Waterfront Boat Cruise Review – Is it Worth it?

Last Updated on May 30, 2024 by thecapetownblog

Considering a boat cruise from the Waterfront?

It’s such a good way to take in views of Cape Town’s beautiful Atlantic Coast, while relaxing, spotting marine life, and maybe enjoying a drink or two as you go. It’s a pretty affordable experience for tourists and I’m all for making the most of the sunshine!

I recently did a 1-hour boat cruise from the harbour to the Mouille Point lighthouse, so I wanted to share my full review to help you decide whether or not it’s worth it while you’re in Cape Town.

Why do a Waterfront boat cruise?

Well, first and foremost, a Waterfront boat cruise gives you fantastic views of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, and the Green and Sea Point neighbourhoods. 

I also enjoyed spotting marine life along the way. I was lucky enough to spot a seal playing with a fish (although I’m sure that the fish didn’t feel quite so fortunate), as well as a sunfish and a dolphin. I didn’t manage to snap a photo of the dolphin as it was pretty brief, but it was very exciting! 

Plus, there’s a fun atmosphere on the boat and the crew were really cool. It’s suitable for both families and groups of friends, and honestly, just getting out on the water on a sunny day is always a lovely thing to do. 

How much does it cost?

The cruise that I did cost R340 (£14/$18), which is the price for the cruise only. There’s a cash bar on board and they had some drink specials, such as two gin and tonics for R60. I’ll admit I was slightly hungover when I did the cruise so I played it safe with a Diet Coke, which cost R25. So pretty standard prices for Cape Town! 

What will I see on a Waterfront boat cruise?

The views of Table Mountain are awesome from the outset and it didn’t take long for Lion’s Head to come into view. I went on a clear day, so I could see out all the way to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners were held and forced to do hard labour. 

On a cheerier note, we also sailed past the waterfront neighbourhoods of Green Point and Sea Point, and I got to see the Mouille Point lighthouse from a different perspective than usual.

I saw a fair amount of marine life, too. We saw a sun fish floating on its side (I thought it was dead at first, but apparently that’s just what they do!) as well as seals and dolphins. A few times, the captain turned off the engine and drove the boat around the sunfish and seals so that everyone on board could get a better look. I even got a brief glimpse of a dolphin jumping out of the water!

What time does the boat go?

The boat leaves at 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM. I went in the afternoon but it doesn’t really matter – whatever suits you best! It lasts for exactly an hour, so the cruise is easy to fit into a day of fun at the waterfront. 

You’ll need to check in around 20 minutes early at the ticket booth, which is at the habour near the amphitheatre. It was easy enough to find! Then, after you get your tickets, the boat leaves from the dock next to the Life Grand cafe, but the crew will show you where to go. 

Do you get wet on a Waterfront boat cruise?

Only if you sit in the splash zone! The people who chose to sit at the front of the boat were warned and were able to keep their valuables inside so that they didn’t get damaged. However, I chose to sit on the top floor and I stayed completely dry. 

Is there a bar on board?

Yes, there’s a cash bar (although that’s a figurative term these days because you can pay with a card). Drinks were reasonably priced and they had some specials on. The bartender knew I was hungover and kept encouraging me to do tequila shots, although I politely declined, unable to stomach the idea. 

Is it suitable for families?

Yes, despite what I just said about the bar and the encouragement of shots, this is a family-friendly experience. Although drinking is permitted, it’s not a booze cruise and everyone on board was very well-behaved. There were quite a few families on board when I went and they all seemed to be having a fantastic time! 

Do you need to book in advance?

Yes, but not very far. You just need to make a reservation online, but not weeks in advance or anything like that. 

I only booked my ticket a few days in advance. It’s a good idea to do that if you’re here during late December or early January but honestly, you can usually book the day before. 

Is this the best boat cruise in Cape Town?

The Enigma is a great boat and the crew are awesome. However, I did prefer the sunset champagne cruise that I did. The sky was spectacular at sunset, I got a longer boat ride, the price included half a bottle of bubbly per person, so it was definitely worth the extra R200 if you ask me. 

However, a daytime boat cruise is definitely better for families because the sunset one is a bit more boozy. And if a daytime boat ride suits your schedule better than an evening one, then it’s still a great choice! 

All in all, though, I was really happy with the boat ride that I did and definitely felt that it was worth the R340! I would definitely do it again. 

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