Christmas Ships Set Sail In Puget Sound

Argosy Cruises invites you to join in the nautical holiday fun.

For the past 62 years, a great spectacle has drawn Seattleites to the banks of Puget Sound — despite the cold, rainy winter weather. The Argosy Christmas Ship Festival is one of our city’s longest-running holiday traditions — and with hundreds of participants, the event is considered the largest floating ship festival in the world.

During the festival, which runs from Saturday, Nov. 26 to Friday, Dec. 23, the Argosy Christmas Ship leads a small flotilla of holiday-themed vessels to visit more than 45 of Seattle’s waterfront communities.

As the anchor is dropped, choirs stationed onboard the vessels will regale onshore audiences with carols and Christmas cheer, courtesy of a state-of-the-art speaker system. City residents are invited to hop aboard one of these vessels, where they can mingle with Santa Claus, enter a “Ho, Ho, Ho” cheering contest and enjoy non-stop sing-a-longs. Tickets ($25 — 35) are available online. Private boat owners are welcome to decorate their vessel with festive lights and join in the floating festivities, as well.

The maiden voyage will depart Lake Union Park at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26, and visit MOHAI (Montlake Cut) at 7:40. Later destinations include Seattle Yacht Club (Sunday, Nov. 27), Seward Park (Monday, Dec. 5), Olympic Sculpture Park (Friday, Dec. 9), Alki Beach Park (Saturday, Dec. 10), Madison Park (Saturday, Dec. 17), Warren G. Magnuson Park (Wednesday, Dec. 21) and Waverley Beach Park (Thursday, Dec. 22). The final journey will reach Gas Works Park at 9:45 p.m. on Friday, dec. 23. A full schedule is available online.

Want an even better view of the parade? Reserve a table on the Royal Argosy Dinner Cruise that follows the parade on selected nights. The meal features smoked salmon spread, butternut squash salad and holiday buffet that includes oven-roasted red potatoes, Penn Cove mussels and clams, pasta primavera, Chef-carved honey baked ham and rosemary-crusted turkey. The schedule for Dinner Cruises — as well as other activities, such as the Santa Brunch and Murder Mystery Cruise — is available online, along with booking information.

All proceeds from ticket sales are donated to the Seattle Times Fund for the Needy, which benefits several charities around the Puget Sound.

Argosy Christmas Ship Festival (times/locations vary)| Saturday, Nov. 26 — Friday, Dec. 23