Frequently asked questions for Odyssey Chicago

Odyssey Chicago FAQs

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about Odyssey. If you need further assistance, please contact Odyssey Reservations at 866-305-2469.




What payment options do I have?
For booking, payment options include company checks or credit card. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and Diners Card.

PLEASE NOTE: Only credit cards will be accepted for additional onboard purchases.

Are your ships wheelchair accessible?

  • Odyssey Lake Michigan Accessibility* 
    One of the three interior decks aboard Odyssey Lake Michigan is wheelchair accessible and also has bathrooms that are wheelchair accessible. 
  • Odyssey Chicago River Accessibility*
    There is an accessible outdoor elevator that allows easy access to the lower riverwalk level where our ship is docked. The elevator is located between the ship and the new Apple store, just south of the Gleacher Center. The restrooms aboard Odyssey Chicago River are located on the interior, lower level of the vessel. The vessel is not equipped with a wheelchair elevator, however, it does have a portable wheelchair stair master that accommodates manual, standard wheelchairs only. Please note, we do have a manual, standard wheelchair onsite to be used with the lift should it be needed. 

*Please call 866-305-2469 to discuss any accessibility concerns and ensure that you are seated on an accessible deck.

Is there entertainment onboard?
Yes! While boarding and dining, you'll enjoy some light music that will whisk you away to a more relaxed state and help you unwind. After dining, our DJ will turn up the tunes, spin some recognizable favorites, and encourage guests to make their way to do the dance floor. If you're not in the mood for dancing, our outdoor decks are a perfect place to relax with some light music and take in Chicago's world-famous skyline.

What attire do you recommend? 
Odyssey can be your opportunity to dress up! For women, cocktail wear, a dress or dressy-casual attire is appropriate. For men, collared shirts and dress pants are recommended. Dressy jeans are acceptable. Casual jeans, t-shirts, athletic shoes or flip flops are discouraged.

Don’t forget, we’ll be cruising on the water! For your safety, we suggest wearing flat, closed-toed shoes (recommended, but not required or enforced).

What is the difference between "Boarding Time" and "Cruising Time" ?
"Boarding Time" is the earliest you and your guests may board the ship. You are free to board any time after that up until the "Cruise Time." The ship will leave port at the "Cruise Time." We recommend allowing plenty of time for parking and getting to the ship. The ship leaves promptly at the listed “Cruise Time” and passengers will not be able to board once the ship sets sail.

May I bring my own camera on board?
Guests are more than welcome to bring their own camera for personal pictures aboard the ship. In addition, as you are boarding, the ship's photographer records the moment for your entire party. As you depart, you'll find your boarding photo ready for purchase.

What is your rescheduling policy?
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.

Are children allowed?
Children are allowed on all cruises.

Do you offer any children discounts?
Children under 3 are complimentary and a discount is offered for children between the ages of 3 and 12 on select Brunch and Lunch Cruises. There are no children discounts for dinner cruises. On all cruises, children 2 and under are complimentary but require a boarding ticket so please mention when making a reservation. Discounts may not be offered on select specialty cruises.

How far off shore does the ship travel?

  • Odyssey Lake Michigan: The ship is licensed to travel as far as 3 miles off shore, however, our cruise route typically remains only one mile off shore.
  • Odyssey Chicago River: Our all-glass vessel goes as far north as Goose Island and as far south as the Canal Street Railroad Bridge. We then loop back to our docking location at NBC Tower. 

Is a guaranteed window table right for me? 
A guaranteed window table ensures that your party receives the best views on board. You’ll be able to look out and see the beautiful Chicago skyline aboard Odyssey Lake Michigan or the close-up views of stunning architecture of our all-glass Odyssey Chicago River  without ever having to leave your table.  

Can I bring a birthday cake on board? 
Guests may bring a cake for the table on board for lunch and dinner cruises. Due to limited storage, cakes must be stored at the table. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate cakes on moonlight cruises. Odyssey also has small, individual-sized cake options on the dessert menu.

How do you celebrate special occasions onboard? 
Our kitchen staff will bring out a specialty dessert and card for the guest(s) of honor. A candle will be included on the dessert plate along with a special message from our team. 

Can I bring my own decorations onboard?

We allow small balloons to be brought onboard. Light table decorations are also allowed, however due to the size of the tables we are not able to accommodate large centerpieces or hanging decorations. 

Do you offer discounts or packages for special occasions? 

Thank you for considering Odyssey for your special day! Unfortunately, we do not currently offer any kind of specialty birthday or anniversary discount.  However, we keep an active record of our promotions on our promotions and specials pageWe also offer a variety of packages to enhance your onboard experience through special dishes, entrees and drink options. Packages may differ by cruise and are available for selection during the booking process.


What size groups can Odyssey accommodate?

  • Odyssey Lake Michigan: We can accommodate groups from 2 to 749. We are constantly opening new cruises so please check back often or call if you don't see the date you are interested in.
  • Odyssey Chicago River: We can accommodate groups from 2 to 200. We are constantly opening new cruises so please check back often or call if you don't see the date you are interested in.

What beverages are served on your cruise?
Coffee, tea and iced tea are included in the ticket price. We have fully-stocked bars, and any additional beverages may be purchased onboard at our cash bar.

Do you accommodate dietary restrictions?
Please check our menu for our vegetarian options. While we offer gluten and allergy free products and 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 chef prepare and cook in common areas with shared equipment, therefore the items may come in contact with other food products. If you have any other special dietary concerns, please contact your event planner or guest services at 866-305-2469.

Can I bring wrapped gifts or packages on board?
Yes, you can. Please be aware that Odyssey has the right to inspect all bags and packages prior to boarding.

Is there a phone on the boat that receives calls?
The Odyssey does not have a phone for use by guests. However, most cellular services are available on the water as we do typically do not cruise beyond one mile off shore.

I do not have a credit card. Can I make reservations?
Yes, reservations may be made in cash at the Odyssey's corporate office located at NBC Tower, 455 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive, Suite 2600, Chicago, IL 60611. The office is open during normal business hours Monday through Friday.

Are there restrooms on board?
Yes, restrooms are located in every enclosed dining room on the ship.

When does the season end?
We cruise all year round! In fact, December is one of our most popular months due to the many Holiday Parties we have aboard. We also cruise for both New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day!

Is there pre-assigned seating?
As you board, our captain and marine crew will direct you to your deck. From there, our hostess will show you to your assigned table(s).

How many people may be seated at one table?
Anywhere from 2-8 people may be seated at one table, depending on the total number of individuals on the ship during a given cruise. If your party requires more than one table, we will ensure that they are located next to each other.

Is smoking allowed on the cruise?
Smoking is allowed on our observation deck.

Where do I pick up my tickets?
Your tickets will be at the Odyssey Ticket Booth, located next to the ship. For your convenience, you can pick up your tickets 30 minutes prior to boarding.

What kind of security check is required when I pick up my tickets and board the ship?
Your photo identification and reservation number are required at our Ticket Booth when picking up your tickets.  In accordance with US Coast Guard Regulation, all passengers and their belongings being brought on to our vessels are subject to search and screening.  In order to expedite the boarding process we ask that you please do not bring any unnecessary bags on board and please make sure that all gifts are in gift bags or unwrapped for easy screening.

How soon will my party begin eating on our cruise?
Once on your deck, our hostess will greet you and escort you to your private table where your wait staff will introduce themselves and give you the opportunity to decide for yourself how to pace your service. Serving may begin immediately.

Can I get married on the boat with a party of less than 20?
Odyssey Chicago is available for wedding receptions with fewer than 20 guests. Your party would be seated in the dining room with other guests. Wedding ceremonies are available to wedding parties who reserve a private deck onboard the vessel at an additional charge.

What if it rains or snows?
Odyssey will cruise in most weather conditions all year round. Each enclosed deck is climate-controlled and the weather will not affect your cruise. In the case of severe weather conditions or upon the direction of the U.S. Coast Guard, the ship will remain dockside for the length of the event.

Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions or concerns. Our contact center is open every day. Odyssey can be reached at 866-305-2469.