A progressive dinner party is especially suited for marina life. It can take the guise of an elaborate themed party or a simple affair. However, principles remain the same, each host boat would prepare their contribution ahead of time so they can join in on the guests as they move from boat to boat. Participants choose a course to prepare at home or in their galley. If more boats want to participate, double-up on courses. As a minimum, you would want at least 4 boats to participate with an appetizer, soup/salad, main course and dessert. MarineMax Lifestyles Magazine offers make-ahead and make on board recipes that work for dining aboard.
Anticipate on spending 30 to 45-minutes at each boat which means you’ll want to start early enough to have the main course at a reasonable hour. Plan on a cushion between boat visits for people to move to the next boat. You may want to designate a “shepherd” to move the flock along, especially as the dinner progresses. It is somewhat important to keep on a schedule so boaters that want to drop by for one or two courses will know when to arrive at the designated boat.
A progressive dinner party is a great way to get marina neighbors to get to know each other. For larger groups, the progressive dinner can start appetizers at a designated location, such as the picnic area or tiki bar and then move onto the boats in a round-robin fashion.
The most successful progressive dinner parties, whether on boats or in homes, starts with a great theme. Throwing a progressive dinner around holidays makes the choice of themes easier-a romantic theme in mid-February, Cinco De Mayo in May, patriotic in July, dog days in August, football in September, spooky costumes in October. You can also pick a cuisine such as Italian, German, Mexican, Thai- be creative!
The cost of a progressive dinner party onboard can vary dramatically. It is best that everyone agree on a spending limit so no one is put out. Using environmentally disposable plates, cups and utensils make clean-up easier. Be sure to have containers on hand for leftovers. Ask guests to return to each vessel that they would like to take home any remaining courses that they like.
It is to be expected that guests will want to be served libations throughout the progressive dinner. Remember that although guests may not necessarily be driving, boarding and debarking to and from vessels can be tricky and you don’t want to be fishing guests out of the “drink.”
Visit your local MarineMax store to see the latest models and plan a progressive dinner party of your own.