For New Year's Eve, I took the standard gondola cruise: with a young couple, a thermos full of coffee, and a reliable watch so I could tell them exactly when to kiss. The temperature was in the high 40's with no wind.
It was a great cruise, and quite similar to the ones I've done on many past New Year's Eves.
New Year's Day was a nice treat and quite a bit different: we had a wedding on board.
The bride and groom and I were on the Wedding Gondola with a photographer, while the wedding guests rode on two of our canopied motorized gondolas.
Gondola weddings aren't that unusual here but two things really set this one apart:
1. the groom was a professional wedding photographer, and the designated photographer on board with us was his daughter - suffice it to say that the two of them gave the gondolier a lot of "challenges".
2. the gondolier was Tyson from Sunset Gondola in Huntington Beach (see http://www.sunsetgondola.com/). Because it was New Years Day and I was saddled with the job of officiating the wedding ceremony, we had a shortage of gondoliers, so I pulled a favor from a friend and could not have been happier. Tyson had never rowed the Wedding Gondola before and he piloted her like an old pro.
He put up with the many demands from the "photo peanut gallery" (which also included me), and rowed like the professional he is.
Nice work Tyson, I'm glad I picked up the phone.
In the end all the gondoliers did a great job, the bride and groom exchanged their vows with their best friends and family looking on, and everyone on board had a blast.
After the ceremony, I turned around and rowed a bit in the forward station. As we were in our final approach to the dock, Tyson looked over at the other two gondolas and said "Hey Greg, I think we can take 'em", so we stepped it up a bit and overtook two motorized gondolas. Too much fun.