When I planned my husband‘s surprise birthday party back in February, I knew I wanted it to be pretty special. And since he loves boating and the water, I decided to look for a luxury yacht to rent for an intimate dinner party with my four kids and their spouses.

I was lucky enough to find Teal Cruises and their yacht, Festiva, out of Atlantic Highlands.

I meticulously planned every detail for Feb. 8th, but my plans were scrapped when pretty much everyone in my household was down with COVID-19. I halfheartedly rescheduled the party for June 7, this past Monday night, but it just seemed anti-climactic. A party in June for a birthday in February seemed lame.

It turned out to be the best night of my life because, behind my back, my four kids and their spouses hijacked the party and turned it into a dual surprise celebration for both my husband and me who were hitting milestone birthdays six months apart. The 10 person party turned out to be a huge celebration with all of our family aboard and a handful of friends, too.

My kids planned everything with the help of the kind and accommodating staff of the Festiva. And a yacht is nothing without its staff.

Photo provided by Rich Moore - Owner/Captain, Teal Cruises

They were nothing less than perfect. Teal Cruises was amazing; working with me (and my duplicitous kids) the entire time, orchestrating the party like double agents to make the duo surprise happen. Everett Moore, captain and co-owner of Teal Cruises, had a hard time keeping track of who he was talking to when I would email him and then my kids would contact him to completely expand all the plans I was making with him.

It’s a memory I will cherish and I owe it all to my kids—and of course to the wonderful owners and staff of the amazing Teal Cruises—the Moore and Yerves families. These are two dedicated families who have teamed up to create a premier floating venue for any occasion and I promise you will love it.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi Franco’s own.

Dennis is putting the garden in ‘The Garden State