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Argosy Cruises in Seattle sets sail Friday after a year of pandemic shutdowns

Argosy’s harbor cruise will take off from Pier 55 on the Seattle waterfront Friday for the first time in over a year.

SEATTLE — After a year of being docked due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Seattle’s Argosy Cruises is setting sail again starting Memorial Day weekend.

Argosy’s harbor cruise will take off from Pier 55 on the Seattle waterfront Friday for the first time in over a year.

Argosy is operating with COVID-19 restrictions in place, like a mask mandate and at 50% capacity.

Like most other businesses in the tourism, sightseeing and entertainment industries, state mandates meant no groups of people, so no cruises for Argosy. The company had to lay off employees and put focus on other areas while it waited for the right time to book their popular one- or two-hour sightseeing cruises it’s known for again.

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“We had, you know, a number of PPP loans that we were able to tap into, and we got really creative, we launched a brand-new line of business,” said Elin Windus, director of sales and marketing at Argosy Cruises. “We actually created an e-commerce platform. So, we sold t-shirts and water bottles and merchandise to try to bring in as much revenue as I could, we sold gift cards, we did everything we could to try to make a little bit of money during that period of closure."

The company chose Memorial Day weekend to reopen, hiring more staff and preparing the boats with a lot of thought and planning going into the decision.

“We had attached to the opening date a number of metrics that we had to hit in order for it to make sense for us to reopen,” explained Windus. “So, for us, we really get one shot at this, we have to hire a lot of staff to be on all of our vessels. We have to hire a lot of staff to sell tickets. We made the decision; it was probably about six weeks ago. Things are moving in the right direction, vaccination rates are picking up, case counts are dropping. If that wasn't the case, we would have pushed reopening.”

The first cruise sets sail at 10:45 a.m. Friday.

Argosy is starting with the harbor cruise before bringing back the locks cruise in mid-June.