With a choice of three restaurants and three vessels, Waterfront Charters offer a tailor-made dining experience, writes Bianca Coleman.

HERE’S some free advice: never pass up the opportunity to hop on a sunset cruise; now there is more reason to do so. Waterfront Charters has teamed with three restaurants to offer a more or less tailor-made cruising and dining experience. A surf and turf, if you will. You can take to the ocean on your choice of vessel from the fleet, followed by lunch or dinner at Greek Fisherman, Meloncino, or City Grill.

Serenity One is a new sailing catamaran; Esperance is a classical twin-masted sailing schooner; and the Southern Cross is a fun cruiser based on a sturdy trawler design. I’m no good at maths, but I’m sure someone can work out the number of different options with these boats followed by a steak, Mediterranean or Italian meal in the afternoon or evening. The only problem I can see is the weather. It can be sunny and still in the morning, but by cruise time that darn south-easter can be howling. It doesn’t mean you can’t go out, just that the boat you choose will prefer to stay safely in the harbour while you board one of the others.

This is what happened to us last week. We went out on Serenity One a few months ago. She’s a beauty and stable. The crew of handsome, friendly young men seem to have glue underneath their feet, but the rest of us needed to brace ourselves or risk lurching overboard. Anyway, the point is, on that calm morning we chose Esperance to try something different, but by mid-afternoon the wind had other ideas and we ended up back on Serenity One. Part of the trip was under sail which was exhilarating.

For most of the day the weather had been overcast with high cloud cover but Cape Town didn’t let us down. It cleared shortly before the sun went down, leaving wispy streaks spread across the sky which lit up in spectacular red and orange and purple fashion as the sun dipped below the horizon. Those photos got lots of likes. Something to remember is it is almost always chilly out there so wear something warm.

The bubbly flows freely and the crew go about their sailing duties in between keeping your glass (is a plastic glass still a glass?) filled. One of them, a delightful young man named Kyle Walder, blushed furiously when I waved him over for a top-up, but then settled into some light banter with us when I joked that Justin Bieber follows me. As if. I blocked him ages ago. The cruise lasts for 90 minutes before Serenity One glides back into her berth at Quay Four.

We strolled back to the mall side of the Waterfront where there is extensive construction work going on, apparently through the night even. The eventual result will be covered dining areas for the restaurants, but for now there are a lot of dead ends. We picked Greek Fisherman for our dinner – I hadn’t been there for more than three years and it’s changed quite a bit. The menu for cruisers is set with a choice of starters and mains, and a dessert. Drinks and gratuity are not included in the deal. By the way, a tip is automatically added to the bill, so look out for that.

I began with mussels in tomato sauce with feta served with triangles of warm pita bread, and my friend tucked into spanakopita. We followed with beef and chicken souvlaki respectively, served with chips. These are not huge main courses but the beef was divine. We shared dessert of crumbed phyllo pastry with orange and yoghurt served with ice cream. A third option for starters and mains are Greek salad and line fish with lemon butter, rice and spinach. The verdict is this is a super fun excursion and I wouldn’t mind trying out another combination or two.

Maybe I’ll even get onto Esperance next time.

There are various price packages depending on the vessel, restaurant, and time of day (lunch or dinner) so go to www.restaurantboat. or www.waterfrontcharters. to find out more, or pop in at Waterfront Charters at Shop 5, Quay Five at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, telephone 021 418 3168.