Seattle is known for its water activities and when the sun is shining, there’s nothing quite as fun as heading out on Lake Union to take in the sights and sounds of the Emerald City. Throw in a custom-built 50-foot pirate ship, a band of highly entertaining pirates, an old salt and some pirate booty and you’ve got one of Seattle’s most unique water attractions. So gather up your little buccaneers, it’s time to set sail with the Emerald City Pirates—Seattle’s newest and only full-time pirate ship cruise. Yo Ho Ho!
All Aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge
When you arrive at the ship, each swashbuckler (yep, that means you too, parents) will receive an official Emerald City Pirates vest to wear during your adventure along with any pre-ordered pirate garb (think plastic swords, eye patches, tee shirts and pirate bandanas) purchased at the time of booking. After you and your crew of seadogs get your pirate look on, it’s time to get your official pirate name determined by your birth month and the first letter of your name. Salty Dog Red Pearls, Danger Bones Fish Feet and Iron Sails Tuna Toes are just a few of the fun names you might encounter on your cruise. Little buccaneers can also get tattooed with an Emerald City Pirates temporary tattoo to complete their look.
Fire the Ship’s Water Cannons
After a short (and highly entertaining) safety briefing, it’s time to set sail on Lake Union and get down to pirate business, which in this case means learning how to work the 12 water cannons—six on the port side and 6 on the starboard side. For little swashbucklers, this is the best part of the cruise because this is when they can spray (and sometimes soak) lucky passersby in canoes, kayaks and other watercraft. Just be warned, mateys…. on windy days, those water cannons can fire back and soak the little pirates working them.
Dancing and Waving and Limboing. Oh My!
As you can imagine, riding a pirate ship through busy Lake Union gets you lots of stares and waves from passersby. Kids and adults will have fun waving to the people on shore and on the water and little buccaneers will enjoy giving those water cannons a few “test fires.” To keep the pirate merriment going during your cruise, the ship’s pirates will teach little swashbucklers how to move like pirates (with the help of some fun dance moves), how to talk like pirates and even how to limbo like pirates. We don’t know if pirates really do limbo, but your kids will have a blast seeing how “low” they can go.
The Search for the Missing Treasure
During your 70-minute cruise, the crew of highly entertaining pirates will tell you the story of Bonnie Bones (the pirate who took the ship’s treasure and left behind her name tag). Little mateys will even get to see the empty treasure chest and the left-behind name tag as well as help the crew look for Bonnie and the lost loot. As you approach Gas Works Park, the ship’s music will begin to intensify (think Pirates of the Caribbean) and everyone will catch a glimpse of Bonnie, zipping around the lake in her boat full of treasure. And like all good pirate ship cruises, this is when the captain will fire up the water cannons and let little swashbucklers take aim at Bonnie and recapture the stolen treasure. Once the loot is captured and brought on board, the ship’s crew will let little sea dogs open the chest and pick a treasure. Kids can choose from a host of pirate-themed trinkets (think eye patches, pirate rubber duckies, yo-yos and tattoos).
Adult Pirate Party Cruises
In addition to the Daytime Family Cruises, Emerald City Pirates offers Adult Pirate Party Cruises for ages 21 and over (perfect for a PEPS get-together or a mama’s night out), so party parents er pirates can also get their pirate on as they cruise the waters of Lake Union. These cruises are BYOC (Bring Your Own Cheer!), so you can bring your favorite adult beverages (in cans or bottles) and dance to the latest beats and old faves with the ship’s state-of-the-art sound system. We guarantee a raucous time will be had by all as you make your way through Lake Union and down the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Psst… all cruises are highly interactive and the band of merry pirates that will accompany you will have everyone up on their feet, shaking their pirate booty for the duration of the cruise.
Celebrate Your Birthday with a Band of Pirates
If your little pirate wannabe wants to celebrate his or her birthday on the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Emerald City Pirates offers birthday party packages on sailings before 5 p.m. Choose between the Birthday Mate’s Package or the Birthday Skallywag’s Package and enjoy a discounted rate on admission, a special sword for the birthday boy or girl, an eye patch and a pirate hat. Each child will also receive their share of treasure from the ship’s treasure chest. Check online for more details; regular private charter rates apply.
Good to Know:
1. Daytime Family Treasure Cruises take place on Saturdays and Sundays through May. During peak season (June, July and August), cruises will take place Mondays through Sundays and then return to Saturdays and Sundays in September through October 29, 2017.
2. Cruises take place rain or shine and there is no covered seating, so be prepared for weather conditions.
3. If you want to hook your little swashbucklers up with pirate garb, pre-order items when you make your online reservations and the crew will have it ready when you board. If you forget to pre-order, just tell the friendly pirates that you’d like to purchase a pirate pack when you arrive.
4. No outside food or drink is allowed on the cruise; however Emerald City Pirates does sell chips, soda and water alongside its pirate swag. Psst… sippy cups for the littlest landlubbers are fine with the captain.
5. Family Treasure Cruises last 90 minutes and include 20 minutes of boarding activities at the dock.
6. If you need to cancel 72 hours or more prior to your scheduled sailing time, Emerald City Pirates will, at their sole discretion, attempt to re-book you on another cruise within 90 days of your original booking. No cash refunds will be issued.
7. The pirates work very hard to make sure their cruises are a success. Gratuities are not expected, but they are greatly appreciated!
Family Treasure Cruise: $10/ Scallywags (0-18 mos.); $25/Wee Pirates (18 mos-14 years); $29/Salty Dogs (14-64); $25/Senior Salts (65 & up)
Adult Pirate Party Cruise: $29/person
Do you have a crew of pirate wannabes? Are you planning to set sail on the Queen Anne’s Revenge this summer? Tell us in the Comments below!
— Kristina Moy (all photos courtesy of the writer)