Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to make reservations?
We do not require reservations for our cruises. However, we strongly recommend making reservations as walk up availability may be limited.
What do my tickets include?
Your scenic and sunset cruises include the cruise only. Our lunch and brunch cruises include the cruise as well as the food. Our dinner cruises include the cruise, food and entertainment. Beverages, appetizers, and gratuities are additional.
Is your cancellation policy flexible?
Our cancellation policy allows you to change or cancel your cruise, up to 24 hours prior to departure, with no penalty. You may call us, chat with us, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to cancel your reservation. Please note that our office closes at 5:00PM Eastern time, so if you are calling or emailing, you must do so by 5 PM the day prior to your cruise.
We are very firm with this policy: any reservation canceled within the 24 hour window will be considered a late cancellation, in which you will not be refunded.
How do I pay?
We require a credit card payment to guarantee your reservation on the ship. Your card will be charged at the time of your reservation. In addition, same-day tickets can be purchased at the ticket booth. The ticket booth accepts both cash and credit cards. All sales at the ticket booth are final sales.
We accept MasterCard, Visa, and Discover. A 3% processing fee is added to all credit card sales at the ticket booth and a 6% fee is added to online sales. Tickets booked through our in-house reservations team do not incur a credit card fee.
You may use cash or the above credit cards for on-board purchases as well. There is not an additional 3% fee for on-board transactions.
Help! I want to make my reservation for a cruise today, but your website won’t let me!
No problem! It doesn’t mean our cruises are sold out. We turn off our online booking option one hour prior to departure so we can keep track of our passenger counts throughout the day. You can purchase tickets at the ticket booth if there are seats still available.
I have a coupon – what do I need to do?
Most coupons need to be redeemed in-person at the Ticket Booth. Gift cards can be redeemed online or over the phone with our Reservations team. If you are not sure how to proceed, please call us for assistance.
I have a Jump On It – what do I need to do?
Jump On It guests should call us to confirm that there will be space available on the day they would like to cruise. Our reservation staff can certainly assist in telling you which days will have plenty of space, as well as dates that are sold out. Jump On It guests may NOT make reservations for our cruises. Please make sure you print your JOI coupon and bring it to the ticket booth to redeem. Please also note that there is a $3 per person charge on each JOI, as stated in the fine print. For our JOIs that include food, please remember they do not include gratuity for your server!
I have a ‘Spirit Pass’ – how do I redeem this?
Our Spirit passes can be used any day, space available. We highly recommend giving the office a call to ensure that there will be space on the cruise you’re interested in. Spirit passes incur a $3 fee per ticket at the booth. Please present to redeem for boarding passes. No cash value. No extensions on the marked expiration date. No upgradesto lunch, brunch, dinner, orsunset cruises. May be redeemed for a 1 or a 1.5 hour scenic cruise.
I have a gift certificate – what do I need to do?
Locate the gift certificate number: it will either be a four digit number for a paper certificate, or a 16-digit alpha-numberic code for digital certificates.
When completing your online reservation, click “Apply a gift card” in the payment section. Online certificate codes can be entered as-is. Four digit paper certificate numbers must be added with two leading zeroes, as our system recognizes codes with a minimum of six numbers. (Certificate #3456 would be entered “003456”)
Of course, you can also call our reservations department and provide the code over the phone if you wish. Please call 802-862-8300 for reservations. Gift certificates have no cash value and there are no extensions on the marked expiration date.
Can I buy a gift certificate?
Yes, digital gift certificates are available for purchase! They can be purchased online or through our reservations department at 802-862-8300.
Gift certificates expire exactly one year from the date of issue. The expiration date will also be indicated on the gift certificate.
Where is the ship located?
We are located at the very bottom of College Street, right next to the Burlington Community Boathouse. You can plug 1 College Street into your GPS and it will take you to us. If the ship is not in dock, don’t worry! Just look for our ticket booth which has a sign that says BOAT RIDES.
Where do I park?
We do not have our own parking lot, as there is limited real estate along the Burlington waterfront. Please know that the price of parking has nothing to do with the Spirit. The lots along the waterfront and in Burlington are all privately or publicly owned.
The closest parking lots to us are the Pease Lot, the Echo Lot, and the Main Street Landing Lot. There is also metered parking along College Street and Lake Street near the boat. Please check out www.parkburlington.com for information and rates and check out their interactive parking map! ParkMobile is a wonderful app that allows you to pay with a credit card (and recharge from afar!) even on the old meters.
Is there public transportation available to the boat? The Purple Line City Bus picks up from the waterfront right by the ship every thirty minutes. Better yet, it’s free! It also makes stops by the Church Street Marketplace as well as UVM, so you can ride it from one exciting destination to the next! Please visit this website to see the time table of the Purple Line City Bus: https://ridegmt.com/ **
**Schedule subject to change per Green Mountain Transit.
Can we pick up tickets in advance?
Tickets are will-call at the ticket booth. Typically, tickets will be ready 30-45 minutes prior to each cruise. If you purchased a Scenic or Sunset cruise, your tickets were emailed to you in your confirmation email in the form of a QR code.
What happens when we get to the boat?
If you have a reservation for a Scenic or Sunset cruise, you will have been emailed a link to a QR code for boarding. Please bring a printed copy or take a picture of the QR code with your phone and keep them ready to open so we can check you in. Only one QR Code is needed per party.
If you have a reservation for a Lunch, Brunch, or Dinner cruise, you will find a black booklet near the ticket booth with your name on it. Just look for the booklets near the red sign to the left of the ticket booth window. Take the entire booklet and wait for boarding.
If you do not have an existing reservation, you must stop by the ticket booth to purchase tickets.
Once the captain calls for boarding, please queue in an orderly fashion and show our staff members your QR code, black booklet, or paper tickets for boarding. Then our employees will direct you to the proper deck. From there, all you have to do is enjoy the ride!
What if it rains? Will you cancel?
Our boat goes out rain or shine! We have both indoor and outdoor seating to suit the needs of our passengers. In cases of severe weather, cruising is at the captain’s discretion. Our captains are highly trained to cruise in all sorts of weather, but if they feel unable to provide a safe trip for our guests, we will cancel the cruise. If you had planned on dining with us, we will hold the event dockside, and you can still enjoy your meal and entertainment (if applicable).
Is the boat wheelchair accessible?
Our Admiral deck, the bottom level of the ship, is wheelchair accessible and we have a very nice accessible restroom. We ask that you give us a call in advance to see how we can best help you and your loved ones have the most comfortable excursion on our ship!
Can my pets come with me?
Unfortunately, as we are a licensed restaurant, we do not allow pets on board unless they are certified service animals.
Can I bring my own food and drink on board with me? We are a licensed restaurant, outside food presents the risk of cross contamination and is therefore a liability issue. We cannot allow food we have not prepared ourselves on board. However, our Ethan Allen Cafe and buffet meals are top notch! If you have allergy or dietary restrictions, inform our staff so that we can work with you and make sure we have food you can eat.
Is there a dress code?
During our evening events, we encourage people to dress nicely, due to the many celebrations we host. However, we do allow walk-on guests and so we do not have any required dress code. We also suggest that our passengers bring an extra layer, such as a jacket or sweater!
What about my dietary needs?
We will work with you on whatever dietary needs you have, however some cannot be accommodated. We are a nut free ship, and our menu items are marked vegan, vegetarian and gluten free. We do like to note that we are a commercial kitchen, and there is always a risk of product cross contamination. We are not a celiac certified establishment. Many of our products are produced in facilities that also produce nut based products. Other ingredients, such as dairy and soy are always on hand in our kitchen.
Can I smoke on the ship?
As of 2016, smoking is not permitted anywhere on the Spirit of Ethan Allen.
Do you have special events?
Absolutely! Our ship is available for weddings, birthday parties, class reunions, bar mitzvahs and more! For groups of twenty or more, we offer discounted rates. Call or email us at Spirit@soea.com in advance, and work with our staff to put together the event of your dreams. We also put on events for special occasions, such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Burlington’s Fireworks Celebration on the 3rd of July. For more information on these cruises, visit our Special Event Cruises page under the Daily Cruises tab.
What do you see on the cruise?
During our scenic narrated tour, the ship heads north, towards Lone Rock Point. It loops around Juniper Island, goes past Rock Dunder and into Shelburne Bay. From there it heads back through the South End of Burlington. In the evenings, it’s the Captain’s choice. Our evening trips are always an exciting and surprising adventure – the captains know the best spots to view the prettiest sunsets!
What lighthouses do you see on the Scenic Narrated Cruise? There are three lighthouses that we pass – there is one on each end of the breakwater, as well as the old Juniper Island Lighthouse.
How far are you from Church Street Marketplace? We are only half a mile from Church Street Marketplace! The walk takes about ten minutes, or just five minutes if you are driving. Church Street is a wonderful place to visit before or after one of our cruises!
What else is there to do in Burlington?
Here in Burlington the options are endless! You can visit the Church Street Marketplace and explore the many shops and restaurants. For performances and shows, head over to the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, or laugh the night away at the Vermont Comedy Club. If you are more interested in an educational trip, come down to the ECHO Leahy Center and learn about Burlington and Lake Champlain.
Haven’t gotten enough of the lake? Visit one of our gorgeous parks, such as Oakledge, Red Rocks, or North Beach. For more suggestions, inside and outside of Burlington, visit our page on Vermont tourism here: https://soea.com/vermont_tourism/
What is the interior of the ship like?
Our beautiful cruise ship offers three unique private decks. Our lower deck, which is wheelchair accessible, is the Admiral Deck. The midlevel of the ship is our Horizon Deck. Our top level, which can be converted to an open-air deck in the summer, is our Sky Deck. Each level of the ship has a different capacity based on Coast Guard regulation. We also rent out one, two, or all three decks if you are looking to host a wedding or a private event.
What type of food do you serve?
We specialize in Contemporary American Cuisine and our offerings include buffet menus, delicious appetizers, and a diverse cafe menu. We have our own onboard galley and Executive Chef so we can serve your delicious meal piping hot! For groups and special events, we are delighted to offer an array of different menus, designed for every palette. We understand food is one of the most important components of your Lake Champlain experience, and we are pleased to offer the exclusive services of our amazing culinary team!
Help! I left something on the ship and have already returned home. Will you ship the item to me?
Yes! We are happy to ship the item to you. We ask that your credit card be given to us at the time of inquiry. We will then charge the shipping cost, packaging cost, and a $20 fee to your credit card. Please be sure to let our office staff know the speed in which you would like your item shipped.