Everything you need to know about the Christmas Ship™ Festival experience
What is the Christmas Ship™?
The official Christmas Ship™, the Spirit of Seattle, leads the Christmas Ship™ Festival fleet of boats each sailing. When the Christmas Ship™ arrives at the designated parks, the choir on board sings a 20-minute concert which is broadcast to the surrounding boats and people onshore. Santa rides along to entertain, and a cruise director will guide you through the evening. Snacks, chowder, and beverages are available for purchase.
What is the Follow Boat?
The Follow Boat is another fully decorated Argosy Cruises boat that follows the Christmas Ship™ along the night's cruise route. It stops with the Christmas Ship™ to hear the choir sing to those on shore as broadcast from the Christmas Ship™. The Follow Boat is all ages and will only be available one night: Grand Finale, December 23 at 8pm.
What happened to the 21+ Follow Boat?
Due to scheduling and the interesting times we find ourselves in, the 21+ Follow Boat will not be available this season. We want to ensure that everyone who wants to experience this holiday tradition can do so without age restrictions. It is possible the 21+ experience will return in the future - stay tuned!
What is the Christmas Ship™ cancellation policy?
Guests who cancel 72 hours or more in advance of their departure date and time will be offered a 50% refund on the total amount paid for their booking (inclusive of taxes/fees). Cancellations less than 72 hours in advance will not be refunded. Future open credits will not be offered for any cancellations.
What is the Christmas Ship™ vaccination policy?
We are requiring proof of full vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for guests aged 12 and up effective October 13, 2021. We are also considering the safety of our younger guests (under 12) who cannot receive the vaccine at this time. Full vaccination means that at the time of your ticketed departure, it must have been at least two weeks since your second dose in a two-dose series, such as Pfizer or Moderna, or 14 days if you received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Learn more.
What will the boat set up look like this year?
The Christmas Ship™ boat set up will be very similar to previous years with seating offered on the first deck and on the second deck in front of the choir. Both areas offer great opportunities to enjoy the festive decorations, hear the choir performances, and have access to a full-bar for food and drink. We also encourage guests to visit the outer decks to enjoy the sights of fellow boaters and onshore bonfires.
This year's passenger capacity will be reduced compared to previous years. We also will not have a Kid's Crew area near the bow of the first deck to allow for chairs to be more spread out. Masks are required to be worn inside by all, regardless of vaccination status. We also ask that those on the second deck refrain from eating or drinking during the choir performance out of respect for the choir.
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 to ensure you are booked on the same date and time. You can also call to confirm that all parties are on the same boat.
What food and drinks will be available onboard?
We are so excited to share some of our favorite holiday drinks and snacks this year aboard the Christmas Ship™. Try the Christmas Ship™ Cosmo or the Peppermint Patty along with a bowl of Northwest-style creamy clam chowder. To check out what other goodies we have onboard, view the full menu.
Can I bring my peppermint mocha onboard?
Please, no outside food or beverages allowed onboard. The bar will have festive, specialty cocktails, local beer & wine, plus non-alcoholic beverages. Snacks, bites, and chowder will also be available to purchase on board.
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 as we sail rain or shine. Festive holiday attire is always encouraged!
What kind of shoes should I wear?
We recommend flat shoes that are not smooth-soled. While the boats are warm and comfortable, they do rock with the waves they are floating on. 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 find my tickets?
NEW! This year tickets will be available in the confirmation email you receive at the time of booking. We will not be printing and distributing ticket packets this year so be sure to save your confirmation email and be ready to present it to our onshore team at the time of boarding.
Does the cruise ever get cancelled?
We only cancel sailings 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?
It is not common, but we do like to warn parents that there may occassionally be more than one Santa on the dock during boarding times when we have multiple Argosy vessels sailing. We have often told our own children that they are Santa’s helpers who dress up and carry his messages, as he cannot be everywhere at once. Please know that there will be only one Santa on board your boat. It is not guaranteed that Santa will be on the Follow Boat.
Where do I park?
A full list of our departure locations and parking options can be found on our Christmas Ship™ Departure Locations Page.