WSDOT cancels holiday cruise for developmentally disabled

SEATTLE -- Nearly a thousand developmentally disabled adults and kids planning on attending a holiday cruise Saturday learned just days before the event that it had been cancelled.

The Washington Department of Transportation said due to an unexpected number of ferry vessels out of service for repairs, it had to put the Tacoma back into regular service Saturday.

Retired ferry workers, as well as Searfair Pirates and US Coast Guard help put on the annual cruise, which started in 1983.

Sarah Tuohy, with Elder and Adult Day Services in Bellevue, said many of her clients look forward to this party all year.

“Everyone treats them like they’re gold," Tuouy said. "That’s a rarity in their day to day existence and because they’re losing so many programs like this because of budget cuts, they deserve to have a season where they’re treated like they’re special.”

Mark Jensen, a volunteer with Seafair Pirates, took his granddaughter on the holiday cruise last year.

“She got to see Santa which is always huge," Jensen said. "She was hoping she was going to see Sponge Bob because it’s the ocean to her.”

WSDOT said three ferry vessels are expected to return to service in the next two weeks, but not in enough time to save the party.

“It’s a negative happenstance," Tuohy said. " The boats are old and I know everyone’s budgets are getting cut.  It’s just a bad circumstance they couldn't avoid.  It’s just very unfortunate there wasn’t enough time for someone else to plan and say hey we’ll do it.”

On Saturday, December 15th there is another holiday event for the developmentally disabled. The Ballard Elks, along with Friendship Adventures, are holding a Winter Ball at the Ballard Elks Lodge from 5-7 p.m.  The event is free but you must RSVP by clicking on the following link: CLICK HERE