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What’s the Difference Between “Boarding Time” and “Departure Time”?

When visiting our website and checking out the cruises we offer online, a question guests often ask is, “What’s the difference between ‘boarding time’ and ‘departure time’?” Having multiple times listed for each cruise on our website can be confusing so we decided to make it as easy as possible by answering this question in detail.

For each of the cruises listed on our website, there are three different times listed under the Departure section for each cruise page: Boarding, Departure and Return.

Boarding Time is the earliest guests may board the vessel.

Departure Time is the time of the cruise’s departure from the Departure Location.

Return Time is the time the vessel will return to the dock and officially end the cruise.

Guests are free to board their cruise any time after the scheduled Boarding Time and up until the Departure Time. We recommend guests give themselves plenty of time for parking and getting to the vessel. Each cruise leaves promptly at the listed Departure Time. Once the vessel leaves the dock and is underway, guests will not be able to board.

In addition to listing the Boarding, Departure and Return times on our website for each cruise, guests can also find the name and address of the Departure Location. The Departure Location is where the cruise will be departing from. Most of our cruises depart and return to the same location. There are times when a cruise’s Departure Location will be different from where the vessel will return to at the end of the cruise. An example of this would be our popular Locks, Lakes and Lunch Cruise offered in July, which is a one-way cruise from the Waterways HomePort in Seattle to Shilshole Marina.

Most of our cruises depart from the Waterways Cruises HomePort, located in Seattle along North Northlake Way, on the north end of Lake Union, close to Gas Works Park. Depending on the day and time of a cruise, our cruises may also depart from other ports such as the Kirkland City Dock, Carillon Point located south of downtown Kirkland, South Lake Union Park and Shilshole Marina in Ballard. When trying to figure out when and where your cruise is departing from, be sure to check the Departure section on the cruise page for details.