Find a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of the city on the calm waters of Lake Michigan or the Chicago River with Odyssey Cruises. Breath-taking views, upscale dining and quality entertainment are all put together to provide guests with a relaxing, enjoyable experience. Whether booking a romantic dinner for two or a corporate event, Odyssey Cruises can provide what visitors and locals are looking for.
While the Windy City skyline sublimely drifts past the window of climate-controlled dining rooms, guests can enjoy delicious plated meals and then take advantage of the dance floor with a modern, professional DJ on site. On warm days, passengers can enjoy time on one of the open-air decks on the three-tiered ship.
Types of Odyssey Cruises
Odyssey offers cruises the drift down the Chicago River or on Lake Michigan for lunch, brunch, dinner or cocktail hour (with hors d’oeuvres & light bites). Groups may also schedule their own private events on the Odyssey whether reserving a large table, a private deck, or chartering the whole ship.
Passengers take in the sights and sounds of the city’s landmarks while listening to live narration that points out architectural highlights and attractions along the way. Accommodating groups from 2-749 people, new cruise opportunities are regularly being offered on both of Odyssey’s modern cruise ships.
Specialty cruises are scheduled throughout the year to coincide with certain events and holidays. These may include cultural or celebratory cruises, such as Fireworks Dinner Cruises, Air & Water Show cruises, Prix Fixe and even a celebration of James Beard Eats Week.
What You’ll See on an Odyssey Cruises
Starting at Navy Pier, the Lake Michigan cruise route typically takes guests out through the break wall and north for a view of North Avenue Beach. Then, heading south again, the Odyssey floats gently south toward Burnham Harbor and the Adler Planetarium. Along the way, passengers enjoy unmatched views of famous Chicago sites, such as:
- Shedd Aquarium
- John Hancock Building
- Willis Tower (Sears Tower)
- Aon Center
- Soldier Field
- Grant Park
Odyssey’s Chicago River cruise route departs from the Chicago River Esplande (in from of NBC Tower on the north side of the river) and carries guests along to Wolf Point, North Avenue, Ping Tom Memorial Park, and over to Lakeshore Drive toward the lake. Landmarks and attractions to take in along the way may include:
- The Wrigley Building
- Civic Opera House
- Union Station
- Willis Tower (Sears Tower)
- Ping Tom Park
- Chicago Locks
- Navy Pier
- NBC Tower
- Old Chicago Post Office
Odyssey Cruises Services
With two vessels, Odyssey Lake Michigan and Odyssey Chicago River, visitors can enjoy public dining cruises with incredible city views. The Odyssey can also be privately chartered to cater to a variety of events such as weddings, school events, corporate events, family reunions and other special occasions.
Odyssey works in partnership with Spirit of Chicago and Seadog Cruises.
Odyssey Cruises Timing
Most Odyssey Cruise tours last between 2 and 3 hours. Because of the climate-controlled dining rooms, cruises are scheduled year-round. In case of inclement weather that is not safe for sailing, dining and entertainment will continue dockside.
Odyssey Cruises Considerations
For all of the details you may be curious about before booking an Odyssey Cruise:
- Odyssey Lake Michigan has a deck and restrooms that can accommodate most standard-sized wheelchairs.
- Odyssey Chicago River has an elevator that reaches from Michigan Avenue to the dock. There is a lift to the restrooms which are on the lower level of this vessel, but it only fits manual wheelchairs.
- Dinner cruises are a fun time to dress up. Wearing dressy or dressy-casual attire is recommended. Casual jeans, t-shirts, flip flops and athletic shoes are discouraged.
- Guests may bring their own camera on board. The ship’s photographer will also record moments and make photos available for purchase at the end of the tour.
- Cruises are non-refundable but smaller groups may be able to reschedule with 7 days’ notice.
- Children are allowed on all cruises and discounts may be offered for children on certain tours.
- Dietary restrictions may be accommodated with advance notice.
- Most cell phone services can be accessed on board.
- Restrooms are located in every enclosed dining room on the ship.
- Smoking is allowed only on the observation deck.
- According to Coast Guard regulations, security checks may be performed upon entry.
- Odyssey sails year-round except in severe weather conditions, in which case the event would continue dockside.
Book an Odyssey Cruises
Tickets for Odyssey Cruises should be purchased in advance online. Tours often sell out. Booking with is easy online. Online bookings show weekly availability including tour times as well as revealing tours that are already sold out. Pay for your tour in advance with a credit card and receive an email with all of the information you need about where and when tours meet as well as what to expect.