Captain Charlie Vogel
Argosy Cruises Team Member since 1971
Current Department: Vessel Operations
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Operating on the Seattle waterfront since 1949 (expanding to Kirkland in 1992 and South Lake Union in 1996), Argosy Cruises is a longtime part of the greater Seattle community. We are very fortunate to have staff with tremendous institutional memory and experience and more stories and history about the company than it seems humanly possible. They are our company's living treasures, and we're sharing one of them with you today: Captain Charlie.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and spent time in both the Twin Cities. My family moved to Seattle just in time for the 1965 Puget Sound earthquake. That was exciting!
What is your favorite Argosy Vessel to drive?
The Spirit of Seattle is great for people watching from the pilothouse. And the Goodtime III is nice since captains essentially have their own deck since the pilothouse is so high up on the boat.
As one of our main Harbor Cruise captains, you hear a LOT of narrations given by dozens of different crew members. For you, what qualities goes a good tour narration have?
It's important for narrations to have a consistent theme to refer back to -- gives the talk more of a story feel. At the same time, it's important to have the topics grounded in fact, but still be able to share the local urban legends, too. Our guests love those stories, after all. Building a connection with our guests is important as well. Encouraging passengers to go check out the sights they see on our tour is one way we do that.
On any of our cruises, a good narrator is going to be flexible with their tour, from minute to minute. Is the mountain out? Is there a ferry wake approaching? Where are those tugboats headed to? Are there sea lions on the mooring buoys? No tour is the same as the next, and timely details like these enrich the passengers' experiences.
What makes Argosy such a unique place to work?
It is a pretty special thing, not only in Seattle but anywhere, to have a maritime job where you can go home every night. I tried working in a shipyard when I was younger, and it was definitely not the same as working here. I earned my captain's license when I was 20 years old and have stayed with the company ever since.
I also really appreciate that Argosy's ownership is local. Again, there's just no place like home.
What is your favorite sightseeing cruise at Argosy?
After driving the 1-hour Harbor Cruises numerous over the summer it's a great change of pace to drive a 2-hour Locks Cruise. Also gives me a chance to do a little narrating myself once we get to the Locks.
If you could charter one of our boats for yourself, which one would it be and where would you go?
I see so much of the city during my Harbor and Locks shifts that I'd love to go do the opposite of that. I'd like to take the Lady Mary or maybe the Goodtime III and cruise over to Port Blakeley on Bainbridge Island, then head south to the backside of Blake Island. There's an amazing view of the Olympic Mountains.
As far as shifts of the past go, one of my favorite boats and trips to work on back in 1984 to 1987 was the runs to Hood Canal on the Spirit of Alderbrook, a high-speed catamaran that we operated. Crew would work these long runs from Seattle out to Hood Canal that included break time on the canal end. Great for swimming.
What's one of your favorite #ArgosyMoments?
Back in the 1980s Kenny Loggins had a family reunion cruise with us on Seafair weekend. At the end of our cruise as we were headed back into Elliott Bay, a pod of orcas came up around us and started breaching. It was incredible.