Paradise Cycle Boat Cruises owners Michael and Deborah Passero are committed to supporting and serving the community of Marco Island with their boat tour business—the newest on the island.
The Passeros started their cycle boat tour business last October and were enjoying steady growth prior to the Coronavirus Pandemic. With things opening back up, the energetic couple is eager to make a difference on the island with their unique cycle boat.
“We’re in our retirement,” began Deborah, “we wanted to do something with the community. We really wanted to serve. I’ve worked with the Y as a fitness director for 6 years. And Michael’s always been in hospitality. We found this is a great collaboration of hospitality and fitness. We really are going to cater to the families. To give them a really healthy experience, to help them get to know the area. My father was a fisherman here for 40 years. We just really enjoy being with people.”
The cycle boat was custom built for the Passeros and delivers a realistic cycling experience for its passengers.
“This is a custom–built 35’ pontoon cycle boat by Trident Pontoons just north of Orlando,” explained Michael Passero. “We wanted a patriotic theme. Red, white and blue—we to support our country. This design we have is state of the art. The cycling stations are totally tied into propelling the paddlewheel. The paddlewheel lowers and raises, so we can create the resistance people feel on the pedals.”
Michael has developed a system for setting the pedaling resistance for his passengers.
“I kind of the read the currents, the tides, the winds and the smiles on their faces to create the resistance they might enjoy,” he said with a smile.
True to her Y days, Deborah leads a morning fitness session that has been popular.
“We have a fitness class in the morning that is true fitness,” Michael said. “They want to go without the motor. Then sometimes we add the motor and they do exercises, from bar exercises to free dancing, to upper body strengthening. So we do a really good one–hour workout.”
The cycling station is the heart and soul of the boat. Its comfortable bicycle seats are arranged around an attractive counter that has several sleek built-in coolers and cup holders for each passenger. Passengers bring their own food and drink and comfortably enjoy a nice lunch or dinner while pedaling along. What a concept.
“It’s BYOB, we have built-in coolers,” Michael said. “Because of this layout, it invites interaction. We promote BYOB, we just don’t promote that it’s a booze cruise.”
On this particular day, the Passeros hosted two families whose kids dance together.
“Today was an awesome audience because there were two families, but they’ve been close, they’ve been living together,” said Michael. “They were aware of social distancing, but since they live together, the ten were perfect for the boat. We have the accessories of having a full stand up bathroom on board, with fresh running water and handwashing.”
“It was fantastic, best time ever,” said Chris Hull, who spoke for the families. “Very nice people; down to earth. Great music, lots of fun, educational—they taught us about the bays and inlets. We saw dolphins. They even knew the dolphins’ names. The seating was good. You get to pedal a little for exercise, drink and eat. The pedaling is legit.”
Paradise Cycle Boat Cruises operates out of Rose Marina. They are currently offering 15% off any cruise $35 or more. They are also honoring front line workers, but there’s more.
Deborah Passero explained it best: “Not only do we offer front line workers a discount, we’re giving out two free tickets in the Marco/Naples area if someone nominates a front-line worker on our Facebook page. The person who is nominated gets two free tickets. We’ve had a couple of doctors on board. They don’t usually get recognized for all that they do. But these times of COVID has brought it to everyone’s attention to put those people in their place of respect. And to thank them for what they do.”
And what the Passeros want to do is to be involved in the community.
“We support local and they support us,” said Deborah.
You can contact Paradise Cycle Boat Tours at 239-300-8176 or paradisecycleboat.com.