Frequently Asked Questions
From weather to attire, and dining to drinks. From tip to toe here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about our DC fleet.
Are any discounts available? +
Any available discounts may be found on our "Offers & Deals" page.
Are pets allowed on the boats? +
Sadly, there are too many people with animal allergies to allow pets on our public cruises. The only exception would be for certified service animals or one of our special pet friendly cruises such as the Canine Cruise.
Are there any age requirements for children? +
Children are welcome on most standard lunch and dinner cruises and children under 3 are complimentary. However, we do have certain cruises that are restricted to adults 21+ with photo ID. Our 21+ cruises will note the age restriction on the cruise landing page as well as during the check-out process. Adults boarding 21+ cruises will required to show a photo ID.
Are your docks and vessels ADA accessible +
All Wharf Water Taxis, and the National Harbor Alexandria Water Taxi are ADA compliant. The Georgetown dock is not ADA accessible.
Can Commuters Get Multiple Tickets At One Time? +
Commuters are permitted to pick-up up to seven (7) timed tickets, in advance, for return trips only. Each return ticket must be for a different day.
Can I bring my bike aboard? +
Yes, you can bring your standard bike aboard select vessels. All of our new water taxis vessels on the Wharf route feature bike racks on-board. Based on space available, we may not be able to accommodate a recumbent bike or a tandem bike or any other type of oversized bike.
Subject to the number of passengers on-board and number of bikes. Please check with the captain before purchasing ticket.
Can I make changes to my reservation? +
For changes to your order, you must contact our customer service center at (866) 302-2469.
Can I make changes to my reservation? +
You may add tickets or upgrades to your cruise through the link in your confirmation email. You are unable to remove tickets or upgrades online, but our customer service center can further assist at 1 (866) 305-2469.
All cruise tickets are non-refundable. However, for parties of 19 guests or fewer you may reschedule your cruise free of charge with at least seven days advance notice. If you must reschedule your cruise less than one week prior to the cruise date, you will incur a rebooking fee. For Lunch and Moonlight Cruises, the fee is $15 per person. For Dinner Cruises, the fee is $25 per person. The balance of your payment will be held on your account and can be applied toward a future cruise within the next year. All Specialty and Holiday Cruises are non-refundable and non-transferable. For parties larger than 20 please consult the terms of your contract.
Can I purchase tickets online? +
For parties of 19 guests or less, tickets are available for online purchase. We ask that groups of 20 or more contact us so one of our event coordinators can assist with your event.
Can I Use A VIP Voucher Or Big Bus Tickets Or Other Third-Party Tickets, E.G. Viator, Old Town Trolley, Or Smart Destinations To Get A Commuter Ticket Or A Commuter Pass? +
No. Third-party and Partner tickets may not be used to exchange or purchase Commuter Tickets or Commuter Passes.
Can I Use My Commuter Pass On The Monuments Boat? +
Yes, the Alexandria to Georgetown boat can be considered a water taxi and is valid with the Commuter Pass.
Can I Use My Commuter Roundtrip Ticket At Any Time Of Day? +
A Commuter Roundtrip Ticket is valid for the day that it is activated. A Commuter Roundtrip Ticket is activated when used for the first time during a morning Commuter run, prior to 10am. Tickets are not intended for specific departure times and may be used on any commuter run in the mornings, on a first come first served basis. For all other night and weekend rides, you must stop at a ticket booth, show your pass and retrieve a timed ticket. This ticket is meant to be used for those commuters that don’t think they will use the service very often.
Can I use my commuter ticket on any day? +
Yes. Commuter Tickets are not intended for specific departure times and may be used on any commuter run in the mornings, on a first come, first served basis. A Commuter Ticket is activated when it is used during a commuter run in the morning and is valid for that day. Once activated, that Commuter Ticket may not be used on a different day. A Commuter Ticket can only be activated during a morning Commuter run, prior to 10am.
Can I Use My Season Pass For Commuter Runs? +
Yes, a Season Pass may be used for the commuter hours. Season Pass holders are permitted to pick-up up to seven (7) timed tickets for return trips only. Each return ticket must be for a different day.
Can I Use My Transit Benefits To Purchase A Commuter Pass? +
Yes, a valid Transit Benefits debit card may be used for purchasing the Commuter pass.
Can I Use The Commuter Pass On Weekends (Saturday And/Or Sunday)? +
The Commuter Pass may be used on Saturday and Sunday. The Commuter Pass is valid on all seven (7) days of the week (Monday – Sunday). Please disregard the notation on the Commuter Pass that limits usage to Monday through Friday.
Cn I change my water taxi return trip time? +
If you need to change your water taxi return time, you may do so at the ticket booth for no charge as long as space is available. You may also call us at 877-511-2628 to change your return time provided space is available.
Do you go to every home game on the baseball boat schedule? +
Yes, we go to every home baseball game.
Do you sail in inclement weather? +
Absolutely. Our ships are fully enclosed and climate-controlled for your comfort. We sail rain or shine all year long.
How does the charter process work? +
Great question! Check out our "New to Event Planning" page for full details. If you still have questions, don't hesitate to give us a call.
How Does The Commuter Pass Work? +
The Commuter Pass is valid for any Water Taxi, on all seven days of the week. For commuter runs BEFORE 10 am, proceed directly to the boat, show your pass and board on a first come, first served basis. For all other night and weekend rides, you must stop at a ticket booth, show your pass and retrieve a timed ticket.
How does the commuter-round trip ticket work? +
This ticket is meant to be used for those commuters that don’t think they will use the service very often. The Commuter Ticket is valid for any Water Taxi. A Commuter Ticket is valid for ONE DAY from May 28 through September 8; Monday through Friday, during commuter hours only. The first usage must occur prior to 10am.
How long does my Spirit of Mount Vernon cruise last? +
Approximately 7 hours.
SW Waterfront Boarding Time 8:15am | Departure 8:30am
Arrival at Mount Vernon 10:00am (3 hours to explore the grounds)
Return Boarding 1:15pm | Departure 1:30pm
Arrival at SW Waterfront 3:00pm
How long is the cruise? +
Our dining cruises range between 2-3 hours. Water taxis, sightseeing cruises and excursions have varying lengths.
How soon should I be at the dock? +
Like an airport; one needs a boarding pass to go on the vessel; you must get your ticket from the booth on the dock prior to boarding. Please arrive at the dock 20 – 30 minutes prior to the cruise time to allow enough time.
I had an issue with my cruise experience? What now? +
Our guests are our number one priority and we strive to provide the ultimate guest experience. In the event that your cruise has not met your expectations, please call your local Hornblower number with specifics of your experience. We'd love the opportunity to make it right.
Is The Commuter Water Taxi Service Available All Year? +
No. Currently, the Commuter Water Taxi Service is only scheduled to operate during the Metro Shutdown, May 28 through September 8 only.
Is there a group rate? +
We offer group rates for parties of 20 or more on all of our standard cruises. Pricing is subject to change due to availability and cruise date
Is there parking at the Alexandria dock? +
115 S Union Street, Alexandria & 300 North Lee Street, Alexandria
Daily parking and pre-reserved parking available for evenings or weekend events.
101 North Union Street, Alexandria
Market Square Standard Parking
108 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria
Port of Alexandria
210 The Strand, Alexandria
225 South Union Street, Alexandria
220 North Union Street, Alexandria
Thompson’s Alley Standard Parking
10 Thompson Alley, Alexandria
Is there parking at the Georgetown dock? +
3000 K Street Northwest Washington D.C., DC 20007
Constitution Parking Inc
3217 K Street Northwest Washington D.C., DC 20007
Is there parking at the National Harbor dock? +
Entrance on Fleet Street & Potomac Passage
National Harbor, Maryland
Entrance on Waterfront Street and Mariner Passage
National Harbor , Maryland
St. George’s Parking Garage
Entrance located on St. Georges Blvd and Waterman Passage
National Harbor , Maryland
Is there parking at The Wharf dock? +
District Wharf Parking Garage
600 Water St SW, Washington, DC 20024*
L’Enfant Plaza garage
420 10th Street SW
Is there still availability? +
Our cruise calendar lists all available tickets. If you do not see the desired cruise listed, please call us to ensure availability.
What are your age requirements? +
We ask that any guests under the age of 18 are accompanied by an adult.
What do I need to bring in order to pick up my tickets? +
We ask that guests have photo identification and their cruise order number handy to pick up the tickets. Our ticket booths open one hour prior to cruise boarding time and are conveniently located near our ship's docking location.
What happens if my cruise is cancelled? +
Our cruises take place rain or shine. However, in the rare event that the Coast Guard prohibits cruised due to inclement weather, our staff will contact you directly to make other arrangements.
What happens in inclement weather? +
Our cruises take place rain or shine. However, in the rare event that the Coast Guard prohibits cruises due to inclement weather, our staff will contact you directly to make other arrangements.
What if I lost something on board? +
We're happy to coordinate an inquiry with our boats to locate lost items. Please e-mail [email protected] with the name of vessel, date of event/cruise date, confirmation number, contact information and a description of the item so that our team is best equipped to search.
What is "boarding time" and "cruising time"? +
"Boarding Time" is the earliest our guests may board the ship, approximately 30 minutes prior to the "Cruise Time.” Tickets are available for guest pick-up one hour prior to your cruise at our dockside kiosk. Our vessels will leave the dock promptly at the start of the cruising time.
What is a marine fee? +
Marine fees include, but are not limited to: fuel surcharges, docking fees, vessel licensing, as well as other costs associated with operating a commercial cruise business
What is an administration fee? +
The administration fee is used to cover direct costs, not representative of a tip or gratuity, for our service staff.
What is the address for the National Harbor dock? +
145 National Plaza, National Harbor, MD 20745 (near McCormick and Schmick’s Restaurant)
What is the address for the The Wharf dock? +
Drop-Off Address: 950 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC
Dock Address: Transit Pier, 950 Wharf St SW
What is the cruise route? +
Our cruise routes are located on the cruise's landing page. To locate the route, on the website navigation, click "dining cruises" and select the page for the cruise type that you booked (dinner, lunch, brunch, or the specific holiday or special event listed).
What Is The Reimbursement Plan Being Run By City Of Alexandria? +
Contact the Transportation Department at the City of Alexandria [email protected] Entertainment Cruises is NOT RECEIVING ANY SUBSIDIES.
What is the typical elegant cruise attire? +
Our dinner cruises have a more formal tone, we recommend cocktail wear or "dressy-casua"l attire. Dresses, skirts, collared shirts and dress pants are appropriate for your dinner cruise. While still permitted, we discourage casual jeans, t-shirts, athletic shoes and foam flip-flops.
Daytime Cruises: Lunch, Brunch, Cocktail
For your lunch/brunch/ cocktail cruise, we recommend more "dressy-casual" attire. Sundresses, nice pants or shorts, collared shirts, dressy jeans are all appropriate for your daytime cruise. While permitted, we discourage casual jeans, t-shirts, athletic shoes and foam flip-flops.
As we are cruising on the water, we recommend wearing flat closed-toe shoes (although not enforced)
What is your cancellation policy? +
- Cruise tickets are non-refundable, however, we do allow guests of parties 19 or fewer to reschedule their cruise at no extra charge, provided at least seven days advance notice is given.
-A rebooking fee will be incurred by guests who are unable to provide the minimum of seven days notice. For Lunch and Moonlight Cruises, rebooking fees are $15 per person. For Dinner Cruises, rebooking fees are $25 per person. The cruise will hold the balance of your payment on your account to be applied towards a future cruise booked within the next year.
- All Holiday & Special Event Cruises are non-refundable and non-transferable.
- Should your group be larger than 20 guests, we ask you to refer to your Terms of Contract for specific cancellation policy details.
What is your pet policy? +
Service animals and psychiatric support animals (dogs and mini horses) are permitted onboard, we ask that they are harnessed, leashed or tethered unless these devices interfere with the service animal's ability to work or the individual's disability prevents using these devices. No other pets are permitted on our vessels.
What should I expect when boarding? +
You will be asked to show your ticket upon boarding. In accordance with US Coast Guard Regulation, all passengers and their belongings embarking onto our vessels are subject to search and screening. To expedite the boarding process, we ask that you do not bring unnecessary bags onboard and please ensure that all gifts are unwrapped or placed in gift bags or for easy screening.
What should I wear on my cruise? +
We recommend casually stylish attire such as nice pants or jeans, polos, button-down shirts, and sundresses or skirts. Although allowed, we strongly discourage t-shirts, casual jeans, shorts, and sneakers.
All Other Cruises
Relaxed and casual attire is acceptable. As we are cruising on the water, we recommend wearing flat closed-toe shoes (although not enforced)
What's the address of the Alexandria City Marina? +
105 North Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (Behind the Torpedo Factory Art Center)
What's the address of the Georgetown dock? +
3050 K St NW, Washington, DC 20007 (In front of Fiola Mare restaurant)
What's your weather cancellation policy? +
We go rain or shine, we only cancel when the United States Coast Guard closes the Potomac River.
Where can I park (Elite) +
Capital and National Elite offer two different docking locations and flexible boarding and cruising times that allow for a completely customized event that’s exactly as you envisioned.
Departures from Washington, DC
580 Water Street SW • Washington, DC 20024
A number of nearby lots and meters offer additional convenient parking within walking distance. Paid underground parking is also available at the Wharf.
* Parking garage at Safeway - 0.3 mi
* Parking garage at The Wharf - 0.4 mi
* Parking garage at L'enfant Plaza - 0.7 mi
Departures from National Harbor, MD
Enjoy No-Hassle Parking at National Harbor starting at $3/hour. Choose from thousands of spaces and several easy payment options. Visit the National Harbor website (http://nationalharbor.com/directions/) for more information
Where can I park? (Spirit & Odyssey) +
Spirit of Washington and Spirit of Mount Vernon both depart from Gangplank Marina off Water Street. Pier 4 • 580 Water Street SW • Washington, DC 20024. A number of nearby lots and meters are available to offer additional convenient parking within walking distance. Paid underground parking is also available at the Wharf.
* Parking garage at Safeway - 0.3 mi
* Parking garage at The Wharf - 0.4 mi
* Parking garage at L'enfant Plaza - 0.7 mi
Where can I pick up my Water Taxi commuter pass? +
Commuter Passes can be picked up at either the ticket booth closest to your home address. For example, a VA address will be at the Alexandria Ticket Booth. You will receive an email letting you know when your pass is ready.
Where do I pick up my tickets? +
Our ticket booths are located near the ship's docking location. Guests are able to pick up their ticket on hour prior to boarding time, we ask that guests provide photo identification and their order number when picking up tickets.
Where does the National Mall water taxi dock? +
The boat pulls up alongside the river at West Basin Drive and Ohio Drive, there is NOT a physical dock at this location
Where is my confirmation email? +
If you have not received your confirmation e-mail, please check your spam filter. If you still cannot find it call us or e-mail [email protected]
While on Board
Do you have bars onboard? What ID do I need to bring? +
Full-service cash-bars are available on board for our guest 21+ who possess a valid ID (State Issued Identification (Driver’s License), Military ID, US or Foreign Passport or Passport Card, US Liquor ID). We are unable to accept photocopies. Global entry ID is not a valid form of ID for proof of age.
Is my boat wheelchair accessible? +
The majority of our fleet decks and restrooms are able to accommodate most standard-sized wheelchairs. We ask that for specific accessibility concerns you please call the local Hornblower number and ensure that you are seated on an accessible deck.
Is there WiFi onboard? +
We're pleased to provide onboard WiFi for our guests.
What entertainment is provided? (Odyssey DC) +
Cruises will feature our house band playing softer music during our brunch and lunch cruises and throughout the early portion of our dinner cruises. As guests board the ship, the band will play background music allowing for the opportunity to mingle. As the ship departs the pier, our vocalist will join in. After your meal, guests are encouraged to head to the dance floor as the vibe switches to more high energy, perfect for dancing.Our vocalist will join in as the ship departs the pier.
What entertainment is provided? (Spirit of Mount Vernon) +
Guests are treated to a narrated riverfront tour as you pass both historic and modern landmarks, such as Alexandria, the Ronald Regan airport and Fort Washington. Your ticket also includes admission to Mount Vernon with three hours to explore the estate and gardens.
What entertainment is provided? (US Spirit Dining) +
Spirit of Washington allows you to experience a festive and fun atmosphere at your own pace. Unwind in our comfortable climate-controlled indoor lounge, or take a stroll to our spacious open-air observation deck.
Music - DJ
An onboard DJ will spin favorites from various genres and styles throughout the cruise. After your meal, we invite our guest to cut-loose while making their way to the dance floor.
There are a variety of indoor and outdoor interactive games available onboard. Whether you're looking for a challenging round of supersize jenga, or to unleash your competitive side with a game of foosball or tabletop shuffleboard, there is something for everyone.
What ID do I need to bring to order an alcoholic beverage? +
We accept the following forms of ID for alcoholic beverages: State Issued Identification (Driver’s License), Military ID, US or Foreign Passport or Passport Card, US Liquor ID. We are unable to accept photocopies . Global Entry ID is not a valid form of ID for proof of age.
What is your smoking policy? +
We permit smoking on the exterior decks, except for the rooftop lounge, however, smoking is not permitted in the vessel's interior.
What kind of table will we have? How many guests fit at our table? +
While our tables typically accommodate up to 8 people, larger parties will be seated at adjacent tables.
Will I get seasick? +
As our ships cruise on calm bodies of water, seasickness is unlikely due to our stability - most guests can hardly tell we are moving!
Will I have cell service onboard? +
Our cruise routes keep us within one mile from the shore, ensuring that most cellular services are unaffected by cruises.
How do you accommodate for food allergies? +
Our vessels do not permit any outside food, however, for specific dietary requests, please call us to ensure we are able to accommodate your concerns.
While we do our best by trying to offer gluten and allergy free products as well as gluten sensitive menu items, we openly handle several allergens throughout our galleys. While we take precautions to keep ingredients separate, we cannot guarantee a gluten free environment. We do not have separate prep surfaces, cook tops or equipment. Our chefs prepare and cook in common areas with shared equipment, therefore the items may come in contact with other food products.
What drinks are included? +
During your cruise, guests are treated to complimentary hot tea, iced tea and coffee. Adult beverages are also available onboard for purchase for those 21+ with valid ID.
What is on the menu? +
All cruise dining menus are located on that cruise's landing page. On the navigation bar, click on "dining cruises" - and then select the page for the cruise type that you booked (dinner, lunch, brunch, or the specific holiday or special event)
Our chef-curated menus feature freshly prepared and seasonally inspired cuisine. Please note that menu items listed are subject to change. Vegan and vegetarian options are available by request. While we try to accommodate all dietary concerns, if there are any allergies in your party, please inform your server onboard.