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Weddings with Waterways

Romance is still in the air even though Valentine’s Day is over, so let’s take a walk down memory lane and remember unique weddings that happened aboard our yachts. Veronica and Edwin were married on the Emerald Star in 2000. It was a beautiful wedding in every way, just as they imagined it.  Fourteen years later, they still love talking about their special day and they return when they can to celebrate their anniversary. They were guests aboard the Emerald Star on our Valentine’s Day cruise this year and had a great time, even witnessing a proposal—how special is that?

Veronica and Edwin have graciously shared some of their photos and tell their story in their own words.

“Waterways went above and beyond to make our wedding day truly unforgettable. They were especially accommodating with our many special requests. What a unique treat to be on the water especially for those who came from out of state! Even the locals got to experience Seattle from a different, beautiful perspective.”

“The photos were priceless during the ceremony with the skyline and Space Needle in the background as we floated in the middle of the lake.  The bonus was going by the famous sites like the Sleepless in Seattle floating home, or seeing Bill Gate’s home from a distance.  Every time I see the Emerald Star now, it brings back wonderful memories.  You’re just not going to get all these experiences with any building venue.  We highly recommend Waterways.”

“At that time, the Emerald Star didn’t have a freezer (they have a full kitchen now) but we really wanted ice cream. The staff didn’t hesitate to let us know they would make it happen for us. Little did we expect to be so blown away with what they did. During the reception, another boat from their fleet was circling around us.  At one point, the two boats majestically came together bow to bow, and both crews helped rope over a tub of ice cream to us!  Guests on both vessels were so thrilled, we all broke into applause. What a memorable experience!  We’re so happy to have caught on video and in photographs! “

What an unforgettable story! Over the last 20 years, Waterways has hosted over 2,000 weddings for  happy couples, so we consider ourselves somewhat of an expert when it comes to making dreams come true.

For your planning convenience, we have designed wedding packages that can be easily customized to make your event just perfect. We take care of the details, creating easy and flexible options for your unique occasion.  Make an appointment with one of our wedding event specialists for a tour of the yachts, and don’t forget that a captain can officiate at your wedding ceremony–it’s pretty special to be married by a captain in uniform! Maybe someday you can walk down memory lane and share your remarkable wedding story with us too.

Thank you, Veronica and Edwin, for letting us share your story!

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Chef Udo and his Mother’s Pot Roast Recipe

Meet Udo Belew, our own artist-in-residence, musician and Executive Chef. “I grew up in an artistic family—my mother is a talented oil painter and my father is a well- known guitar player and solo performer. They both taught me so much and inspired my artistic interests. I am a chef and an artist because of both of them influencing me in my very lucky childhood.

At a very young age I got my first drum set and began learning the basics of music from my father, the best teacher I could ask for! If you have any idea how loud drums are, you would understand how amazing and patient my parents were putting up with all that noise. But my father was often away on tour for months at a time, and my mother insisted that the kids help around the house. I was the second oldest of four, so when I was “old enough”, she began to show me around the kitchen. I didn’t realize it at the time, but we share a lot of the same passions, one of them being food! Not only could I eat 20 pancakes in one sitting, but I knew how to cook them too! She taught me knife skills, the complex ways of cooking and handling eggs, chicken curry with rice, and many other delicious dishes. Later in life, she explained the politics of a kitchen. I don’t think I will ever be old enough for that lesson!

Back then, at four, I was the king of two things—the swing set and pancakes. Now I run a very unique kitchen and execute complex events on three yachts.

I owe my start as a chef to my mother, so I thought I would share a recipe for one of my favorite comfort foods from my childhood—Maggie’s Pot Roast. I can taste it just by closing my eyes and going back in time…


3-4 lb chuck roast
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp olive oil
1 diced yellow onion
2 cups diced carrot
15 baby potatoes
8 garlic cloves
2 cups dice celery
2 bay leaves
1/2 lb unsalted butter
2 strips bacon (optional)

Start with a dry rub of salt, pepper and onion powder, poke many holes in the meat, and push slivers of fresh garlic all the way into the holes. Sear the meat in a bit of olive oil, put it in a baking dish with enough room left to hold carrots, onions, celery and thyme. Salt and pepper the vegetables, cover with foil or lid, and roast at 325 until you can easily put a fork in it and twist. This should take a couple hours, depending on the meat. You can add small potatoes and even whole butter to the mix or cumin and chili pepper if you like it on the spicy side.

When he is not busy designing menus, cooking and tending to his garden at Waterways for fresh herbs and vegetables, Chef Udo can be found at his home recording studio, composing, arranging, and playing with his band.

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Apple Cup Sailgating Cruise

The exciting Apple Cup game between the University of Washington Huskies and the Washington State University Cougars is returning to Seattle this year for a showdown in the new Husky Stadium! The Apple Cup brings together some of the most talented college football players in the NCAA football league.

Whether your color is purple or red, we have entertainment planned for you!

The teams played for the “Governor’s Trophy” until 1962, when it was renamed the Apple Cup after Washington’s famous apple crop. A trophy has passed back and forth between the teams since 1900, the year the first rivalry game was held between the schools.  The Cougars won in overtime last year and with the Huskies holding a 67-32-6 advantage going into this year’s game, anything can happen. Both teams will be fighting for dominance, and the fans are just as fierce in their loyalty to their team.

Join us aboard the Apple Cup Sailgating Cruise and experience tailgating in style aboard a beautiful yacht! Avoid traffic jams and parking hassles at the stadium and enjoy a delicious lunch buffet, beautiful views of Seattle and a full service bar available during the cruise and at half-time! We will be serving specialty Apple Cup cocktails, red or purple, your choice!

Cruise to the UW Husky Stadium aboard the Emerald Star to view this historic game!

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New Fall Dinner Menu

Another beautiful autumn has arrived in Seattle, bringing with it brilliant colors and cooler temperatures. It is a perfect time to relax and get cozy on a Waterways yacht. Sip on a warm drink from our full service bar and enjoy shoreline views and city lights as you cruise the calm waters of Seattle’s lakes. Chef Udo’s fall dinner menu includes four new entrees offering the ultimate in comfort food with a Pacific Northwest touch, and featuring fresh seasonal ingredients with a beautiful presentation.

Pan-seared French-cut Chicken Breast is served with roasted root vegetables, roasted butternut squash, tarragon potatoes and chicken demi-glace.

Pan-seared French-cut Chicken Breast

Pan-seared Bistro-cut Hanger Steak is served with young potatoes, pearl onions, carrots, beets, arugula oil, and black mission fig demi-glace.

Pan-seared Bistro-cut Hanger Steak

Citrus-seared Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon is served with roasted beets, winter vegetables, and turnip puree.

Citrus-seared Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon

Winter Harvest Sauté features braised kale and rainbow chard served over herbed quinoa and tomato jus drizzled with arugula oil and topped with almonds.

Winter Harvest Sauté

No matter the season, you are always invited to dinner aboard a Waterways yacht! Your boarding toast of champagne, private table, friendly and professional service and waterfront views create the perfect setting for you and your guests.

Check our Sunset Dinner Cruise schedule for delicious fall dining afloat!

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Chef Udo’s White Balsamic Vinaigrette

This amazing dressing is used on many salads that Chef Udo prepares and goes particularly well with blue cheese, goat cheese, almonds and berries. You can also add some fresh pears or apples.


  • ¾ cup canola and extra virgin olive oil blend
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. stone-ground mustard
  • 1 Tsp. of minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp. of minced fresh shallot
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large mixing bowl add the mustard, garlic, shallot and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify (see below). Whisk in the honey and lemon and add salt and pepper to taste. Use kosher salt and fresh ground pepper for the best results in all cooking.


Definition of Emulsification

Emulsify means combining two liquids together which normally don’t mix easily. The ingredients are usually oil or a fat like olive oil or egg yolks, and another liquid like water or broth. Acidic liquids like lemon juice help the process by changing the pH of the mixture. The liquids are combined very slowly, usually drop by drop, while beating vigorously, which suspends drops of liquid throughout each other. Béarnaise, hollandaise, and mayonnaise are examples of emulsified foods.

Tips on Mixing the Vinaigrette

The most effective way of combining the oil and the vinegar is in a blender. If you don’t have a blender, you can combine everything in a glass or stainless steel bowl and whisk thoroughly. (Just don’t use an aluminum bowl — the acid in the vinegar can react with the aluminum, producing a metallic flavor.) You could even seal the ingredients in a clean glass jar or bottle and shake to combine. For best results, all your ingredients should be at room temperature when you begin. The cooler the oil, the more difficult it is to make an emulsion.

Once you have mixed the ingredients, let the flavors meld for a while, especially when you go beyond the basic formula and introduce additional ingredients such as minced onion, garlic, herbs, etc. Ideally you would prepare the vinaigrette in advance and then let it sit for a few hours. Just don’t refrigerate it during this time!

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Chef Udo’s Crazy Mushroom and Arugula Lasagna

Among the many mouth-watering dishes that we offer on our Two Lakes Lunch Cruise is Chef Udo’s delicious lasagna. There are so many requests for this recipe that we wanted to share it with all his fans!

You will need a large casserole dish or a hotel-style baking pan, parchment or wax paper, and aluminum foil. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to alter the quantities of the ingredients. This recipe is written for a half size hotel pan (about 10”x12” and 2 ½” deep).The deeper the pan – the more layers!

5 large egg pasta sheets 8×12 (ok to use smaller ones and overlap)
1 pint ricotta cheese
1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ gal heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. minced shallots
1 lemon juiced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 lb. baby arugula
2 tbsp. minced parsley
4 cups of your favorite mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1 tbsp. minced fresh thyme
Olive oil


Since all the ingredients are layered together anyway, I find it easier to add the tomatoes, mushrooms and arugula to the sauce.

In a medium-sized pot, preheat oil, add tomatoes and mushrooms, and sauté for a few minutes on medium-high heat. Add more oil (or butter) if they dry out too much. Add garlic and shallots and stir. Quickly add white wine so garlic does not burn. Add cream and lemon juice and reduce heat to low.

Continue stirring often until the sauce thickens (it should coat the back of a spoon when ready).

Remove sauce from heat and add arugula, saving a handful for garnish. Add salt, pepper and thyme.


After the sauce has cooled, you are ready to build layers. Start by lightly oiling the inside of your pan.

Create your first (bottom) layer of pasta. It’s very important to put pasta down first. Spread a layer of the sauce on top of pasta. Add a layer of ricotta, followed by a layer of mozzarella. Push down gently  to pack all layers. Repeat layering three or four more times. Sprinkle Gouda cheese on top of lasagna.

Cover with wax paper and then foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Uncover and finish baking until the cheese starts to brown (about 10 minutes).

Remove from the oven and let it cool for ten minutes before serving. Top with parsley and more arugula.

Enjoy and then treat yourself to a nice long nap!

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Oktoberfest Recipe – Traditional Braised Green Cabbage

Thinking about celebrating fall with a savory dish fit for a traditional Oktoberfest meal? Chef Udo just shared one of his recipes and it sounds just perfect for a cool autumn day in Seattle!

1 medium head green cabbage, shredded
6oz diced bacon
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. caraway seeds
1 tbsp. mustard seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon on medium high heat in a large heavy-bottomed pot until most of the fat has rendered (about 5 minutes).

As bacon begins to crisp, add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Stir to incorporate and reduce heat to medium low.

Continue braising the mix for 20 minutes, stirring often and adding small amounts of butter when it appears to dry out.

Season with salt and pepper and serve hot with grilled German sausage and spicy mustard-mashed potatoes! And don’t forget beer!

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Oktoberfest with a Northwest Twist

Raise your beer mug and prepare for the Oktoberfest celebrations happening all around town! Seattle is thousands of miles away from Bavaria, but distance doesn’t affect the popularity of this fall holiday in the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to the established annual Fremont Oktoberfest that blends the eccentric Fremont spirit with local microbrews, craft beers, love of dogs and a 5K beer run, a new Oktoberfest celebration in Kirkland is making its appearance for the first time this year. Branded as Oktoberfest with a Northwest Twist, Kirkland Oktoberfest runs over the course of 3 days from September 27 through 29 and takes place on the waterfront in downtown Kirkland. Enjoy German and local craft beers, traditional German fare, wiener dog racing and costume contests. Entertainment stages will feature imported Oktoberfest bands and Seattle-area bands playing Scandinavian and German tunes for dancing the night away. There will be lots of fun activities to please guests of all ages.

100% of the net proceeds from Kirkland’s Oktoberfest go back into the Eastside community. Your participation in the festival helps fund several local nonprofits including the Detlef Schrempf Foundation, the Kirkland Events Foundation, the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce and the Kirkland Downtown Association.

Waterways’ Oktoberfest Cruises will be departing from the Kirkland Marina Park where the Kirkland Oktoberfest celebration is taking place on October 27th and 28th. If you love beer and all things Oktoberfest, present your Oktoberfest Cruise ticket confirmation at the check-in to Kirkland’s Oktoberfest Festival and receive 3 EXTRA TOKENS with your admission to the Biergarten. For an authentic German toast to Oktoberfest, whether aboard our cruise or on the waterfront, raise your mug and say “Eins, Zwei, Drei, G’suffa!”, which means “One, Two, Three – Drink up!”

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Sunday Brunch on Seattle’s Waterways

Welcome aboard! You know you are embarking upon a pleasant adventure when you see Captain Ron’s smiling face greeting you on the dock.

Our Sunday Brunch Cruises offer a delightful way to spend a relaxing afternoon on the water and to indulge in an expansive brunch buffet bursting with local flavors. Start your cruise with a complimentary champagne toast upon boarding and order a handcrafted cocktail to enhance your meal from our full-service bar onboard. Try a refreshing Pomegranate Mojito, a spicy Bloody Mary or a lush green Arboretum cocktail to feel like a true Seattleite!

Stroll on the deck to enjoy the warm sunshine and a fresh breeze and take in the sights of our world-class city from the water. There are views of eclectic houseboats and sun-worshippers in a hot-tub boat, a dinosaur skeleton seen through a giant glass wall of a mansion, and even the estate of the entrepreneur who gave the world a personal computer. We don’t need to mention his name, do we?

At the brunch buffet, you will be treated to sweet breads and croissants, an elaborate fruit display, freshly grilled vegetables and a crisp green salad, savory soup du jour, black bean and scallion hash browns and crisp thick-cut bacon.

But that’s not all! At the omelet station, our chef will make your eggs to order with all your favorite ingredients.  And don’t forget to try Chef Udo’s signature smoked salmon, served with a decadent horseradish mousse. There is probably not much space left on your plate, but when you come back for seconds, top it off with buttermilk wheat pancakes and berries for a dose of healthy anti-oxidants.

Remember to stop by the pilothouse and say hello to the Captain! He may even let you drive the boat for a little while!

We hope to see you aboard soon. And don’t worry if you can’t make it during the summer, our brunch cruises run year-round and we update our menu with seasonal ingredients to keep it fresh and local. Cruises depart at 11:00 am on Sundays from Kirkland Marina Park and South Lake Union.

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Waterways accepted into PVA GREEN WATERS Program

Blue is the color we love to use when describing water, but sometimes it is more appropriate to call it GREEN! Here at Waterways we are honored to be recognized by the Passenger Vessel Association as part of its Green WATERS Program for our commitment to a cleaner, greener marine environment.

WATERS (“We Are Taking Environmental Responsibility/Stewardship”) is designed exclusively for the passenger vessel industry as a voluntary program aimed at minimizing waste and operating in a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable environment. This summer we joined dozens of other operators in taking personal responsibility for reducing environmental impact by lowering fuel consumption, conserving potable water and energy, using less harmful chemicals, and creating a greener workplace.

The following is a short list of things Waterways is currently doing to contribute to the preservation and improvement of our marine environment:


  • Recycle cardboard, office waste, and other paper products
  • Recycle glass, aluminum and plastic containers
  • Collect and recycle scrap metal and wood
  • Use energy-efficient light bulbs
  • Use recycled paper products and print using recycled cartridges
  • Donate or sell used equipment to recycle it for future use
  • Use online reservations and email instead of paper ticketing and document sharing


  • Collect kitchen waste and send it to a commercial composter to turn into soil amendments
  • Plant an herb garden to supplement chef’s original recipes
  • Use as much organic, fresh and locally-sourced vegetable and meat products as possible

Chef Udo watering a bumper crop of organic tomatoes and herbs for his delicious entrees for Waterways’ menus

Chef Udo’s greenhouse to protect the young and tender herbs in early spring


  • Recycle waste engine oil and oil filters
  • Reduce vessels’ engine emission in compliance with EPA regulations
  • Appoint the vessels’ interior with sustainable materials, including cabinetry, countertops, low VOC paint, energy-efficient windows and HVAC system
  • Use eco-friendly coating and a recyclable metal hull for the vessels

In the future our plans for a more environmentally friendly approach to our business will be:

  • Completing all dock construction and repair using non-creosote based products.
  • Develop eco-friendly landscaping along the shoreline of our property that enhances protection of salmon fry and fingerlings from predatory fish, otters, and herons.
  • Promote salmon-friendly environment with a new light porous deck that allows 60% light penetration
  • Repower our vessels with the latest high-tech engines approved by the EPA, engines which are 25% more fuel efficient and reduce carbon emissions by 90%

Waterways’ adopted duck family is a regular visitor to our HomePort

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