FAQ- General Information

Can you tell me about the M/V Thomas Laighton?

The M/V Thomas Laighton is a 90-foot vessel with three decks- two fully heated and enclosed cabins and an open Sundeck with seating. The boat holds a maximum of 125 guests for a seated dinner and 275 guests for a cocktail style cruise. Sightseeing cruises will hold up to 300 passengers. The vessel features a sweeping brass staircase,three fully stocked cash bars and beautiful views of the ocean.

Do you have indoor decks?

Yes we do. The M/V Thomas Laighton has two fully enclosed indoor heated decks. We also have three outdoor areas on our decks as well.

Do you offer food aboard the ship?

We have a galley bar that includes hot dogs, candy, chips, drinks and alcoholic drinks for our 21 and over guests. No alcohol or glass products are allowed on board due to Coast Guard Regulations .

May I bring a lunch or dinner onboard with me?

Passengers are permitted to bring individual picnic lunches on board with them. COOLERS ARE NOT PERMITTED. Our galley is stocked with all sorts of snacks and beverages.

Do you have bathrooms aboard the ship?

Of course we do! We have four bathrooms aboard our vessel.

Is there parking available?

Yes we have onsite convenient parking for $5.00. You may also use the Portsmouth parking garage for $1 cents an hour.

May I get off at any of the islands?

Each island is privately owned. You may, however, get off on Star Island either by the M/V Thomas Laighton on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday throughout the summer by reserving your tickets on one of our Star Island Day Visit or Walking Tours. Appledore Island is also accessible but only for taking classes and to visit Celia Thaxter's Garden. Star Island Corporation : 603-430-6272 or visit their website - www.starisland.org. Appledore Island : 603-964-9011 or visit their website – www.sml.cornell.edu . Celia Thaxter's Garden ( Cornell University ): 607-225-3717 or visit their website – www.sml.cornell.edu.

Is the boat wheelchair accessible?

Yes the boat is handicap accessible, please let us know if you will need special assistance with wheelchairs or canes when you arrive.  Persons who utilize wheelchairs will not have access to all 3 decks and will be limited to one deck.

May we bring our dog aboard?

As much as we love all animals unfortunately no dogs or animals are allowed on board.

Will I get seasick onboard?

The M/V Thomas Laighton is a very stable ship, since we do travel out into the open ocean, waves do occur. The Captain and crew do their best to keep the boat on the calmest path. Seasickness is rare on the M/V Thomas Laighton, and those that tend to become sick on seafaring vessels often find their ride on our vessel to be a comfortable one.

May I bring my fishing equipment on board and fish?

We cannot allow fishing equipment on board for the safety and respect of our other patrons.

If it is bad weather, will the cruise be cancelled?

All cruises are rain or shine, and cancellation is up to the discretion of the Captain. Cancellation is only considered if we feel that the conditions pose a danger to our passengers. Lightning does not pose a danger to passengers, and the ship is perfectly safe under those conditions.

Is the vessel Coast Guard certified?

Yes, the M/V Thomas Laighton is Coast Guard certified and maintained regularly to follow Coast Guard safety regulations.

What kind of music is played on board during your cruises?

Our sightseeing cruises feature an incredible full narration through the Isles of Shoals. Evening dinner cruises feature light background music as your glide through the Portsmouth Harbor. Our party ships feature a full range of popular dance tunes- some party ships have a live band onboard while others have a DJ.

May I purchase gift certificate?

Yes you may! Gift certificates are available in any denomination and may be purchased over the phone by calling 603-431-5500. Gift certificates never expire.

Are gratuities included?

Crew gratuity is not included in your package, however, it is greatly appreciated by the crew if you deem appropriate. Gratuities can be left with the Captain or the Cruise Director. Open bar subject to 18% gratuity.

Will my cell phone work on the cruise?

Yes, your cell phone will work on the water. For the comfort and convenience of other guests, we ask that cell phone conversations be held on the outside decks.

Can we smoke onboard?

Smoking is allowed on the boat as long as you smoke on the outside decks. There is no smoking in the enclosed areas. Please be respectful and put your remaining cigarettes in our smoking trays located on our outdoor decks.

What should we wear onboard the ship?

Be sure to dress in layers. Remember that it is 10 to 15 degrees cooler on the water than it is on land. Also be aware that the sun is bright. Don't forget your sun block!

Do you have a gift shop?

Yes there is a small gift shop located in our ticket booth on the dock. We sell many items including: t-shirts, sweatshirts, film, sunscreen, motion sickness pills, great books and many other items.

Do I need to make advance reservations?

Reservations for daytime sightseeing cruises are required with full payment in advance. Reservations for party ships are required, as well as pre-payment in full.

Is it possible to hold tickets with a credit card, and then pay for them in cash when I come?

All cruise tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable, and thus, must be paid for in full at time of purchase. Sightseeing Cruises do not require pre-payment; you may pay with cash, check, or credit card at time of arrival.

How will I receive my tickets?

The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company does not mail tickets, however, when you order your tickets in advance, they will be emailed to you through our brand new ticketing program!  This ticket will serve as your boarding pass and will eliminate waiting in line to purchase tickets! If you do not receive the confirmation message within a few minutes of purchase, please check your Spam folder just in case the confirmation email got delivered there instead of your inbox. If so, select the confirmation message and click Not Spam, which will allow future messages to get through.

What kind of payments do you accept?

Payment is accepted via MasterCard, Visa, check or cash in person. Prepaid reservations can be made by phone or over the Internet at www.islesofshoals.com

What is your refund policy?

All cruises depart rain or shine from the decision of the Captain, and tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company is not responsible for passengers who miss the boat due to Mother Nature, transportation difficulties, personal sickness, or other personal emergency.

Are there group and senior citizen discounts available?

The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company honors a group discount of $5 for each adult ticket in a party of 25 or more on Sightseeing Cruises only. This status must be reserved prior to the cruise date, please call our office to arrange this discount. Senior citizens (60+ yrs) and members of the U.S. Military receive $3 off each adult ticket. Please inform the ticket office attendant when purchasing tickets (Does not include Special Event Cruises).

May we ride the Dinner Cruise without having dinner?

Of course! Please inform the ticket office attendant that you would like to ride the cruise, but that you did not previously purchase dinner. The cost for the Harbor/River Cruise only is $23 per adult and $13 per child.

How many islands are there?

There are nine Isles of Shoals: Duck, Appledore, Malaga, Smuttynose, Cedar, Star, Lunging, White and Seavey. Some people say there are actually eight Isles because White Island and Seavey Island are joined by a small land bridge which you can only see at low tide. At high tide the bridge is obscured making the two islands one and the same.

What kind of wildlife might we see?

Each journey is unique. In the past we have seen Basking Sharks, Sun Fish (Mola Mola), breaching Tuna and Harbor Seals. Birds include a variety of Gulls, Cormorants, Shearwaters and other migratory and pelagic species.

Are deck rentals available?

Deck rentals are available on a first come, first serve basis. Mid-deck rentals guarantees your party all the available seating on the mid-deck. For larger parties, we offer a main-deck rental with capacity of 40 seated guests.  You must contact us upon booking to take advantage of our deck rental.

May we rent the fantail deck?

The fantail deck is a covered open-air deck which offers a private hide-away for a small gathering of approximately 25 guests. The fantail deck rental includes deck chairs and side tables. For pricing information please call our office at (603) 431-5500