Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What time do I board the ship for my cruise?
The boarding times are written on the confirmation letter that is mailed or mailed to you upon receipt of payment. If you cannot locate your confirmation letter, please call us at 206.719.7622.
We recommend that you arrive to the location of docking at least 45 minutes to the designated boarding time. All errands, long-term parking and baggage issues should be dealt with well before scheduled boarding as the Zodiac is on a secure dock and passengers are required to board as a group accompanied by a badge-holding crew member. Once aboard, passengers are not permitted to disembark the ship until our return.
Do I have to pay for parking while on my cruise?
If you are boarding in Bellingham; there are parking spaces in the far southwest corner of the cruise terminal parking lot.
If you are boarding in Seattle, at or near South Lake Union; parking is at a premium and you will typically need to find long term parking solutions or get a ride to the dock.
What if my family needs to contact me during the trip in case of emergency?
Most cell phones have coverage in a majority of the San Juan Islands, however since the Zodiac discourages cell phone usage while underway, we have a designated phone for passenger emergency use. The phone # is 206.325.6122.
Are meals included on the trip?
All meals and snacks are inclusive in the cost of your cruise. Our professional ship's cook prepares three wholesome meals a day, with snacks in-between. If you have any dietary restrictions, please make sure to include them on the health form. You will NOT go hungry aboard this ship!
Should I bring my own bedding?
Every bunk on board the Zodiac comes with light fleece blankets and sheets with pillows. It is recommended that you bring your own sleeping bag or thick blanket for extra covering should the nights get cold. There is no need to bring pillows from home unless you wish. For more information on what to pack, see the packing list on our website.
Is there alcohol served on the ship?
The ship does not provide alcoholic beverages unless stated in specific cruises (winery tours/ brewery tours or day & evening sails where specified). Passengers are welcome to bring alcohol on board - providing they are of legal age and use discretion. The rule of thumb on the Zodiac is no drinking while underway, or if passengers are imbibing, they do not participate in sail maneuvers. Once the anchor is down, drinking is allowed.
Can I access the internet while on my trip?
The answer to this is "not likely" The Zodiac asks that you kindly leave your laptop and work-related items on land. (We do have a ship's computer for customs clearance and reservations; however this computer is not available to the public except in cases of emergency). In addition, there is little or no Internet coverage throughout the islands.
I need to use a CPAP machine when sleeping - will I be able to plug it in?
Many passengers are now traveling with a particular type of ventilation (breathing) therapy machine. (If you have one, you know what we mean). These machines typically run on 110 power, but they do come with a 12v adapter. Since the Zodiac runs on 12v for most of the night once our generator is switched off, it is very important for you to read the following instructions:
Purchase a 12v inverter plug-in only from the manufacturer of your device. (It should look like the attachment that goes in a car cigarette lighter). The Zodiac cannot accommodate machines that run humidifiers as well as the breathing application; this type of device draws too much amperage and blows the fuses every time. The ship DOES NOT have inverters. If you fail to bring one, we cannot be responsible for providing them. Please inform the registrar when making your reservations that you require a bunk with a 12v socket for your machine. Not all of the Zodiac's berths come with sockets for 12v.
May I sleep on the deck of the ship?
Every passenger is designated a specific berth onboard. However, should you wish to sleep on deck, you are most welcome. We ask that if you plan to sleep on deck that you bring your own pad and sleeping bag/pillow. The ship's blankets, pillows and mattresses are not allowed up on deck for hygiene reasons and to reduce wear and tear on them. The Zodiac requires any passenger that is opting to sleep above decks to check in with the crew member on watch prior to moving above decks and, should they wish to return below during the night, to check in with the crew member on night-watch to inform them of the change.
Is it a requirement to perform sailing duties on the cruise?
Because the schooner Zodiac is a sail-training vessel, it is generally assumed that passengers want to participate in the programs. It is not required however, for all passengers to take part in sail maneuvers. We request that you let us know upon boarding if you are unable or unwilling to haul sails, as this will affect the sailing-station assignments. The passenger watch rotation is also considered a voluntary opportunity and we do not require that you participate. The passenger watch rotation is as follows: 30 minutes in chart room with a crew member (learning to read a chart and navigate); 30 minutes at the helm with a crew member (steering the ship under captain's direction and crew assistance if required); 30 minutes at bow-watch (looking out for floating debris or oncoming small craft); 30 minutes at messenger post (listening for bow-watch warnings and radio hails). If you do not wish to take part in these duties, simply alert the Mate at beginning of the trip and your name will not be included in the billet.
May I shower during my cruise?
Depending on the length of your cruise, this is typically an option. On longer trips (such as Desolation Sound), water tanks are carefully monitored. The ship is equipped with 750 gallon tanks and that amount is for all ship board water-usage. The ship has two showers forward and aft; regardless of water supply issues, when showering aboard, we require that passengers take "navy showers"; briefly running the water and shutting it off as you lather up, running it to rinse, etc. In this fashion we can preserve much of our water supply.
Are children allowed on the Zodiac?
The age restriction for children on overnight trips is usually 13 years and up. If you are chartering the ship for a private trip, the age limit is up to your party. The Zodiac advises that young children be kept with a supervising parent at all times on deck. Children are not permitted to be forward of the lifelines while on deck unless a crew member and parent are supervising them.
For day or evening sails, young children are welcome; however we advise that you bring a personal floatation device (pfd) for them to wear while on deck. The Zodiac has a clearly labeled life-jacket locker on deck for all youth life jackets. However we have found through the years that your youngster will probably be more comfortable wearing their own pfd.
Should we tip the crew?
The crew members on Zodiac are primarily a volunteer crew. It is customary on charter vessels to tip crew and gratuities are greatly appreciated. All gratuities are split evenly amongst crew and officers (as well as the ship's cook). Should you wish to offer a tip to the crew, you may speak with either the first Mate or ship's cook on the last day of the trip.
Where can I stay locally prior to or after my cruise?
There are many local, friendly inns offering reasonable rates in Fairhaven and Bellingham. With the Amtrak and Greyhound station literally yards away from the cruise terminal, it is very easy to arrive the evening before and stay in town. On the Contact Us page on our schoonerzodaic.com website, you will find a list of local Fairhaven restaurants and pubs as well as guest lodgings. There is also a link to the AMTRAK reservations site.
What if I need to cancel my trip?
All cancellations for any reason must be received in writing and are subject to a $100 per-person administrative fee; this administration fee can be applied toward a future Zodiac cruise within three years of the date of issue. Cancellations that occur within 30 days of departure or non-appearance will result in forfeiture of the entire cost of trip, unless the trip can be re-sold. In the event that the trip is resold; the refund for the value of the resale price, minus a $100 per person fee will be refunded. Should you have concerns about the possibility of having to cancel your trip within the thirty day period, we strongly recommend that you purchase trip insurance. Should the Schooner Zodiac be required to cancel any trip due to lack of registration or unforeseen conditions, the amount of your submitted payment will be refunded to you.
All itineraries and stops are subject to the Captain's discretion and may vary due to weather and unforeseen conditions.
If you are making a reservation on the Schooner Zodiac, we strongly suggest that you purchase TRIP INSURANCE [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travel_insurance ] As the Schooner Zodiac is a small passenger vessel (and also a small, family run business), we are unable to absorb the monetary loss of passenger cancellations for any reason within the stated 30 days of departure. (*See cancellation policy on our website and on your confirmation letter). To locate travelers insurance/ trip insurance; go to google.com and type in "trip insurance"; there are many companies that offer insurance for low-cost rates. (ie: $15- $30 for a trip costing $800) The Zodiac is not required to refund any or all of the fare if cancellation occur within 30 days of departure. It is up to the individual traveler to arrange for insurance to cover the losses resulting from cancellations.
*NOTE: Should the vessel be forced to cancel a trip for any reason, we will refund all fares.
What can I do if I leave something behind on the ship?
The Schooner Zodiac does not have a lost and found on board. We strongly recommend that passengers clearly label all of their belongings and check bags carefully upon departure. Should you leave something of value onboard the ship, you may check in with the administrative line (206.325.6122) but there are no guarantees that the crew will be aboard once docked. During our sailing season, the ship is cleaned by a private contractor and often out sailing on another cruise the next day. Items left behind do not stay onboard. The best way to ensure against loss is to clearly label and inventory your belongings.
How can I come back and volunteer for the ship?
Many passengers are eager to return as volunteers. We ask that you contact our volunteer coordinator Richard DePartee through the website email email@example.com. Volunteers typically start their tenure during winter re-fit season, (November through March). We have many projects on the Zodiac during the down time and all types of skills, personalities and talents are appreciated to keep the 85 year old ship sailing.
If you are interested in supporting the schooner Zodiac financially, we have a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and restore ships such as Zodiac and others (see the schooner Martha, Schooner Lavengro and the Rebecca). This 501c3 non-profit is called the North West Schooner Society and donations can be made to support either schooner restoration projects or towards scholarships for at-risk or under-privileged Youth On-Board programs.
See the NWSS website for donation information. www.nwschooner.org. All contributions are tax-deductable.
Thanks for your interest and participation with the schooner Zodiac!
Wondering what to pack? You might want to check out our Packing List (PDF)