July 1, 2019
Gone are the days when a cruise ship in town was a novel sighting. Now, cruise ships have become an iconic part of the Seattle waterfront and a primary economic driver for Seattle. Since 2000, Seattle has grown to the #1 U.S. West Coast cruise port in number of passengers, with 19 different ships coming to port in the 2018 season. The rising tide of the Seattle cruise industry lifts all ships, hotels, airports, tourist destinations, and even local businesses, suppliers, and restaurants.
There are several reasons that Seattle has become the hub for Alaska cruising: the natural deep water port that can accommodate some of the largest vessels in the world, award-winning and world-class cruise facilities that can accommodate large groups of passengers, the cruise terminals’ spectacular settings, and easy access to Sea-Tac International Airport.
Here’s a quick timeline of how things have evolved in the Seattle cruise industry over the last 18 years:
2000 — First Cruise Ships
The cruise season brought 6,615 passengers to town with six vessels calling in port
2017 — 1 Million Passenger Record
Last year, Seattle set a new record of 1 million cruise passenger arrivals. To put that number in perspective, it equates to one-half the population of King County spending money at the airport, in hotels, and in local restaurants and retailers.
2018 — More Growth
This season is expected to bring 216 vessel calls and 1,100,600 estimated revenue passengers to the Port of Seattle cruise terminals.
This Week — The First Megaship
This week’s milestone brings the first of the new megaships to Seattle, the Norwegian Bliss with 4,000 passengers. She’s the largest cruise ship on the West Coast, is custom-built for Alaska cruising, and recently became the largest passenger vessel to transit the Panama Canal.
Here’s a snapshot of how cruise ships boost the Seattle economy:
July 1, 2019
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