The following are some frequently asked questions about the Star of Saugatuck.
Is the boat handicap accessible?
Are there steps to get onboard?
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?
May we take snacks onboard the boat?
May we bring our own beverages onboard the boat?
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?
Do you accept online ticketing?
How can we make sure we get a seat on the upper deck?
What time can we board the boat?
Does the boat make any stops?
How long are the cruises?
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?
May we go into the pilot house?
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 accommodated, and seated on our lower deck. We can not accommodate motorized wheelchairs or scooters. We do have a non-motorized chair dockside, that you may borrow to take the cruise. A written narration is available for those with a hearing impairment. If you have a disability that requires additional time for boarding, PLEASE let a staff member know when purchasing your tickets. You and one other member of your party to assist you while boarding will be allowed to pre-board the boat. Please let the staff know when you come back through to enter the boarding area and they will direct you to the area where we will have you wait.
Are there steps to get onboard?? Yes – You will walk across a gangplank to reach the boat. To reach the lower deck there is one (1) step up (approximately 6” high) and two (2) steps down (approximately 3” high). If you are in a wheelchair we have ramps that allows us to place wheelchairs on the lower deck. There are fifteen (15) steps to go up to the upper deck.
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 a trip later the same day will be issued for purchased tickets if we cancel the cruise due to 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.
May we bring our own beverages onboard the boat? No, since the boat carries a state of Michigan liquor license NO outside beverages are allowed onboard the boat – this includes all beverages whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic. We are happy to keep any cups/containers/bottles dockside for you until you return from your trip.
Is there anything to eat or drink onboard? Onboard we serve chips, candy, juice, water and soft drinks, as well as, alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, mixed drinks). You are welcome to bring your own snacks onboard. You may not bring any beverages onboard, as we carry a state of Michigan liquor license. All coolers, bags, purses etc. are subject to inspection prior to boarding. CASH ONLY is the accepted payment 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 offer online reservations – see “Do I need reservations?” or “Do you accept online ticketing?” for ticketing information. NOTE: On occasion the Star can be privately chartered and not available to the public. There are also occasions where we have large groups booked onboard, and there is limited seating available. If you have a specific day or time in mind you would like to take the cruise, please call in advance to check on availablity.
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 book over the phone reservations for groups of 20 or more passengers or a private charter. You may book online here until 6:00 a.m. the morning of the day you wish to take your cruise. At 6:00 a.m., online ticket sales close for the day. You will need to purchase tickets, in person, at our dock at 716 Water St., Saugatuck after 10:00 a.m. - same day sales only. We recommend calling ahead (269-857-4261) to check on the availability of a cruise. We can provide information on cruise availability for a specific day and time, but do not take over the phone reservations for groups less than 20. You will have to physically come to our dock, located at 716 Water Street, Saugatuck, MI 49453 to purchase and pick up your tickets after 10:00 a.m. - same day sales only. Occasionally, we MAY BE privately chartered or have large groups where limited seating is available.
Do you accept online ticketing? Online ticketing is available for parties of less than 20 by clicking here.
Online ticketing will be available for 30 days prior to a cruise.
Tickets may be purchased until 6:00 a.m. the day of the cruise.
After 6:00 a.m. online ticket sales close and ticket sales become "in person", same day sales, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at our dock at 716 Water St., Saugatuck, MI 49453.
You may call our dock (269-857-4261) to check on availability of a specific day and time.
We do not take over the phone reservations for parties less than 20.
Private charters prevail.
When purchasing your tickets online you will receive an e-mail confirmation. You will need to bring a copy of this or an electronic version via your phone to pick up your boarding tickets at our counter. NOTE: You must pick up your tickets prior to getting in line to board the boat - the confirmation is NOT your ticket.
You may rebook to another date, but rebooking must be done prior to your scheduled departure day and time.
Please book tickets for all party members, including infants.
Seating is first come, first serve. We can seat 80 on our upper deck which is open and has a partial canopy, and 70 on our lower deck which has windows all around and is climate controlled.
Tickets are booked thru a third party ticketing company and a 6% fee is assessed to your sale.
How can we make sure we get a seat on the upper deck? Our cruises are on a first come first serve basis. In 2017 we began a new reservation policy for upper deck seating for the evening cruise only. We offer the opportunity to purchase guaranteed upper deck seating for an additional fee for all of our evening trips during the course of the season. Our upper deck seats 80 passengers. When making online reservations (can be done 30 days in advance of the date you wish to take the cruise) or purchasing tickets the day of the cruise (subject to availability) we will be selling reserved upper deck seating. This will guarantee you/your party a seat on the upper deck. Seating will still be on a first come/first serve basis; make sure to keep your party together when boarding. Lower deck tickets will be available at our regular fare. Upper deck tickets are limited to 80 passengers (adults, children and infants): ADULTS (Ages 13 and Up) add an additional $5.00 per ticket to our regular fare, and all children (infants through 12) are $13. You will be given an approximate boarding time the day of the cruise when you purchase your tickets, or when you pick up your tickets. Any unsold upper deck tickets will be available on a first come/first serve basis after all upper deck ticketed passengers have been seated.
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 60 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. For more information, click here.
May we take our stroller on board? Due to limited space and U.S. Coast Guard regulations mandating that we keep aisles, stairways, and emergency equipment area clear; we respectfully ask that all strollers be left at the stroller mooring area dockside. Make sure you take your valuables with you. Exceptions may be made on a case by case basis, please talk to the manager about your situation. Strollers may not be taken to the upper deck.
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 picture identification may be required of all adult passengers, and a 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.
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 provide 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.
May we go into the pilot house? Sorry, the pilot house is a restricted area, and only authorized crew may enter. On certain occcassions, the captain may invite passengers inside the pilot house. Please DO NOT enter the pilot house - check with a mate onboard and they will ask the captain.