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New glass-topped boat will offer dinner cruises on the Chicago River

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The new sightseeing vessel will launch next summer

A rendering of the new boat’s fully enclosed dining cabin.
Odyssey Cruises

Starting next summer, the Chicago River will welcome a new glass-topped boat offering its 200 passengers dinner service and picturesque views of downtown’s best architecture. Odyssey Chicago, which has long offered dinner cruises on Lake Michigan from Navy Pier, announced its intention to press the 140-foot-long, climate-controlled vessel into service on July 1st of 2018. It will launch and dock on the river’s main branch near Michigan Avenue.

While Chicago’s waterfront skyscrapers and bridges have become an increasingly popular backdrop for sightseeing, dining, and recreation, Odyssey’s upcoming boat marks the first regular service dinner cruise to be offered on the Chicago River. The announcement is the latest signal of the waterway’s recent role as a powerful catalyst for new investment.

Odyssey Cruises

“The river is growing in popularity and it’s certainly much cleaner than it was five, 10, 15 years ago. And there’s been an enormous amount of public and private development. All of that added to the attraction,” Dan Russell of Odyssey parent company Entertainment Cruises explained to the Chicago Tribune yesterday.

From the Chicago Riverwalk to the supertall Vista Tower, new projects along the Chicago River have indeed taken off dramatically in recent years. Other notable developments include the three-tower project under construction at Wolf Point, the multi-phase Riverline complex, the soon-to-open Norman Foster-designed Apple store at Pioneer Court, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s new 20,000-square-foot Chicago Architecture Center.