About Kelly VanDewerker

Born and raised in Coeur d’Alene, Kelly joined Hagadone Hospitality in 2006, and became sales manager for Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises shortly thereafter. In that role, she helps her clients arrange charter boat cruises on Lake Coeur d’Alene for business meetings, weddings and receptions, family reunions and other special events. She is a graduate of the University of Montana-Missoula, and she and her husband Ryan have a young son.

Safety comes first with Coeur d’Alene Cruises

Not only is the team at Coeur d’Alene Cruises committed to making sure you have a good time on your cruise, but we’re also very safety conscious as well. We know that many families trust us to ensure they have a relaxed, enjoyable time, and it is our job to keep everything up to date. That’s why we’re always proud to say that we’re Coast Guard Certified, one of the highest levels of safety certification we could receive. We regularly have checks and are consistently updating our boats to include the latest safety practices.

So what does being Coast Guard Certified mean?

  1. Built for stability
    Before anyone stepped foot on our boats, we made sure they were built to be stable and last. Our boats all carry a Certificate of Inspection (COI) from the coast guard — we submitted tests, drawings and calculations for all our boats to ensure we are always carrying a safe number of passengers and using good practices.
  2. Meets good marine practices
    In addition to having a boat that is soundly built, we also need to ensure our boat is up to code for carrying passengers. This includes having railings that are the proper height, and entryways the correct width.
  3. Continued safety
    Safety isn’t a one-time check-off on our list. We’re continually training our team — and briefing our passengers — on proper safety procedures to make sure that we’re always prepared.

 Do you have questions about our safety procedures? Or are you ready to book your cruise? Let us know in the comments below, or contact us today!

What’s below the surface — a glimpse at the history of sunken ships in the Northwest

Not only are the beaches of Lake Coeur d’Alene and other North Idaho lakes and rivers the perfect place to spend summer months, but below the surface, many of the Northwest’s waterways have stories to tell! Here’s a sampling of some of the sunken ships and treasures at the bottom of the lake:   

Sunken ships:

The bottom of Lake Coeur d’Alene is home to dozens of ships that have sank during the past 200 years. Between the logging industry, steamer ships and tourists seeing the lake on old-time paddleboats, many boats have found their way to the bottom of the lake. The citizens of Coeur d’Alene even used to strip the steamer ships of useful parts, and use the boats as bases for the Fourth of July fireworks show off Independence Point in downtown. At the end of the night, the boats were set on fire and sunk — now scuba divers enjoy exploring the underwater boat park.

Naval equipment:

Lake Pend Oreille near Spokane is home to a U.S. Naval testing base that many locals are familiar with — since waters are so deep near Bayview, the Navy can train on and test submarines and other deep water equipment in the Idaho lake. But the base has come with its share of sunken items: an unarmed Navy torpedo is rumored to have sunk 50 years ago beneath 1,200 feet of water and a huge Navy barge with more than $1 million in equipment sank more than 1,000 feet below the surface in the 1970s. Because the items are so far down, it’s unlikely they’ll ever be dredged back up to the surface.


Divers in the more shallow waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene and Pend Oreille can scour the bottom for all sorts of treasures. Some may be new — car keys, sun glasses, watches or other items that have flow off boats or been dropped off docks, and sunk to the bottom. Even golf balls are not an unusual sight, having been hit off the Floating Green. However, some divers have found some obscure items too. One diver told the Spokesman Review about finding 25 Watling slot machines, all of which, he brought up from the lake bottom. The diver suspected the machines were dumped off a barge in the 1950s, when gambling was deemed illegal.

So whether you’re treasure hunting, scuba diving in the lake, or a boater, skimming the surface, think about all the strange items that have sunk during the past two centuries.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve found in Lake Coeur d’Alene or Pend Oreille? Do you have a favorite scuba dive spot? Let us know!

Coeur d’Alene Cruises offers the perfect graduation party location

As spring nears, students at Northwest high schools and colleges begin to look past final tests to graduation and beyond — moving away from home, getting a first job or starting a career. However, before it’s time to take the next step in your education or career, take a moment to celebrate all you’ve accomplished!

Graduation parties have always been a way to celebrate everything the students have done, giving them one last gathering with friends, family and loved ones before they venture out into the world. It’s an exciting time for college and high school students.

When looking for a venue for a graduation party — whether a private party for an individual graduate or a school-sponsored Grad Night — Coeur d’Alene Cruises offers a magical experience, giving graduates one more genuine lake experience before they embark on their new journey.

Cruises on any of our vessels are family-friendly, and can be customized for any size group.

We also have an in-house DJ service, which provides everything you and your party will need to dance the night away.

“We have four professional DJs that can light up any type of party,” said our head in-house DJ, Brandon Naipo. “From graduation cruises to business groups to weddings, we have every event covered. Not to mention we have the most top-of-the-line gear in DJ equipment, sound, and lighting there is to offer.”

For school-sponsored parties, our cruises provide an isolated venue, which alleviates the stress of school security measures. Schools can control the length of time and people allowed on board the ship, ensuring a safe cruising experience.

For more information on any of our graduation cruises, or to book yours, contact us today!

Spring break cruises allow you to see Lake Coeur d’Alene the way the locals do!

Each year, tourists and travelers begin flocking to North Idaho’s majestic mountains and beautiful lakes as early as March and April. Many families and students take trips to the Northwest to enjoy beautiful scenery and one-of-a-kind experiences, such as biking the Centennial Trail or visiting the Coeur d’Alene Resort. While average temperatures in March and April in Coeur d’Alene sit at a sunny 60 degrees, the town still provides a good base camp for day trips to local ski hills, such as Lookout Ski Resort, Schweitzer Mountain and Silver Mountain, for a bluebird ski day.

One of the most frequently asked questions from tourists is, “What do the locals do in Coeur d’Alene?”

Because Lake Coeur d’Alene is such a beautiful focal point to our town, locals are always looking to spend more time on the water!

Coeur d’Alene Cruises gets our passengers — tourists and locals alike — on the water for one of the best lake experiences. Our team offers adventures for daily scenic excursions, bird and wildlife watching tours on the St. Joe River and even specialty cruises for holidays, such as Easter.

Spring break is also a great time to get the whole family together. Our cruise ships offer the perfect private venue for family reunions or parties.

Curious about spending spring break in North Idaho, or looking for more information on seeing the lake the way the locals do? Contact us today!

Three reasons to host your next reunion with Coeur d’Alene Cruises

Every year, high school or college friends gather to reminisce on their school days. Whether these are 10- year, 20-year or even 50-year reunions, people love coming back to recount their glory days with people they used to know — or are still connected with! One of the best ways to host a class reunion is by renting a cruise boat on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Reminisce about the good ol’ days:
    For those Coeur d’Alene locals returning to the area, what better way to celebrate your memories than hop aboard a cruise ship and sail around the lake that used to be your home. The cruise ships is the only water venue for large groups and have the best views of some of North Idaho’s most beautiful features. 
  2. Customize your experience:
    Remember summer breaks or the sweet times after classes before the sun went down, hanging out by the lake? Recount some of your best memories as you cruise around, enjoying impressive catering, custom music and your choice of drinks. We have indoor and outdoor options, and cruise lengths are flexible. 
  3. Keep everyone together:
    Cruises are great, because they keep everyone together in a controlled environment while enjoying the North Idaho beauty.

Have a large group? Our double-boat cruises can accommodate up to 600 people on two boats, cruising as one.

So what are you waiting for? Give us a call today to schedule your reunion.

Double the boats, double the fun!

With the recent sunshine, the residents of North Idaho are already looking forward to the summer cruising season. Before you know it, the snow will melt, the clouds will part, and the spring and summer months will be upon us again.

With those month comes the time for parties, large and small. Whether you’re looking for the perfect place to hold an awards banquette for a school sports team or somewhere to host your company’s summer celebration, look no further than Lake Coeur d’Alene!

With beautiful sunsets and a majestic mountainous backdrop, Lake Coeur d’Alene is the perfect setting for any gathering. And while one of our boats can accommodate a small-to-mid-sized party, why not double the boats to double the fun?
Our team can tether any combination of two of our vessels together to cruise as one.

Guests can walk from one boat to the other safely throughout the cruise, and still get the great experience of cruising on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Our boats will depart the marina separately, cruise out to the open water, then tie together to float as one boat.

Forego stuffy conference rooms. Now, you can bring more than 600 guests and enjoy all the beauty Idaho has to offer this season — double the boats, double the fun!

Ready to book your summer gathering, or just have a few questions? Contact us today to get started.

History of Coeur d’Alene Cruises through the decades

Through all four seasons, all types of weather and so many different excursions, Coeur d’Alene Cruises has exactly what you need to see the historic Lake Coeur d’Alene. But did you know Coeur d’Alene Cruises has its own unique history that dates back decades?

Since 1932, Coeur d’Alene Cruises has been touring the lake in style. The Finney family founded the business, when the first tour set sail on the lake nearly 90 years ago. All of the boats in our fleet were designed, constructed or remodeled locally by Finney Boat Works.

The Finney family even helped captain the fleet, with Fred Finney one of the most recent captains.

Today, Carl Fus serves as our director of operations and captains our fleet.

As a graduate of Lewis-Clark State College, Fus holds a United States Coast Guard Master’s License. He has been with Hagadone Marine Group for more than 25, originally serving as a cruise boat captain when he first joined the fleet.

Today, Fus oversees all aspects of Coeur d’Alene Cruises.

With such a rich history, and such a bright future ahead of us, Coeur d’Alene Cruises has everything you need to learn about and enjoy an afternoon or evening on our beautiful north Idaho lake.

Contact us today to set up your next cruise!

The boating history of Lake Coeur d’Alene dates back more than a century!

Traveling Lake Coeur d’Alene by boat is not a new concept. For more than a century, people have been using the beautiful north Idaho lake for work and for play. The mountain lake is steeped in a rich history that many of those who tour the lake by boat today may not know about!

While many of the boats on the lake today are for recreation — enjoying the eagles or catching a sunset — that wasn’t always the case. At one time, 100 years ago, there were more than 50 steamships working on the lake

The Amelia Wheaton was the first steamboat on Lake Coeur d’Alene, built for military use.

Shortly after, the Idaho was built — the largest steamer of the era! The passenger boat could carry up to 1,000 people, which was quite a feat for the time.

As more modern modes of transportation arrived, the steamers became obsolete. Instead, these were used as excursion boats to transport passengers around the lake.

Lumber and silver ore were transported using boats on thoroughfares like the Coeur d’Alene River. The products came from places like Spokane, Cataldo Landing, and Rathdrum, all transported by boat on local waterways. 

As time passed, many of the mills and mines have closed. Instead, trains brought tourists to the beautiful northwest to take in the lakes and mountains.

Now, Lake Coeur d’Alene is one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the Pacific Northwest. Coeur d’Alene Cruises is here to help you see the lake first hand, and experience all the rich history our area has to offer.

Contact us today to set up your next tour

The best way to watch the lighting ceremony — from the lake

The Holiday Lighting Ceremony downtown Coeur d’Alene is one the most magical times of the year. Taking place the Friday after Thanksgiving, the ceremony kicks off the winter season. The entire Resort and floating boardwalk is lit up with hundreds of thousands of holiday lights, depicting different scenes: dragon, an underwater castle, and, of course, Santa Clause and all his reindeer!

The lighting ceremony kicks off with a firework show and music before the annual lights are turned on.

The best way to see this magical sight is from one of Coeur d’Alene Cruises’ vessels, floating on the water under the stars! What better way to take in the full scene and fireworks show, and stay toasty warm with a cup of hot coco! The event is fun for the whole family.

Tickets are limited each year, so purchase yours today. Contact our team for any questions.

The best way to see eagles on Lake Coeur d’Alene — by boat!

One of the most exciting things about winter in the Pacific Northwest is the arrival of the eagles on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Year after year, bald eagles from Canada and Alaska congregate at the north end of the scenic north Idaho lake to feed on lake-bound salmon. During December and January, the majestic birds flock to the lake, and it is always a sight to see! Many people do not get the chance to see bald eagles in their natural habitat, let alone a large number of them up close and personal.

However, the team at Coeur d’Alene Cruises has a special treat! Each year, our captain takes daily cruises to Wolf Lodge Bay to see the awe-inspiring birds as they feed.

Our cruises are two hours long, and not only give information on the eagles, but also offer an opportunity to see them in person.

Cruises are perfect for families or school groups who want to help teach children about the birds.

For dates and times, visit our information page or to schedule a tour, contact our team today!