🚢The 3 Best Seattle Harbor Cruises [2024 Reviews]

Seattle may be known for its tech companies or grunge music, but it’s also one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Due to its location right on the sound, you’re able to see gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains, the water, and much more. However, for the best views, we highly recommend going on an actual tour.

These tours are led by experienced guides who know just the route to take for the best views possible and are well worth your time and money. We’ve done the hunting for you, in order to bring you the top Seattle harbor tours!

Best Seattle Harbor Tours

Seattle Harbor Cruise with Live NarrationTall Sailboat Sunset Seattle Harbor Cruise2-Hour Seattle Sailing Harbor Tour

Best Budget Cruise

Best Sunset Cruise

Best Sailing Cruise

editors choice
Seattle: Harbor Cruise with Live NarrationEvening Colors Sunset Sail Tour in Seattle2-Hour Seattle Sailing Harbor Tour
Departure:Pier 55 on the Seattle WaterfrontPier 66 on the Seattle Waterfront2201 Alaskan Way, Seattle
Start:Variety available6:00 PM 12:00, 3:00 PM
Duration:1 hour2 hours2 hours
Includes:Narrated cruiseSunset cruise, 2 bathroomsHarbor cruise, restroom on board

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Quick Answer: The 3 Best Rated Seattle Harbor Cruises For 2024

  1. Best Budget Cruise: Seattle Harbor Cruise with Live Narration
  2. Best Sunset Cruise: Tall Sailboat Sunset Sail Tour in Seattle
  3. Best Sailing Cruise: 2-Hour Seattle Sailing Harbor Tour

Seattle Harbor Cruise Reviews

1. Best Budget Cruise: Seattle Harbor Cruise with Live Narration

Seattle: Harbor Cruise with Live Narration

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Departure: Pier 55 on the Seattle Waterfront
  • Departure Time: Variety available
  • Includes: Narrated cruise

Are you searching for a tour that is compact yet packs in a lot of pristine views and relaxation? Then do yourself a favor and sign up for the Seattle Harbor Cruise with Live Narration.

If it’s your first day in Seattle and you’d like to see more of the area to get acquainted, this one is hard to beat. Lasting just 1 hour, it’s easy to fit into even the busiest of schedules.

Meet the crew at Pier 55 on the Seattle Waterfront which is easy to access. You can either use the parking right on the pier, or park on the street close by.

You’ll be escorted onto the vessel by the crew, and meet your guide. These guides are incredibly knowledgeable, and are always willing to share much more information about the city than meets the eye.

Not to mention, you’ll even get to try some food samples like Seattle’s signature clam chowder!

Start out from the waterfront, which is located right downtown. You’ll get unobstructed views of the city skyline while seeing some of its most stunning sites. The Space Needle is typically the most iconic part of that skyline, which has quite the background!

Breathe in the fresh air and smell of the sea as your guide tells you all about the history of the harbor and Seattle, in general. If you have any specific questions about the area, don’t hesitate to ask your guide as they’ll likely have a good answer or recommendation for you.

Seattle is famously rainy, and while absolute downpours aren’t quite as common as a constant drizzle, there are both covered/indoor viewing areas and an open deck. You may even catch site of whales!

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

2. Best Sunset Cruise: Tall Sailboat Sunset Seattle Harbor Cruise

Evening Colors Sunset Sail Tour in Seattle

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: Bell Harbor Marina Office on Pier 66
  • Departure Time: Variety available
  • Includes: Restroom on board

If you’re looking for a wonderful way to spend your evening, look no further! The Tall Sailboat Sunset Sail Tour in Seattle is one of the most stunning experiences, with Seattle’s incredible sunsets in full splendor.

With an incredibly knowledgeable and professional crew, you’ll be sure to want to book this one again! Meet at Bell Harbor Marina Office on Pier 66, which is centrally located downtown, on the waterfront.

You’ll depart from Bell Harbor Marina which is right next to Anthony’s Restaurant. The crew will then provide a briefing as to what you can expect, and escort you onto Seattle’s Tall Ship.

This ship will give you a very authentic sailing experience in Elliot Bay. They’ll let you help hoist and lower the sails, which only adds to it.

Check out the Seattle Waterfront in its entirety, and the city skyline with the iconic Space Needle sticking out on the side of Belltown.

Depending on the weather, you’ll oftentimes be able to see the massive Mount Rainier in the distance. This is more likely to happen in the summertime, as there are less clouds and rainfall.

The waters also hold wonders, such as the orcas that the Puget Sound is famous for and the yellow jellyfish that live here.

You’ll then stop so everyone can sit and enjoy the magnificent sunset. Seattle sunsets really are like anything else, with the light gleaming off the water and setting behind the mountain range.

While the crew does provide comfortable blankets, it’s always a smart idea to grab a jacket and head covering as it can get pretty windy out on the water!

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

3. Best Sailing Cruise: 2-Hour Seattle Sailing Harbor Tour

2-Hour Seattle Sailing Harbor Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: 2201 Alaskan Way, Seattle
  • Departure Time: Variety available
  • Includes: Restroom on board

If you’re on a tight budget but still want to experience a high-quality harbor tour, we have just the thing for you!

The 2-Hour Seattle Sailing Harbor Tour is a great way to see some of the city’s top highlights that you wouldn’t be able to see from land. With various pickup times in the morning and afternoon, it’s also super simple to fit it into your schedule.

This one also starts off in Bell Harbor Marina, so you’ll head over to Alaskan Way, which runs right down the waterfront. Meet up with the crew, and board the gorgeous classic schooner that you’ll be sailing on!

This is a great experience for the entire family, so feel free to bring everyone along for the ride! There are restrooms on board, so you don’t have to worry about that.

If it gets chilly, the crew will provide you with blankets, though we do recommend bringing along a jacket as well. As you leave the harbor, you’ll get some great views of the iconic Seattle skyline with the Space Needle.

Most days, you’ll be able to see the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges. However, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll see Mount Rainier unless it’s a particularly clear day. The crew is such a great asset to have, and makes sure everyone has a fun time.

In fact, they even fire a mini cannon into the harbor! The kids really enjoy this part! Throughout the entire time, they offer fascinating historical commentary and information about Seattle today.

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

Seattle Travel Guide

Best Seattle Harbor Tours

Seattle may be best known for the Space Needle, Puget Sound, and rain, but there are plenty of things to do in and around the city as well as some very unique places to stay and to eat. If you are planning a trip to Seattle, whether for business or pleasure, be sure to take in a bit of the city’s exclusive culture and of course take in a harbor cruise!

Airports & Entry

If you are flying into Seattle you will most likely land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, or SeaTac for short. While King County International Airport isn’t too far away, it sees much less traffic.

If you are flying in from out of the country, you’ll need to have a valid passport as well as approval from ESTA. ESTA is the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This authorization is for stays of less than 90 days and works in place of a visa.

Many visitors to Seattle drive to the US across the Canadian border. If you are a Canadian citizen, you will need to have an enhanced driver’s license or ID. If you are from a non-North American country and wish to fly into the Vancouver International Airport, you will need your passport to land there and then your passport and ESTA authorization to drive across the US-Canadian border.

Planning Tips

Most people are guilty of planning their Seattle trip based on what they know, or think they know, about the city. Unfortunately, this can lead to visitors missing out on a lot that the city has to offer. Many things are also important to plan ahead of your trip. Let’s look at our top 5 Seattle vacation planning tips.

Tip #1: Make Dinner Reservations in Advance

While you may not dine at one of Seattle’s busiest restaurants every day of your stay, you will want to at least experience a great seafood restaurant. Most of the best seafood restaurants in Seattle take reservations months in advance, and even further around holidays and peak travel times.

If there are restaurants you know you will want to experience, the best bet is to call well ahead of your trip. If they are taking reservations, you can make them then. If they aren’t or if they don’t take them, you can always ask which day would be the best to visit to avoid crowds.

Tip #2: Book Tours Well in Advance

Whether you plan on taking tours of the city itself or you’d like to take a day trip out of the city to explore the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest, many tours fill up well in advance. Usually, this is because they are small group tours that allow a limited number of travelers on each tour.

Once you know when and for how long you will be in Seattle, find those day tours and book them. That way, you know you have your seat on the tour guaranteed.

Tip #3: Bring an Umbrella

Seattle gets more rain than many other areas of the country, but they may not get as much rain as you assume. For example, August only has 6 rainy days on average. This means that you may not even need the umbrella you bring but it’s better to have one and not need it. A collapsible travel umbrella that can easily be carried with you is ideal.

Tip #4: Don’t Miss Out on Seeing the Great Outdoors

It’s not just the city of Seattle that is worth your time exploring. Mount Rainier, the Cascade Mountains, Mount St. Helens, and even Puget Sound are all great places to experience while you’re already nearby. Day tours offer a fun and affordable way to experience them with transportation usually provided, and oftentimes meals, snacks, and beverages provided as well.

Tip #5: Bring Your Most Comfortable Walking Shoes

In the city, you’ll often find yourself walking to your destination and avoiding the traffic on both side streets and the main freeways. This means your most comfortable walking shoes are going to be your best friend. If you do plan on heading out of the city for a day tour from Seattle, those walking shoes are going to make the walking and hiking much easier.

Restaurants & Eating Out

Seattle is home to many types of cuisine, and it seems to do them all very well. With Asian cuisine and seafood available everywhere you turn, you may also want to check out Paseo for some delicious, authentic Cuban fare.

Gastropubs are now moving into the area and one of the best is Smith. It has a homey feel with décor you’d probably see in a cabin in the woods, but you can’t resist the craft brews and great food. Dick’s Drive-In Restaurant is the oldest fast food restaurant in the city and still serves up burgers cooked with fresh beef and their hand-cut fries are as good as they come.

Nightlife & Entertainment

The Pink Door is a late-night dinner experience like no other. In fact, you’ll enjoy a large menu of delicious food and great drinks while performers put on an acrobatic show right above your head. The Zig Zag Café is another staple of Seattle culture that you won’t want to miss.

If you’re into the newest craze in craft cocktails and enjoy those “small bites” designed to complement them perfectly, the Damn the Weather bar is perfect. However, the Knee High Stocking Company, whose name is derived from the doorbell on the front, is an original speakeasy from the latest prohibition that Seattle endured and still has that same speakeasy vibe.

Getting Around

Traveling by car, whether a rental or taxi, is usually a nightmare in Seattle, especially during morning and afternoon rush hours. If long-distance travel to your destination is needed, the bus system is very efficient. In downtown, the light train is quick and has many convenient stops. It is also one of the best ways to get too and from SeaTac airport.

However, the most convenient way you have of traveling within the city is walking. You will usually get to your destination much more quickly and you’ll see some great, and sometimes unexpected, things on the way there.


If you’re looking to leave the chain hotels behind and experience accommodations that are truly and uniquely Seattle, you have several options. The Ace Hotel Seattle is a perfect blend of cheap and chic. With only 28 rooms, you’ll have first class customer service with a hipster flair.

The Hotel Deca is conveniently located near the University of Washington campus which makes it the perfect place for families in town visiting students or even students touring the campus. It has an art deco flare that makes it a fun way to spend your stay in Seattle.

Other unique hotels in the area include Hotel Max, which is infamous for strangely erotic artwork and a vibe to match. The Hotel 1000 is truly on the cutting edge when it comes to technologically advanced amenities.


The summer months with the warmest weather and the least amount of rainy days, on average, are the busiest and most expensive months in which to travel to Seattle. However, there are many activities that only happen then. If you are looking for the perfect blend of warm weather and fewer crowds, September is ideal.

December and January are typically the coldest months with average highs in the mid-40s Fahrenheit and mostly rainy days. There are many activities in the city around the time of the winter holidays, especially New Years’ Eve, however.


Of course, when visiting Seattle, you don’t want to miss out on the Space Needle or the Seattle Great Wheel, a tall Ferris wheel that offers stunning views of the city especially at sunset. There are many other places to see, however.

Seattle is home to many museums. A few of the most popular ones are the Museum of Pop Culture as well as the Klondike Gold Rush National History Park and the Museum of Flight.

If you are looking for unique attractions, you’ll want to see the 18-foot high troll under a Fremont area bridge and even take a tour of Seattle’s underground.

It’s a little bit of a drive but take a tour of Olympic National Park is definitely worth the trip. It’s the only rainforest in North America. The biodiversity there is truly stunning, it’s a “don’t miss”.


The Harbor Cruise with Live Narration is our Editors Choice for the best Seattle Harbor cruise.

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