History Cruise

COVID-19 UPDATE (as of August 2020): Due to the governor’s Safe Start plan and limitations on group activities, our 2020 History Sunset Cruise season has been canceled. Stay tuned for a potential virtual waterfront history tour, otherwise, we’ll see you next summer!

Our popular History Sunset Cruise sails into its 37th year this summer! Partnering with San Juan Cruises, we are offering our popular summer cruises on Tuesday nights from late June through early September.

This is the place to learn everything you need to know about the history cruises, including information about location, times, and parking.

About the Cruise

The tour takes a close-up view of parks, businesses, industry, and neighborhoods from Bellingham Bay. It travels down waterways, sailing past historic points of interest, shipyards, and fishing activities, as well as work boats, pleasure boats, freighters, and tugboats in the harbor. Harbor seals and water birds are regularly seen—it’s a memorable evening!

San Juan CruisesOur history cruises are narrated by either Brian Griffin or Doug Starcher, local historians who tie their knowledge of local history with up-to-date facts about bay activities. Their narrative of history, trivia, and current events makes cruise guests feel like they are becoming experts on their community, and gives new understanding of the place they live in, or are visiting.

Guests travel aboard the 100-foot Victoria Star, which leaves from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven. The boat has indoor and outdoor seating on two levels, an on-board snack bar, and a full bar with a selection of Northwest beers, wines, and cocktails. Restrooms are available on board. Guests can bring their own picnic dinner, snacks, and beverages (non-alcoholic) for a picnic-style dinner while cruising.

What are the dates of the History Sunset Cruises?

We will not have any sailings in 2020. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Please note that the narrator lineup for each sailing is not guaranteed. Tickets remain nontransferable between dates even in the event of a narrator change.

What time does the cruise begin and end?

The cruise boards at 6:15 pm, departs promptly at 6:30 pm, and returns to the dock around 8:30 pm.

Where can we buy tickets?

Tickets go on sale June 23, 2020. You may purchase tickets through Brown Paper Tickets, by calling 800.838.3006 ext. 1, or in-person, Wed.-Sun., noon-5pm, at the Museum Store located at 250 Flora Street, Bellingham, WA 98225. Ticket sales end at noon on the day of sailing. Walk-on tickets may be available at the dock prior to sailing, but are not guaranteed.

How much are tickets?

Whatcom Museum Member ticket: $30

Non-member ticket: $35

Children 5 and under free with pre-registration (Please let us know if children 5 years old or younger are boarding with you when you purchase tickets as we need to include them in the head count)

Group rate: $28 per person for blocks of 12 or more tickets when purchased together

Proceeds from the History Sunset Cruise benefit Whatcom Museum exhibitions and educational programs.

Where is the boat located?

San Juan Cruises is located at Bellingham Cruise Terminal / Alaska Ferry Terminal in Fairhaven, Bellingham, WA 98225. Map & Driving Instructions. Parking is available on the street, or in a lot in front of the terminal building. The Port of Bellingham charges $0.50/hour for parking in the large lot with numbered spaces about 30 yards in front of the terminal building. Overnight parking is $6/day. There is free parking for up to 2 hours in front of the terminal.

Can we bring food?

Yes you may bring dinner/snacks/beverages but may not bring your own alcohol. Beer, wine, and cocktails sold on board only. Snacks are also available for purchase at the snack bar on board.

Are dogs allowed on board?

Dogs are not allowed on the History Sunset Cruises.

Is the Victoria Star boat wheelchair accessible?

The dock at the ferry terminal has a ramp to the boat that is wheelchair accessible. San Juan Cruises staff will assist wheelchairs loading onto the boat and can accommodate for seating once on board.

Can I get a refund on my History Cruise ticket?

No refunds, sorry. History Cruises are a fundraiser for the Whatcom Museum and proceeds from ticket purchases support exhibitions and education programming on our downtown campus. If you cannot attend and would like to gift your ticket to someone else, we’re happy to change the name on your reservation; please call and let us know at 360.778.8930.

Can I change my reservation date?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate reservation changes.

What if it is raining?

The cruise will depart rain or shine. There is covered seating on the boat.

Will we be able to hear the history narrator if we sit inside?

Yes, there are speakers throughout the boat.

Are children allowed?

Of course! Ages 5 and under are free with pre-registration. Ages 6+ regular ticket pricing applies.

Still have questions? Call the Museum’s general info line, 360.778.8930 or send us an email.