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Retro Boat Rentals Take to the River This Weekend

Sea Suite Cruises expands its river leisure cruise fleet with the launch of rare, vintage-style, eco-friendly boat rentals, adding to the return of Tiki Club RVA and Paddle Club RVA.




Sea Suite Cruises announces the launch of Retro Boat Rentals RVA, a new and stylish way to explore the James River! These meticulously maintained, vintage-style electric boats featuring fanciful fins and headlights, retro-cool colors, and chrome details offer a sleek, eco-friendly river cruising experience and the perfect opportunity to see and be seen out on the James. Boats are also equipped with biminis to provide shade on hot, sunny days. Rental season starts June 1, 2024 and runs through the fall, docking from Rocketts Landing.

Sea Suite Cruises fleet of rare, classic fiberglass runabout boats from the jet-age era (1958-1963) has been lovingly restored and fitted with modern, electric motors. These quiet, environmentally-friendly engines ensure a smooth and peaceful cruise, allowing passengers to soak in the sounds of nature and beauty of the historic James River. Boats are also equipped with a bluetooth speaker for those who want to enjoy some music on their cruise.

“The mission of Sea Suite Cruises RVA is to provide a suite of unique nautical offerings for Richmonders to enjoy, and Retro Boat Rentals RVA is the next step in that evolution,” says co-owner Jack Maher. “While Paddle Club RVA and Tiki Club RVA having been making waves since 2022 and are perfect for larger group gatherings, celebrations, and individually ticketed cruises with a licensed captain and a first mate at your service, we wanted to introduce a more intimate, chic offering for the adventurer who wants to be their own captain,” Maher adds.

With a maximum capacity of four people, Retro Boat Rentals RVA are ideal for any occasion, including date nights, fun family outings, photo opps, special celebrations, relaxing getaways with friends, or on-the-water-picnics. (Island Shrimp Co. at Rocketts Landing is just steps away and available for food and wine takeout to bring on board.) At Sea Suite Cruises Washington, D.C. location, retro boat rentals have even become a popular spot for proposals!

Boaters are also welcome to bring their own food and beverages (BYOB) – beer, wine, seltzers, canned cocktails, and champagne are permitted (21+).

No captain’s license or boating experience is required to rent these boats. The retro boats are easy to drive and anyone age 21+ with a valid driver’s license can rent them for a 90-minute cruise (max speed of 4.5 miles/hour) on the James River. Sea Suite Cruises provides on-site training to ensure that every guest feels confident and safe while navigating the river. (The driver of the vessel must abstain from alcohol to ensure a safe experience for everyone.)

Starting June 1, 2024, Richmonders and RVA visitors can rent these stunning retro boats by booking online.

In addition to Retro Boat Rentals RVA, Sea Suite Cruises will once again offer Tiki Club RVA and Paddle Club RVA for the 2024 season. Available for private charters and public tours, Tiki Club RVA offers a “tropical vibes” excursion on a custom-built, 40-foot BYOB tiki boat equipped with coolers and fridges to keep your drinks cold and plenty of space to set up your snacks of choice. Alternately, Paddle Club RVA combines sipping-and-cycling as participants hop on a custom-built, 30-foot pontoon “cycleboat” and paddle their way down the James while enjoying relaxing water views. Paddling is optional – the boat has a motor that can take over if you’d rather do more sipping than cycling. (FAQ: Both Tiki Club RVA and Paddle Club RVA are equipped with a private bathroom on board for guest’s use.)

Whether you’re planning a romantic evening, a fun celebration, or a simple day on the river, Retro Boat Rentals RVA offers a unique, picture-perfect, sustainable way to explore the James and create memories on the water.

For more information or to make a reservation, please visit Sea Suite Cruises’ website at or

Group Size: Up to 4 people
Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes

PRICING (by the boat)*:
Monday-Thursday: $150
Friday-Sunday: $200
*Pricing may change for holiday weekends.

4708 Old Main St, Richmond | On the dock at Rocketts Landing beneath The Boathouse and Island Shrimp Company

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.