There are a number of scenarios that Hornblower’s Summer Sunset Cocktail Cruises are the perfect solution for: You’ve got the mid-week blahs, friends or family are in town or you’d like to shake up your everyday routine.

It’s easy to overlook that we live on the coast. Yet, once you’re standing on the dock in the Marina del Rey, counting all the boat-lovers cruising around the harbor and caring for their vessels, you’re reminded of the bustling and enthusiastic seafaring culture that exists in every coastal city.

On my evening sail I was surrounded by b-day parties, after-work hangs and loads of finely dressed young people adventuring out of their comfort zone. The cruise consists of two loops around the harbor. You pass the waterfront condos, Burton Chace Park and stop at the end of the harbor to watch the boats go out to sea and return. One of the most spectacular parts is the view of the sunset, and then the moon.

There are two decks with sit down tables, but I was partial to the fresh air on the front deck, watching the seagulls and pelicans swoop. To my pleasant surprise, my fellow cruisers were particularly friendly and chatty, which further added to the fun.

The $28 ticket includes free appetizers, ranging from fresh veggies (including jicama) with herbed ranch dressing to Jamaican seasoned beef skewers with mango-pineapple salsa and firecracker chicken with chili mayonnaise. Waiters come around with the hors d’oeuvres on trays, making you feel more like you’re on a yacht in Saint-Tropez.

Cruises depart every Wednesday from Marina del Rey and every Thursday from Newport Beach and run from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., but you can board at 6 p.m. Reservations are required.

For more information, call (800) ON-THE-BAY or visit