Enjoy the season’s sights by ship or train

  • By Ashley Stewart Herald Writer
  • Friday, November 16, 2012 12:47pm
  • Life

There may be no place like home for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay inside.

Get out and celebrate the season over the water or through the snow with one or more of these festive activities.

Board a ship

The annual Seattle Christmas Ship Festival sets sail Nov. 24 to Dec. 23, inviting families to celebrate the holidays on the water several days each week.

There are different cruises for different experiences, so check the online schedule:

Family sails: The big Argosy Christmas Ship leads a nighttime parade of decorated private boats with choir performances and crafts for kids. An Argosy parade boat tags along too, with Santa on deck.

The ship parade cruises to different parks around Lake Union, Lake Washington, and cities on the Sound, including Edmonds on Dec. 4, stopping to sing carols for people gathered on the shore.

Cruise with Claus: Special Santa brunch cruises are slated for families with younger kids. On these mystery-themed cruises, passengers can help Santa solve the puzzling disappearance of his Christmas bag while enjoying a buffet brunch.

Family nights: The Parade Family Buffet Dinner Cruises set out early to make it back before bedtime.

The menu includes a Northwest-style menu for adults. Meals for kids include Chef’s macaroni and cheese.

Cocktail cruises: Ages 21 and older can hop aboard the Cocktail Idol Christmas Parade Boat and compete in teams to design a Christmas cocktail, which they have to present to judges with a song, dance, rap, poetry or other performance.

This event takes place only on Nov. 24, 30 and Dec. 21.

Dinner sailings: On the Royal Argosy Dinner Boat you can enjoy private tables, a live band and a three-course buffet.

The Christmas Ship Festival kicks off with a preview night and value night (that means a price break) from 7 to 9:40 p.m. Nov. 24. The ships, with Dickens Carolers aboard, depart from Lake Union Park.

Not all ships are available every weekend and the parade departs from different places each time.

Prices range from $12 up to $89 for various cruises. Children 3 and younger are free on all ships.

Seattle Christmas Ship Festival: Call 206-622-8687. For more information and reservations, check the website, tinyurl.com/christmasships.

Ride a paddle boat

The Queen of Seattle paddle wheeler will celebrate the holidays with Christmas Lights on the Lake.

Guests can steam along Lake Union and Lake Washington, spend some time with Santa, and enjoy a light display, holiday music and a dessert buffet.

The event is scheduled from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 7, 8, 21 and 22 and departs from South Lake Union Park. Boarding starts at 6 p.m.

Prices are $59 for adults, $29 for kids, and free for ages younger than 5.

Queen of Seattle’s Christmas Lights on the Lake: Call 425-898-2701; tinyurl.com/QoSchristmas.

Take a train

Board a snow train to Leavenworth for the Bavarian town’s annual Tree Lighting Festival with all the holiday trimmings: chestnuts roasting on an open fire, carolers strolling down the streets and sleigh rides with Santa.

Alki Tours offers the snow train trip to the event on Saturdays in December.

A continental breakfast is included and onboard entertainment povided by strolling musicians, magicians and Santa.

The train rolls through the snowy Stevens Pass and arrives in Leavenworth at about 12:30 p.m., leaving plenty of time before the tree-lighting ceremony at 4:30 p.m.

The snow train departs from the Everett Station, the Edmonds Station or the King Street Train Station in Seattle.

The trip is planned on Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22, but the lighting festival only happens on weekends through Dec. 16.

Coach seating is $169 for adults and $159 for children.

Premium seating is $199 for adults and $189 for children.

Dome seating is $239 for adults and $229 for children.

Leavenworth Snow Train: Call 206-935-6848; www.alkitours.us.

For information about the Leavenworth Tree Lighting Festival, see tinyurl.com/xmasfest.

Ashley Stewart: 425-339-3037; astewart@heraldnet.com.

Ships to shore

Even if you can’t take one of the Christmas Ship Festival sailings, you can enjoy the lighted boat parades and choir concerts at one of the parks.

The ships will be at Edmonds Fishing Pier from at 7 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 with the Shorewood High School Choir aboard.

Check the ships other stops at tinyurl/com/christmasships.

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