6 Lake Tahoe-based cruises that offer wine, full bars

Autumn Whitney
Tahoe Tastings offers cruises aboard its 1953 Chris Craft Venetian Water Taxi known as the Golden Rose.
Provided / Tahoe Tastings

Summer at Tahoe means many things, but it is essentially synonymous with time spent on the lake itself. While few experiences beat an afternoon or evening cruising along the crystal clear water, it’s made better when you have a drink in hand.

Consider these six booze-included cruise companies when planning your next excursion on Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe Cruises

Tahoe Cruises hits the water with its 80-foot luxury yacht, the Safari Rose, offering a few different options for enjoying spirits on board.

The lunch cruise and Sunset Champagne Cruise include a guided tour of Tahoe’s West and South shores, along with stops in Emerald Bay and access to a full bar. There’s also the seasonal South Shore Sightseeing Cruise, which offers half-priced drinks throughout the trip’s duration.

But the true highlight is the near-weekly Sunset Winemaker Cruise: A different winery is the star on every excursion, which means you’ll never have the same experience twice. On each trip, a sommelier is on board to offer niche knowledge you won’t find elsewhere. On tap: Rancho Sisquoc Winery is highlighted on Wednesday, July 18, and Niner Wine Estates on Wednesday, July 25.

Each cruise leaves from Ski Run Marina. Learn more at

Tahoe Tastings

Cruises aboard the vintage Golden Rose specialize in wine. The 1953 Chris Craft Venetian Water Taxi departs from Tahoe Keys Marina and circles Emerald Bay prior to returning to South Lake Tahoe on each cruise.

Each journey allows attendees to taste eight different wines — including sparkling, whites and reds — from locations such as Napa Valley, Anderson Valley and El Dorado, Amador and Placer counties, among others. The lineup is hand-selected and each wine is exclusive to the winery tasting room and Golden Rose.

Tahoe Tastings offers both mid-day and sunset cruises. Visit for more information.

Tahoe Bleu Wave

According to its website, this 1966 Million Dollar Classic Yacht has traveled the globe and now resides on Lake Tahoe. The 79-foot vessel boasts a full bar, party bow and more, and services the entire lake.

Most of the cruises travel to Emerald Bay from Tahoe Keys Marina. Can’t make it this summer? Don’t worry: Tahoe Bleu Wave makes the trek year-round. Check out for details.

Cruise Tahoe

Cruise Tahoe invites guests aboard its 1950 wood cruiser, called The Tahoe, for one of its two excursions: the Emerald Bay Cruise and Vikingsholm Castle Walking Tour, or the Thunderbird Lodge Cruise and Tour.

The former includes a visit to Vikingsholm Castle (attendees disembark The Tahoe for a moderate, half-hour walking tour), and on the return journey patrons receive wine and light appetizers. The latter is a longer journey, and The Tahoe leaves the Zephyr Cove marina in the morning. Guests are able to purchase a Bloody Mary or Mimosa, view lakefront estates and learn Tahoe history as they travel to Thunderbird Lodge.

Visit for everything you need to know.

M.S. Dixie II and Tahoe Paradise

Zephyr Cove Resort and Lake Tahoe Cruises host a variety of on-the-water fun onboard the M.S. Dixie II, a 500-passenger paddle wheeler, and Tahoe Paradise, a two-story luxury yacht.

The M.S. Dixie II is home to both daytime and sunset cruises, as well as holiday cruises — check the schedule for all the details. On Saturday evenings this summer, the Tahoe Paradise sets off for the Sipping at Sundown Cruise, which features live music, a specialty cocktail menu, curated wine list and light hors d’oeuvres.

Check out for more information.

Tahoe Sailing Charters

Hop aboard a sailboat for an afternoon or sunset cruise courtesy of Tahoe Sailing Charters, based in Tahoe City. The company has called the basin home since 2004, and offers trips for guests of all ages. Its 50-foot sailboat, the Tahoe Cruz, sets sail both in the afternoon and at sunset.

Each ride includes beer, chardonnay, pinot grigio and non-alcoholic beverages for the under-21 crowd. The boat fills up quickly, so be sure to reserve tickets early.

Learn more at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.