As many people know, “Philadelphia” is Greek for “dining cruise,” as in, a cruise that features brunch, lunch, or dinner. This is of course complete nonsense – the part about “Philadelphia” meaning “dining cruise,” not the other part – but it’s somewhat decent way, or at least a way, to introduce the dining cruises in Philadelphia, which are offered by Spirit Cruises along the Delaware River. Since Spirit Cruises is the only company that offers dining cruises in Philadelphia, this article is essentially just an overview of their offerings, which will serve as a concise guide to eating on the Delaware River.
Before moving on to their specific offerings, it is worth mentioning that Spirit Cruises, which is owned by the larger company Entertainment Cruises, is a large dining cruise operator with ships in several major U.S. cities. In many of these cities, like Philadelphia, they are the only provider in town, and in others, like Chicago, their only “competition” comes from other companies owned by Entertainment Cruises. Thus, if you have taken a dining cruise in the U.S., or at least on the East Coast, there is reasonably good chance it was offered by Spirit Cruises or one of its Entertainment Cruises brethren. This isn’t really a problem, and Spirit Cruises tends to be well-regarded in the cities in which they operate, but it does mean that their offerings are fairly consistent. Thus, their offerings in Philadelphia, to which we know turn our attention, are similar to their offerings in other cities.
The most common types of dining cruises offered by Spirit are lunch and dinner cruises, with the latter slightly outnumbering the former. These cruises are offered on a regular basis, with most being concentrated in the summer. The offerings start to thin as the dead of winter approaches, and then they pick back up during the spring. In addition to the lunch and dinner cruises, there is also a brunch cruise that is offered on Sundays for most of the year. In addition to the regular offerings, Spirit also offers specialty cruises, which mark a holiday or are built around some event created by the company. Thus, there are cruises on the Fourth of July and Father’s Day, but there are also things like the “Yards Brews Cruises,” operated in partnership with the Yard Brewing Company, which are offered on select Thursdays during the summer and feature a dinner buffet. (For the record, the meals for dining cruises on Spirit of Philadelphia, Spirit’s ship, are served buffet-style.)
Between the regular cruises and specialty cruises, Spirit offers a lot of dining opportunities in Philadelphia. If you are interested in taking one, we recommend visiting the Spirit Cruises site for Philadelphia, where you can use the search tool to see what is available on any given day. If there isn’t anything offered on the day you select, the closest matches will be given to you. So, provided you have some flexibility, you should be able to find a cruise – for brunch, lunch, dinner, or a specialty event – that works with your schedule.