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