Mike O’Toole started the Gondola Getaway in 1981 as a marketing project at U.S.C.. Upon graduation in 1982, Mike obtained an 18-foot replica of a Gondola that at the time was being used as a rose garden for a home on Naples Islands. It was old yellow that was once the old Hearsey Duck Hunting Club. Mike rebuilt it and started operating cruises from Seaport Village behind the Jolly Roger. The business was a one-boat operation with the office being the small telephone like booth out by the now 1000 ft. dock. In the beginning years, the dock was a half sunken 25 ft. piece of wood that would be ankle deep on a good surge, meaning the gondolier would have to be barefooted at all times. From the start cheese, salami, and bread was served on a one-hour cruise through the canals of Naples on board an electric powered Gondola.