Steamboats remain a safe means of combining modern entertainment and 19th-century transportation, unlike the once popular yet devastating Oregon Trail reality TV show. Celebrate the past and present with today’s Groupon: for $49, you get a 3-hour holiday-lights cruise from the Queen of Seattle Paddle Wheel Cruises (a $79 value). Customers may start boarding at 6 p.m. Choose from the following dates:
- Saturday, December 10, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Friday, December 16, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Saturday, December 17, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.<p>
After shoving off from south Lake Union, the Queen of Seattle puffs through the waters, affording passengers festive views of twinkling nests of lights lining the shore. While wintry wonderlands slip by outside, DJs spin seasonal tunes and dance-worthy beats as passengers celebrate with holiday-themed dances moves such as the mashed potato. Regiments of sugary treats arrayed in tongue-tempting rows march from dessert buffets to mouths. Santa jollily announces the winners of prize drawings, bubbling over with uncontrollable shouts of “ho, ho, ho” as he hands out each gift. Guests lounge in business-casual attire, though the Queen encourages costuming oneself after midwinter’s most iconic figures, be it Frosty, Rudolph, or Danny Kaye.
The Queen authentically evokes a bygone era with original 1884 steam engines and an 1890s-themed interior, her impressive girth making her one of the largest paddle wheelers west of the Mississippi. Though they are not included in the Groupon, steamboaters may purchase holiday libations from the on-board service stations while wandering the ship’s four decks, two of which are enclosed and heated.
Queen of Seattle Paddle Wheel Cruises
The Queen of Seattle was built in the early 1980s—about a century after the era after which she's styled. For many years the vessel transported sightseers across the Sacramento River, under the name Elizabeth Louise. She briefly relocated to Alaska before finding her home in Seattle, where she has ferried private, public, and charter passengers across Lake Union and Lake Washington Ship Canal waters. Her tours are known for blending historical narration with on-board cabaret-style entertainment.
The 275-passenger ship is a unique sight on Seattle's waterways, fully evoking the late 1800s with steam-powered rear paddles and a staff that dons period costumes. Below deck, a viewing area unveils the ancient secrets behind the boat's actual 1884 reciprocating steam engines, allowing guests to watch the mighty pistons whistle while they work or take occasional smoke breaks.