PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland Spirit Cruises & Events is bringing back its beloved Cinnamon Bear Cruises for the holidays. The cruises have been paused for the last two holiday seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On the Cinnamon Bear Cruises, fanciful characters in elaborate costumes entertain children with storytelling, music and magic — all while kids and their families enjoy breakfast on a cruise ship in Portland. 

“The Cinnamon Bear story follows Jimmy and Judy Barton as they search for the Silver Star for the top of their Christmas tree. The Cinnamon Bear takes them to Maybeland for their search. It seems the Crazy Quilt Dragon stole the star and ran off with it. On their journey they encounter a roster of enchanting characters,” Portland Spirit explained in a news release. 

Portland Spirit is now booking reservations for 12 Cinnamon Bear Cruises that will set sail before the end of 2022. 

The reimagined cruise will operate at reduced capacity, will include reserved seating for each party, will have dedicated servers for each table, and every guest on board will be served a hot breakfast. 

Portland Spirit is partnering with the local bakery Simply Sweets to provide every child on the cruise with custom cinnamon bear cookies, a tradition that dates back to the 1940s. 

“We are so excited to bring back Cinnamon Bear and his friends for our local community,” said Dennis Corwin, Portland Spirit general manager. “The Cinnamon Bear has been cruising with us since 2005 and has been a holiday tradition for many families… After being absent for 3 years due to the pandemic, we’re happy to provide families a safe and fun activity to enjoy this holiday season.” 

Boarding for the cruises begins at 9 a.m. at the Salmon Springs Dock and the boat travels along the Willamette River from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online

Cinnamon Bear started as a holiday radio program in 1937. The series would run from Thanksgiving through Christmas each year. 

According to Portland Spirit, Lipman Wolfe sponsored the radio broadcasts in Portland and the Cinnamon Bear would come to the Lipman Wolfe Stores at Christmastime from the 1940s to the 1980s. At the stores, children would give the Cinnamon Bear letters just like they’d give to Santa Claus. 

Lipman’s hosted Cinnamon Bear Breakfasts and musical performances for children. 

In 2004, the Portland Spirit acquired the rights to produce its own Cinnamon Bear cruise and bring back Cinnamon Bear and many characters from the original story. The first Cinnamon Bear cruise took place in 2005.