(Shortened for size limit): Wife & I went out on largest boat, Galaxy Commodore, for 2008 New Year's dinner cruise. Cost $350/couple, slightly less than cost of Hornblower Cruise price (SF Belle vessel). Overall were quite satisfied with outing. Been on a company event on the California Hornblower; in comparison, that boat a bit more plush & meal more refined and served to you at private tables in contrast to buffet style on Commodore; however, pay quite a lot more ($500 vs $350), & one irritation with Hornblower is compressed time on water whereas Commodore boat stayed out for a lengthier time; this is, in part, due to Comm having to go all the way back to Alameda dock after fireworks in contrast to Hornblower boat which docks right at SF Embarcadero. First the positives: the staff was consistently friendly, helpful. Boat was clean, had good amenities (comfortable lounge w/ leather sofas, clean spacious bathrooms (by boat standards), nice large dance floor, nice large viewing windows & plenty of outside space for people if they could brave the cold), good drinks from adequate (though somewhat spartan, decor-wise) bar). The buffet meal was much better than I'd expected and was good: prime rib, chicken goulash with cream/mushroom sauce, rice pilaf, nice caesar salad, and tasty, crunchy (i.e. not overcooked) string beans completed with adequate, if not stellar, desserts (chocolate cake, pumpkin/cinamon pie, cheesecake). As mentioned, the cruise was leisurely, departing sometime after 9:15 with roundtrip up to Golden Gate and back, excellent viewing of the fireworks, returning sometime past 1am. Just a few negatives: packed boat with some people sitting at temporary long folding tables on the dance floor; some staff somewhat young and discombobulated; buffet layout somewhat cramped with loud, bingo-like cattle-call system for table# by table# turns for getting food, desserts straight out of cold fridge, ... overall nothing to ruin a very pleasant evening.
Pros: Pretty good price compared to other dining cruises
Cons: Not quite as private and romantic as more expensive California Hornblower boat