One of the best Christmas gifts my family received this year, and one of the most unique and memorable gifts ever, was a gondola cruise during the annual Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade. Living in Southern California, our family's never been on a sleigh ride, but this had all of the charm and Christmas cheer with Venitian style and Newport flair. This is really the best way to see the parade. Our gondola was as agile as it was elegant; our gondolier was kind and enthusiastic and our view of the spectacular parade couldn't have been better even if we were on a parade boat itself. Certainly, watching from land cannot begin to compare. Our kids had the holiday time of their lives and it was romantic for my wife and I, although I'll probably bring her back alone for our anniversary. I think a gondola cruise would be perfect for lots of special occasions and it makes an incredible gift that will never be forgotten.
My wife and I have worked in the service and entertainment industry and the quickest indicator we had that the Gondola Adventures people work hard and well was that nothing went wrong. We all notice right away when one of dozens of things goes wrong at a restaurant for instance, and that's on dry land, but there were no glitches on the evening of our gondola outing. Better than that though, the person who handled our reservation and our gondolier really cared about the things that would make us comfortable and would make our time the most enjoyable and the gondolier paid attention to what we liked and made sure we got more of it. Again, I highly recommend Gondola Adventures for the Christmas parade, or just a romantic evening.
Pros: cheerful staff, beautiful boats, unique experience