Southern California was aglow this week as multiple ports celebrated the holiday season with boat parades. Marina del Rey, Newport Beach and San Diego lit up the cold with thousands of twinkle lights.

Kicking off the weekend, Marina del Rey’s 54th Holiday Boat Parade took a spin around the marina Saturday evening, December 10th, following a fireworks display to start the show. More than 25,000 spectators watched from boats, restaurants, homes and parks as the more than 60 boats decorated from stem to stern floated by to celebrate this year’s theme “An Animated Holiday”.

Multiple winners in various categories were crowned, with Hornblower’s own Entertainer capturing the Best Charter / Corporate prize.

Sunday the 11th was the first of two weekends of the 45th Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. Nearly 80 vessels helped to celebrate this year’s theme “It Began with a Roar – San Diego Zoo Celebrates 100 Years.” Lions, penguins, giraffes and other furry friends waved to the expected crowds of 100,000 as the lavishly decorated boats cruised along the edge of the mainland before turning to Coronado Island.

Following the parade, a cruise through the San Diego harbor yielded views of the San Diego skyline, the 2.1 mile-long Coronado bridge, and Coronado Island’s famous Hotel del Coronado.

Finally, Wednesday marked the beginning of Newport Beach’s 108th Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights. Following a fireworks display off the Newport Pier, Hornblower’s Endless Dreams cruised up and down Newport Bay along Balboa Island to offer guests unparalleled views of the festivities. Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade took to the water for the evening, carrying opening night Grand Marshall Mickey Mouse.

Pirate ships, parasailing Santas, reindeer, and even exploding volcanoes and fire-breathing dragons made circuits along the peninsula and around Balboa Island while guests aboard Hornblower’s Endless Dreams sipped champagne, dined on braised short ribs, delicate, flaky salmon, and red velvet cheesecake with berries with their choice of DJ or live jazz accompaniment.

Light parades continue this Sunday, December 18th in both Newport Beach and San Diego. In Newport, a special Parade of Lights Observation Cocktail Cruise features a boarding glass of champagne and complimentary appetizers as guests watch the parade followed by a closing night fireworks display off the Balboa Pier. San Diego’s Parade of Lights Buffet Dinner Cruise includes a boarding glass of champagne, a delicious holiday buffet dinner and scrumptious dessert buffet, all while cruising the beautiful San Diego Bay. Other Hornblower cruises in both cities have already sold out, so reserve your tickets today!

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