Halloween is over so I’m okay to chat about Christmas now right? Well with only 52days left to go to the BIG DAY it’s time to get organised! I love Christmas and everything about it; the lights, the buzz, the food the presents and most of all getting time to be with your family and friends. So the question is have you booked a Christmas night out yet? A few weeks ago AC Hotel at City Quays sent me an invite to check out their Christmas Cruise package here is why I honestly think it’s a fun and very different offering for a Christmas night out this year!

10th October I’m wearing a Christmas jumper and holding a cup of hot cider, my belly is full of Turkey and Ham and I have that Christmas feeling. Yes I’ve just had my first Christmas Dinner of the year. I arrived to AC Hotel at City Quays earlier in the day were I met lots of friendly and familiar faces we indulged in a champagne reception toasting the best of the season and moved up to a beautifully dressed private room. Twinkling lights draped across the windows looking out on a dark but iconic night the SSE arena and the Harland and Wolfe cranes are in the frame. Silver bells, Christmas crackers and personalised menus are on the table. Jean Christophe Novelli appeared on the screen welcoming us to the first Christmas Dinner of the season (he regrets not being there but is currently on the run, will explain this later.) and the welcoming staff of the hotel have drinks and conversation flowing.

Starter was served an amazing light but delicious cheese starlet with shallots and thyme marmalade I cleaned my plate and so did my dining partners, something a bit more exciting than the usual vegetable soup or melon! Next up the main; local turkey, ham hock with apricot and sage stuffing. Oh and of course the sprouts! Are you a sprout fan? I am not but everything else on my plate was perfectly cooked, moreish and visually pleasing. For dessert a twist on the traditional sherry trifle, a juicy, refreshing passion fruit and clementine trifle. A perfectly satisfying end to a delicious Christmas dinner but the night was not over just yet.

After all this was a Christmas Cruise package, so we donned our warm layers, Christmas jumpers, hats and other festive apparel and we walked out to AC Hotels Terrace which is minutes away from the Lagan Boat Company’s dock. Have you ever taken a tour on the Lagan boat? Have you seen Belfast from a different perspective, have you hired the party boat for a special occasion? Well this package provides both the party and the view you see the iconic buildings of Belfast lit up in the dark and the drinks and craic keep flowing!

And a little fresh air is welcome after a Christmas meal but this way means it doesn’t break up the party! After a tour around the Lagan we returned to the hotel for a delicious hot cider to warm as all up and to send us home feeling festive and very much spoilt! Sound like your kind of Christmas night out? Be quick and get it booked now before it’s too late, find out full details here: http://www.novellirestaurants.co.uk/belfast/

Emer D xx

Oh and as an aside are you a Jean Christophe Novelli fan well did you know what I meant when I wrote he’s in the run? That’s right Jean Christophe is taking part in Channel 4 programme Hunted for charity Stand Up 4 Cancer. Want to meet the men himself and indulge in a three course chefs menu then check this out.