Olympia Harbor Days offers getaway on historic steam ship


(OLYMPIA, Wash.) — The Olympia Harbor Days Tugboat Races and Festival has partnered with the historic steam ship Virginia V for a unique weekend adventure in Washington’s State capital. The three-day, two-night excursion includes round-trip transportation from the Foss Waterway Seaport dock in Tacoma, overnight accommodations in downtown Olympia and an itinerary of maritime history, adventure and more. 

Local maritime novelist and author Les Eldridge will join the cruise to historical details about the area. Eldridge stated in a recent conversation: “The South Puget Sound shorelines are filled with the sites of memorable maritime moments, from Vancouver and Puget, through the brigade of scientist-adventurers, through the Wilkes Expedition leaving its American stamp on the region, to the wild and wooly captains of the Mosquito Fleet. We will recall many of these moments on our trip to and around Olympia.”  

The 125-passenger Virginia V will call in Tacoma to make way to Olympia for a four-hour trip to participate in Olympia Harbor Days, a three-day maritime festival, the largest of its kind in the south sound. The itinerary includes a tour of the Foss Waterway Seaport Maritime Museum in Tacoma before heading south.  

Upon arrival at the festival, Virginia V will join tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain at the Port of Olympia’s Port Plaza docks for the opening ceremonies of Olympia Harbor Days, host to the world’s largest vintage tugboat races and the Squaxin Island tribe’s Salish Seaport, including cultural activities, demonstrations and a traditional salmon bake as part of the festival offerings. The Port Plaza is at the northern edge of the festival and is an easy stroll on the docks to Percival Landing where a fleet of vintage tugboats will be available for touring as they ready for the Sunday races. More festival features include activities, live entertainment, music, and over 200 arts, crafts, commercial and food booths.

Guests will stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, where staff will be on hand to transfer traveler’s luggage to the hotel. The state Capitol is within walking distance and travelers will have plenty of time to experience Olympia where visitors always enjoy the variety of unique shops this fun and artsy town has to offer. Travelers will receive a visitors guide courtesy of Experience Olympia and Beyond.

A special excursion on Saturday offers a tour of the Chehalis Tribe’s Lucky Eagle Casino. Guests will be transported in VIP vans and will receive discount vouchers for lunch and a player’s card.   

On Sunday afternoon, travelers will return to Tacoma on a sunset cruise back aboard Virginia V.

The cruise departs Tacoma on Sept. 1 at 1 p.m. and returns Sept. 3 at 9:30 p.m. Cost for the excursion, including ship passage, two hotel nights, museum entry, and trip to a casino is $399 per person or $499 per couple. Tax included.

This weekend getaway is the first of its kind and is expected to be offered in coming years. For more information about the festival, visit www.HarborDays.com. To reserve your weekend getaway, call the DoubleTree at (360) 570-0555, Ext. 0, asking for “cruise reservations." The cruise was made possible by a lodging tax grant from the city of Olympia. Olympia Harbor Days is an Olympia Kiwanis event with net proceeds benefiting children and families in the area.

By Professional Mariner Staff