General Cruising Tillicum Excursion Christmas Ship

General Cruising Questions

Accessibility. Are your ships handicap accessible?
Our crew is trained to help guests navigate both our docks and our vessels and are prepared to assist. Certain vessels in the fleet have more mobility limitations, so recommend calling ahead for specific concerns at 206.623.1445.

Accessibility Guidelines (PDF)

Animals/Pets. Are dogs or pets allowed on your boats?
Argosy Cruises only allows service animals aboard our vessels. Animals clearly not meeting the definition of a service animal are not permitted on an Argosy vessel or facility regardless of the business location or time of day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This would include, but are not limited to: dogs, cats, rabbits, reptiles, rodents, birds, etc.

Service Animal Guidelines (PDF)

Attire. What is the dress code?
Our docks and vessels do move around on the water, so we recommend our guests were low or no heels when joining us. We also recommend having a coat or light jacket should you want to stroll the outer decks of our vessels. If you are attending a private event through an individual or company, we recommend you check with your host as to the appropriate attire for your function.

Boarding. What is "Opening Time" and "Cruising Time?"
"Opening time" is the earliest our guests may board the boat. Typically we begin boarding 1/2 hour prior to the "cruise time." Certain special events may board earlier, and tours may board just 15 minutes prior to departure. Please check your ticket for the time that your boat will be open.

Cancellations. What is your cancellation policy?

Our public cruise tickets are non-refundable once purchased. Please be sure you have selected the correct tour, the correct date, the correct departure time and the correct number of tickets before completing your purchase. While tickets are non-refundable, with 72-hours notice we will do our best to accommodate your request for a new cruise date within six months of your original cruise date. We do not compensate for no-shows or late arrivals.

All special event ticket sales are final. No refunds or date changes are available and we do not compensate for no-shows or late arrivals.

Children. Can children cruise?
Children of all ages are welcome on all of our public tours with a few exceptions: Occasionally, we offer special event cruises that are for adults 21 and older. These are indicated on the specific event description. 

Cruise Route. Where do you cruise?
Tours all have set sailing routes, which may change slightly due to conditions. You can view all our tour routes here, as well as the individual routes on their respective tour pages. If you are on a private cruise, your ship's captain will generally make sailing route recommendations to the group leader.

Directions. How do I get to my boat?
Our Parking & Directions page has addresses and Google Map links for our main docking points as well as many other locations across Puget Sound and the lakes. We leave from many different ports depending on the cruise. Please feel free to call if you need clarification.

Gift Cards. How can I purchase/redeem gift cards?
Argosy Cruises gift cards are available for purchase and can be loaded with any dollar amount you choose. Gift cards may be purchased online or by calling 206-623-1445. Gift cards can be redeemed ONLY for booking tickets and services online, by phone, or at any of our Ticket Booth locations. Gift cards are unable to be used on board our vessels (refreshment bars or gift shops) or out at the Tillicum Excursion (refreshment bar or Longhouse Gift Shop).

Groups. What size group can Argosy accommodate?
Our boats and our event space on Blake Island can host parties of 2 to 800 guests. Parties can make their reservation online or by calling 206-623-1445. We also offer private charters aboard our other boats, please ask for our Sales Department if they can help you with any event from weddings and corporate events to holiday parties and school functions.

Husky Game Day Cruises
Restaurants in the Seattle area charter our vessels for Husky Game Day transportation. Tickets are available for purchase through these restaurants. Our vessels are also open during the game for beverage and snack service. Visit our Husky Football Sailgating page to learn more.

Menu. What type of food is served at Tillicum/Easter/etc?
Click here for the current Tillicum Village Excursion Menu. Menus for special events (such as Easter or Mother's Day) often vary, and are posted on our Theme Cruises page at the appropriate time of the year for those cruises.

Parking. Is there parking close to the boat?
Parking varies depending on the boat departure location. Please click here to get directions.

Payment. What type of payment do you accept?
Payment is required in full at the time of the reservation. We accept all major credit cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Union Pay, Diner's Club. We also accept traveler's checks and cashier's check. (No personal checks, please).

Note: Our AGC Marina (Lake Union) and Kirkland City Dock (Lake Washington) locations are cashless and can only accept credit cards and Argosy Cruises gift cards for payments.

Phones. Will my mobile phone work on the cruise?
Yes, your mobile phone will have reception on our vessels, on the majority of our cruising routes. For the comfort of other guests, we ask that phone conversations be held on the outside decks.

Pricing & Schedules
Prices listed on our website do not include service charges, fuel surcharges, or taxes. These are additional and paid at time of booking. Prices and schedules are subject to change.

Refund Policy. Do you offer refunds?

  • Tours and Tillicum Excursion:
    While there are no refunds, with 72-hours notice we will do our best to accommodate your request for a new cruise date or issue open credit (valid for 6 months). We do not compensate for no-shows or late arrivals. (Please see Special Event Refund Policy for Holiday and Theme Events.)
  • Special Event Cruises & Theme Cruises
    (Including Christmas Ship Festival, Holiday Cruises, Murder Mystery, etc) All special event ticket sales are final. No refunds or date changes are available and we do not compensate for no-shows or late arrivals.

Reservations. How can I make reservations for a cruise?
You may purchase tickets online for all of our public tours and special events, or you can call us directly to book a cruise at 206-623-1445.

Royal Argosy. Is your dining ship available for dinners or for charter?
No. We are no longer operating the Royal Argosy. 

Seasickness. Will I get seasick?
It is highly unlikely. Our boats sail in the calm waters of the inner harbor of Elliott Bay as well as the protected waters of Lake Union and Lake Washington. We do not go out into open ocean water. Weather conditions and the wakes of large vessels can move our boats about, something which our captains are prepared to accommodate during sailings.

Seating. Is seating reserved?
For sightseeing cruises, all indoor and outdoor seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For Tillicum Excursion, the cruise portion is a first-come, first-served basis.  Once you arrive at the island our hostess will seat your party. Guests are pre-seated for the show and meal cabaret-style.

Seawall. Will you be open during the Seawall Construction?
Yes! We are open as usual. See our Parking and Directions page for more specifics on how to get to our vessels and ticket booth on the Seattle waterfront at Pier 55.

Smoking. What is your smoking policy?
Per Washington State law, all of our vessels are non-smoking, including on the outer decks.

Terms of Conveyance. What terms to I agree to when I am on an Argosy Vessel?
All travel on any Argosy LP vessel is subject to the Terms of Conveyance, binding upon you as a passenger, expressly including limitations upon claims that may be brought relating to the conveyance, such as any claim of injury. By seeking and accepting passage, you agree to be bound by the Terms of Conveyance. Click here to read the Terms of Conveyance (487 KB PDF).  

Tickets/Boarding Passes. Where can I pick up tickets?
Boarding passes can be picked up at your cruising location prior to departure. Please check your confirmation letter for the exact departure location, as we have different boats in several locations around the city. If you need assistance, please call 206-623-1445 and reference your confirmation number.

Weapons Policy
For the safety of all guests, weapons (concealed or otherwise) are not permitted on Argosy Cruises’ property, including our visitor center, boats, and the Tillicum Village Excursion on Blake Island.  The only exception to this is law enforcement personnel in the performance of their official duties.  The presenter of a boarding pass consents to a reasonable search for weapons before entering.  If you are unable to comply with these conditions, then we will not allow you access to Argosy property. This is in adherence to Washington State law (RCW 9.41.300)(d).

Weather. Do you sail in inclement weather?
Absolutely. Our ships all have fully-enclosed areas on board and climate-controlled for your comfort. We sail rain or shine all year long. Captains may adjust routes to best manage conditions during sailing.

Tillicum Excursion FAQ

What is Blake Island?
Blake Island State Park was an ancestral campground of the Suquamish and Duwamish Indian Tribes and is believed to be the birthplace of Chief Seattle. The island was named after Captain George Blake, commander of the US Coast Survey vessel in 1837. Blake Island is located between Vashon Island and Bainbridge Island, eight miles west of Seattle in Kitsap County.

What is there to do on the island?
Blake Island is not only home to the Tillicum Village Excursion, but it is also the perfect place for hiking, camping and enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Pacific Northwest. The entire island is a Washington State Park and is densely wooded with many forested walking and hiking trails and 5 miles of beaches. There are 15.5 miles of both hiking and biking trails, as well as many recreational options such as diving, fishing, clamming, crabbing, beachcombing, bird watching and mountain biking. There are 51 campsites for overnight campers. Wildlife on the island includes deer, chipmunks, otter, squirrels, mink and many types of birds.

What does Tillicum mean?
Tillicum Village was named from the Chinook Indian jargon meaning "friendly people."

What will I be doing for the 4-hour Tillicum Village Excursion?
Your 4-hour adventure begins with an Argosy cruise on Puget Sound to Blake Island. Here, you'll enjoy an appetizer of clams and nectar before entering the Longhouse for your buffet meal. Guests can watch a spectacular demonstration as whole fish are cooked on cedar stakes over an alder-wood fire in the traditional way. As you finish your meal, you will enjoy a show of live dance and storytelling in the spirit of the Northwest Native Americans. After the show, you have approximately 30 minutes of free time you can use to browse through the gift gallery featuring artwork of local artisans, visit with the native dancers, or stroll along the pleasant beaches and forest trails.

How long is the boat ride on the Tillicum Village Excursion?
The cruise from Seattle's Pier 55 to Blake Island State Park and the Tillicum Village Excursion takes about 45 minutes.

Can I take my own boat to the Tillicum Village Excursion?
Blake Island is accessible only by tour boat or private boat. The park offers 1,500 feet of moorage and twenty-four mooring buoys, which are available for overnight boaters. Moorage fees are charged year round for mooring at docks, floats and buoys from 1 p.m. to 8 a.m. For information, call Washington State Parks at (360) 902-8844 or the information line at (360) 731-8330, or visit the Washington State Parks Boating Moorage website.

Can I just take the boat out to the island and not do the buffet meal and show?
Yes, tickets are available for the boat ride only to Blake Island. Please be aware that frequently there is only one boat per day, or per week, that returns back to Seattle so if you miss the boat then you are stuck on the island until the next scheduled trip (space permitting). It is your responsibility to catch the return boat at your reserved time. Please call Argosy Cruises at 206-623-1445 for pricing and availability.

What is the cost to have the meal and show if we find our own way to the island?
If you plan on bringing your own private boat to Blake Island and have reserved moorage through Washington State Parks, you can still purchase tickets for the buffet meal and show only at Tillicum Village Excursion. Please call Argosy Cruises at 206-623-1445 for pricing and availability.

My child won't eat fish, is there a separate children's menu available?
A children's menu is not available at the Tillicum Village Excursion, however, there are many dishes in the buffet so there are lots of options. See our menu section in the website for full menu options.

What restrictions do you have when camping on Blake Island and taking the Argosy boat over?
For individual campers, we kindly ask that you bring only camping gear that fits in a backpack or in your hands as there is limited space available on the boat. Please be considerate to those guests around you and place your camping gear out of the walkways. Explosives, weapons, firearms and propane tanks are not permitted.

Can we bring dogs on the boat ride over to the Tillicum Village Excursion?
No. With the exception of service animals, dogs and other pets are not allowed on the Argosy Cruises boat ride over to Blake Island and the Tillicum Village Excursion. Animals clearly not meeting the definition of a service animal are not permitted on an Argosy vessel or facility regardless of the business location or time of day, 24 hours, 7 days a week. This would include, but are not limited to: dogs, cats, rabbits, reptiles, rodents, birds, etc.

Service Animal Guidelines

For those providing their own transportation to the island, please observe State Park rules regarding pets. 

Can I take pictures during the dance show?
Flash photography is not permitted during the dance show.

What is the menu for the Tillicum Village Excursion?
Click here for our menu page.

If I'm just riding the boat, do I have to specify which departure back from the island I want to take?
Yes. If you will not be purchasing a ticket inclusive of the 4-hour experience including the boat ride, meal and show you will need to reserve a specific departure back to Pier 55 at the time of making your reservation. Please be aware that frequently there is only one boat per day, or per week, that returns back to Seattle so if you miss the boat then you are stuck on the island until the next scheduled trip (space permitting). It is your responsibility to catch the return boat at your reserved time. To purchase tickets for the boat only, please call Argosy Cruises Guest Services at 206-623-1445.

Do I have to pay to camp on the island?
Yes. There are 51 campsites for overnight campers at Blake Island State Park. This is a first-come, first-served park. No reservations are available. For camping information, call (360) 731-8330. For group camping requests, please contact Washington State parks at (888) 226-7688 or visit them online at Blake Island State Park.

Can I upgrade my CityPASS to the Tillicum Village Excursion?
Yes, you may upgrade your CityPASS to the Tillicum Village Excursion for $60 per adult, $23 per child. Please call Argosy Guest Services at 206-623-1445 for additional information and availability.

Christmas Ship™ Festival FAQ

What's the difference between a Follow Boat and the Christmas Ship™ (Lead Boat) itself?
The Christmas Ship™ (the Spirit of Seattle as Lead Boat) leads the Christmas Ship™ Festival boats (both Argosy vessels and privately-owned vessels who want to join in the fun) on holiday ship-to-shore caroling sailings. When the Christmas Ship™ arrives at a designated performance location, the choir on board has a 20-minute performance which is broadcast to the surrounding boats and people on shore. Santa rides along to entertain, and a cruise director guides passengers through the evening in activities and games (some with prizes!). The Christmas Ship™ has a kids' craft and activity area available and snacks, chowder, and beverages for purchase, or you can also pre-order boxed meals.

A Follow Boat is another Argosy Cruises boat that follows the Christmas Ship™ with the rest of the parade. It stops with the Christmas Ship™ to hear the choir sing to those on shore. Santa will be on board along with a cruise director guiding you through the evening and contests to win great prizes. The Follow Boat offers kids craft bags and has snacks and beverages on board for purchase, or you can pre-order boxed meals.

My friends and I made separate reservations, will we all be on the same boat?
If you are part of a group that has booked under separate reservations, check your confirmation letters for which vessel you are booked on (Spirit of Seattle, Goodtime II, etc). You can also call to confirm that all parties are on the same boat as there are often multiple Argosy boats going out each night.

Can I bring my peppermint mocha onboard?
There are no outside food or beverages allowed on board. There are snacks and beverages available for purchase on board, or you can pre-order boxed meals or chowder.

Wait! I'm running late!
Unfortunately we can't keep the scheduled performances and hundreds of people waiting. Please arrive with plenty of time to find parking and complete the boarding process. We pull the boarding ramp up promptly at the scheduled departure time.

How should I dress?
We recommend wearing warm, comfortable clothing and footwear (we recommend flat shoes that are not smooth-soled, stilettos are very strongly discouraged). Most guests enjoy both the indoor heated decks as well as the outdoor spaces. Please dress accordingly for both. Festive holiday attire is always encouraged!

What kind of shoes should I wear on the Christmas Ship™ or Follow Boat?
We recommend flat shoes that are not smooth-soled. While the boats are warm and comfortable, they do rock with the waves. If it is raining, the dock and the boat deck can be slippery. Please watch your step and be aware of rainy docks and the motion of the waves.

Where do I pick up my tickets?
Tickets will not be mailed out but are available the day of your cruise approximately one hour prior to departure. A ticket “will call” area will be designated at your departure location.

Does the cruise ever get canceled?
Only if the mayor or governor declare a state of emergency due to weather or other causes.

Is there ever more than one Santa on the dock or boat?
There will be only one Santa on board the Christmas Ship™ and on some Follow Boat sailings. We do like to warn parents that there may occasionally be more than one Santa on the dock during the boarding times. We have often told our own children that they are Santa's helpers who dress up and carry him messages, as he cannot be everywhere at once.