The following are some frequently asked questions about the Star of Saugatuck.
Is the boat handicap accessible?
Do your cruises run if it rains?
Is the boat enclosed/covered?
What time is sunset?
Is it better to take the cruise in the daytime or evening?
Where does your cruise go, and what do you see?
Does the boat enter Lake Michigan?
Do you serve alcohol?
Is there anything to eat or drink onboard?
Are there restrooms onboard?
How long has Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruises been in business?
Are there group rates available?
How early do I need to purchase my tickets?
What do you accept for payment?
Do I need reservations?
What time can we board the boat?
Does the boat make any stops?
Are cell phones allowed to be used?
May I take my children onboard the boat?
May we take our stroller on board?
Do you have special cruises for fireworks?
Do you have security checks?
What is the proper attire?
What type of seating is onboard?
Can we bring our pets onboard?
Is there a narration?
Is smoking allowed onboard?
Can you make special announcements?
Is the boat handicapped accessible? We are able to access persons using crutches, canes, walkers, and non-motorized wheelchairs. Standard sized wheelchairs, no wider than 27" can be boarded, and will be seated on our lower deck. We can not accommodate motorized wheelchairs or scooters. A written narration is available for those with a hearing impairment.
Does your cruise run if it rains? We usually run if it is light to moderate rain. We abide by Coast Guard weather advisories if the weather turns stormy. We also monitor weather radar, and if it appears that we are in the path of an approaching storm (heavy downpours, electrical, strong winds or tornado) the cruise will be canceled. Refunds or ticket exchange for later the same day will be issued for purchased tickets if we cancel the cruise due to stormy weather.
Is the boat covered/enclosed? The lower deck of the Star has 20 screened windows and is climate controlled (a/c or heat). The upper deck is totally open, but does have a partial canopy over 2/3's of it. The bow of the boat is open.
What time is sunset? Our evening departure is set so we may catch sunset on Lake Michigan. May departures are at 8:00 p.m. – June 8:15 p.m. – July 8:00 p.m. – August 7:30 p.m. – September – Call times vary each week. These times may vary somewhat according to sunset time – we will not leave earlier than times listed. Call for additional information.
Is it better to take the cruise in the daytime or evening? Our route is the same on all of our cruises. On our evening cruises you will catch sunset on Lake Michigan, as long as Mother Nature does her job! It will be turning dusk/dark as we return from our evening cruise.
Where does your cruise go, and what do you see? Our dock is located at 716 Water Street in downtown Saugatuck, on the corner of Water and Spear Streets. The Star leaves from and returns to this dock, with no scheduled stops along the way. We travel up the Kalamazoo River into Lake Kalamazoo (how far depends on water levels), back down the Kalamazoo River and enter Lake Michigan with permitting lake conditions. You will see the harbor of Saugatuck, Mt. Baldhead, private homes and cottages, boats of all shapes and sizes, wildlife, woodlands and wet lands, pass by the site of Singapore, as well as entering Lake Michigan, with permitting conditions. Our live narration will point out local landmarks, points of interest, and tell you some history of the Saugatuck/Douglas area along the way.
Does the boat enter Lake Michigan? The Star will enter Lake Michigan if lake conditions permit. The captain makes a trip-by-trip decision when they can actually see the physical condition of the lake. The exact amount of time we spend on the lake may vary, depending on lake conditions, and time remaining in the cruise. If the lake is too rough, we make every effort to take the boat to the shoreline, but the decision is up to the captain’s discretion - there is no price difference if the boat does not enter Lake Michigan.
Do you serve alcohol? The Star of Saugatuck carries a state of Michigan watercraft liquor license. We sell beer, wine, wine coolers, and mixed drinks (blended drinks are not available). We carry bourbon, gin, rum, peach schnapps, scotch, vodka, and whiskey onboard. According to the state of Michigan’s LCC laws, you may not bring your own alcohol onboard, and must be 21 or older to be served. You may be request to provide picture identification – valid driver’s license (with photo), state identification cards or passports are accepted. Please drink responsibly. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone that appears or acts intoxicated. CASH ONLY is the payment accepted onboard the boat.
Is there anything to eat or drink onboard? Onboard we serve chips, candy, juice, water, and soft drinks, as well as alcoholic beverages. You are welcome to bring your own snacks onboard. All coolers are subject to inspection prior to boarding. All non-alcoholic beverages must be in an unopened (sealed) container. CASH ONLY is the payment accepted onboard the boat.
Are there restrooms onboard? Yes, the Star has restroom facilities for both women and men. These facilities are located on our lower deck, at the rear of the boat. NOTE: Our men’s restroom also serves as a unisex handicapped restroom.
How long has the Star of Saugatuck been in business? Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruises was established in 1978. The original Star, was named the Queen of Saugatuck and held 82 passengers. She was sold in May of 2002, and is currently in Waco, Texas. The Star of Saugatuck II went into service on June 23rd, 2000. The Star II is an authentic sternwheel paddleboat, holds a total of 150 passengers – 70 on the lower deck and 80 on the upper deck.
Are there group rates? Group rates are available for groups of 20 paying passengers or more, with advanced reservations, and meeting pre-established requirements. See Group Rate Information for additional details.
How early do I need to purchase tickets? Tickets are sold on a daily first come – first serve basis. We will take over the phone reservations for groups of 20+ or private charters. Our ticket counter opens at 10:00 a.m. daily May through Labor Day. After Labor Day and through October we open at noon (10:00 a.m. on Saturday’s in September). Our busiest days during July and August tend to be Saturday’s, Sunday’s and holiday’s. On these days we suggest that you purchase your tickets no later than one hour (or earlier if you’re in town) prior to departure. For most cruises, you can walk in and purchase tickets until departure. It is recommended you arrive 20-30 minutes prior to departure for ticket purchasing and boarding. We do not offer online reservation services. NOTE: On occasion the Star is privately chartered, or a deck may be privately chartered and not available to the general public. If you have a specific day or time in mind you would like to take the cruise, please call in advance to make sure it is available.
What do you accept for payment? We accept Visa, Master Card, Discover, American Express, debit cards, cash and checks (personal or travelers) with I.D.. Payment made by cash or checks receive a cash discount.
Do I need reservations? We do over the phone reservations for groups of 20 or more or private charters. All others are on a first-come first-serve daily basis. We recommend calling ahead to check on the availability of a cruise if you have a specific day and time in mind that you would like to go. On occasion we MAY BE privately chartered or have large groups where limited seating is available. WE DO NOT OFFER ONLINE RESERVATIONS.
What time may we board the boat? Boarding is on a first come/first service basis. Boarding usually begins 10 minutes prior to departure. When there is standing room only on the dock, we will begin boarding early for passenger comfort. We have boarded up to 45 minutes prior to departure. (Usually this happens during the months of July and August, on our evening trips).
Your entire party must be present when boarding if you wish to sit together - there are no saving seats, nor is there line cutting. We do this as a courtesy to all passengers who have been standing in line waiting to board. A crew member will do a physical head count as passengers board and go to the upper deck. It is imperative that, if there is an area in which you wish to sit, your party remains and boards together.
Persons with special needs, such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes, vision or walking impairments will be boarded first. Please let our staff know if you require assistance to board when you purchase your tickets. On occasion we have groups that charter a deck/partial deck – you should be informed of this prior to purchasing your ticket.
Please remember the everyone, including infants, requires a ticket for boarding.
Are cell phones allowed to be used on board? We respectfully ask that you turn all cell phones off or to vibrate, as a courtesy to other passengers. If you must take a phone call, please go to the bow of the boat.
May I take my children onboard the boat? Yes, we welcome children of all ages. An adult must accompany children where ever they go, at all times onboard the Star – this is for safety purposes. You are free to move around the boat with your children, and we use the “reach out and touch policy” – you should be able to reach out and touch your child at all times. For safety purposes, passengers are not allowed to stand on chairs, or sit or stand on tables. We would suggest that you bring a few items for smaller children such as a book, card games, small toy etc. to help pass the time. We do carry a few books, crayons, and games onboard the boat for your child to use. We respectfully ask if your child becomes distraught while on board please take them to a less crowded area of the boat to console them as a courtesy to other passengers. Please let our crew members know if they can provide any assistance to you.
May we take our stroller on board? We can store strollers on the bow of the boat. Double sided, elongated or jogging strollers will need to be left dockside. Strollers may not be taken to the upper deck. Small strollers may be taken on lower deck but may not block doors, aisles or be placed on hatch covers, which according to the U.S. Coast Guard, must be kept clear and accessible at all times.
Do you have fireworks cruises? Saugatuck offer’s fireworks on the 4th of July and Venetian Festival (last Saturday in July). We do not offer special cruises for the fireworks. You will be back at our dock prior to the fireworks, so you may walk to a spot in town where you may view them.
Do you have security checks? We do random security checks onboard the Star during the course of our day, as well as a security system onboard. Packages, backpacks, diaper and camera bags, coolers, purses, etc. are subject to random search. During heightened security levels packages, backpacks and coolers will not be allowed onboard the boat, and purses, camera and diaper bags etc. will be subject to search prior to boarding. Persons may also be subject to random search, and asked to remove an article of clothing such as, but not limited to a jacket or coat, shoes, etc. At heightened levels of security levels picture identification may be required of all adult passengers, and passenger roster list kept dockside. Anyone refusing to a random search or unable to produce picture identification will not be admitted entrance to the vessel. No weapons are allowed onboard.
What is the proper attire? We suggest a light coat or jacket for your cruise. It is usually 5-10 degrees cooler on the water than on land. Shirt, pants and shoes are required. All articles of clothing, including shirts and shoes, must be worn at all times, per health department ordinance requirements. You will be required to wear shoes when boarding and for the duration of the cruise. PLEASE NOTE: Some shoes on wet, steel decks can be very slippery - PLEASE move about with caution and care, using handrails. Ladies shoes with heels over 1 inch, leather soled shoes and flip flops are NOT recommended to wear onboard.
What type of seating is onboard? The lower deck has padded, cloth seating. The upper deck has polyurethane chairs for seating. We respectfully request that you not place your feet/shoes on chairs or tables. This is a courtesy to other passengers who will be using the chairs on future trips. We strive to keep our furniture as clean as possible. Dirt, gum and street grime may be left on chairs when you place your feet/shoes on them and ruin future customers' clothing. Your consideration in helping us with this would be appreciated.
Is there a narration? Our captains provide a live narration for your enjoyment. Local landmarks and points of interest are pointed out, and we'll also tell some local and maritime history - each captain has their own style and narration, and we try to point out "real time" activities on the river/lake. Our crew members are willing to answer any questions you may have about the area. Since this is a live narration, we respectfully ask that you please be respectful of those passengers around you who are listening to the narration - "Courtesy is Contagious." The narration does not continue for the entire cruise, and there is ample time to enjoy the companionship of your friends and family.
Is smoking allowed onboard? Due to state law, smoking is not allowed onboard the vessel. This includes e-cig's and any other type of smoking devices. Smoking is allowed outside the of the building (street-side).
Can you make special announcements? Celebrating a special event (birthday, anniversary, etc.) and wish to have an announcement made while onboard? Please see a mate (crew member) and they will take the information you would like to have announced. We’ll do our best to make the announcement that you are requesting.
We will open for the season May 2nd, 2015
Scheduled times are listed in Eastern Daylight Savings Time.
Schedule subject to change without prior notice.
Call to verify the Star is available because private charters and groups prevail.
We accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, debit cards, cash or check. CASH DISCOUNT WHEN PAYING BY CASH OR CHECK.
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND:
Beginning May 26th thru June 21st, 2015
*The last full week in June we begin our full (5 trips a day) schedule.
July schedule begins last full week of June.
All scheduled cruises depart with permitting weather conditions and six or more paying adults or equivalent.