Located right in the heart of Seattle’s Waterfront, Argosy Cruises is that special activity that’s at once appeals to tourists and locals. For tourists, the cruise line serves as a way to sightsee quickly and from a unique vantage point. For locals, the cruises are a chance to get out on the water in style and maybe even learn something new about your town and its history. There are bars on the boats, too, and you can’t say the same about most other tours in town!
Argosy Cruises offers a number of different cruises on different sizes of vessels, from larger ships to smaller boats. Cruises can be a way to sightsee, but also a way to relax on the water, or even a holiday tradition.
The Harbor Cruise - Perfect for Visitors
For CityPass holders and most people visiting Seattle, the Harbor Cruise is the perfect option. It’s short. It’s sweet. It’s affordable and offered all year round. And you get to see all the quintessential sights of downtown Seattle in a one-hour tour, including the city skyline, the port, the stadiums and Seattle’s best water and mountain views. Locals probably won’t enjoy this cruise as much as others since they likely see these sights often, unless you’re really just looking to get out and enjoy some time on the water.
While the Harbor Cruise is a good overview, other cruises delve into specific parts of Seattle. These include cruises through the Ballard Locks, Lake Union, and Lake Washington, and offer a lot of appeal to both locals and visitors. Lake Union allows cruisers a quintessentially Seattle experience as you’ll see houseboats, Gas Works Park, and seaplanes landing and taking off from the lake. Lake Union is right at the heart of Seattle and serves as a recreational hub for all things water. Likewise, Lake Washington showcases another side of Seattle with Bill Gates’s home along its shores and the Bellevue skyline on view.
Going Through the Ballard Locks
However, one of the best cruises in Seattle—or anywhere—is the Locks Cruise. The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (also called the Ballard Locks since they’re in Ballard) help boating traffic pass between the Puget Sound and Lake Union and adjust for both a height difference between the two bodies of water as well as keeping the water separate as one is salt water and one is fresh. While anyone can go watch the Locks in action from the shore (and check out the salmon ladder there too), experiencing the Locks on a boat is far superior. Argosy Cruises goes right through the locks with the rest of the traffic so you’ll get to see what it’s like first hand. The cruise also travels along the Lake Washington Ship Canal (where the locks are located) and Lake Union, so you’ll get an up-close view at Seattle’s working waterfront, tugboats, floating homes and more.
Another truly unique way to get to know not only Seattle but the wider cultural history of the area is to join the Blake Island Excursion, which is the longest of Argosy’s cruise offerings and does not go all year round. Blake Island is located 45 minutes off of Seattle’s waterfront and a bit to the south. It’s thought to be the birthplace of Chief Sealth (otherwise known as Chief Seattle) and was a sacred island to the local Coast Salish tribes. Blake Island Excursions take cruisers out to the island where you’ll get to enjoy a traditionally baked salmon meal, a show put on by local tribes that teaches about their culture through dances, chants, and storytelling. After the show, you have a little time to explore the island’s beaches and trails before heading back.
Holidays and Special Cruises
Argosy also joins in the local holiday fun throughout the year with all kinds of themed cruises. Watch for Mother’s Day brunch, Easter brunch, and mystery cruises, but the best of the best holiday cruises come after Thanksgiving—the Christmas Ship Festival.
The Christmas Ship Festival is actually a collection of cruises that depart from ports up and down the Puget Sound. Each cruise is headed up by the Christmas Ship—one of the largest Argosy boats decked out in lights—and followed by usually a second Argosy ship and any other boats that want to join in. Some ports end up with a big following of boats, often also decorated with lights. The lead ship blasts holiday tunes along the way. When the ships arrive at their second port, a choir on the Christmas Ship sings to those on the ship and the music is broadcast to those on other ships as well as to people waiting on the shore (there are always people waiting on shore for the Christmas Ship to arrive). It’s a unique way to celebrate the holidays and a lot of fun to boot!