Seattle OKs New Cruise Terminal

Booming port plans second facility to be open for business by 2003 Alaska season

By: Theresa Norton Masek

The Port of Seattle is building a $16.5 million cruise terminal to handle the overflow of business from the Bell Street Pier 66.

Seattle’s port has been burgeoning with new ships homeporting there for Alaska cruises, especially over the past year as companies sought new ports in drive-to markets.

The new terminal will be at Terminal 30, on the East Duwamish Waterway. A vacant container terminal will be converted into a passenger facility. The Port of Seattle Commissioners approved the construction plan on Nov. 12.

In 2003, Seattle expects more than 100 cruise ships and 400,000 passengers to visit.

“That’s a dramatic increase from 1999, when we saw just six ships and 7,000 passengers,” said Port of Seattle CEO M.R. Dinsmore. “Cruise ships add a new element to our strong maritime tradition in Seattle and help build our tourism and hospitality industries as well.”

The new terminal will include a one-story, 90,000-square-foot metal building with facilities for immigration and customs. On-site parking will also be built. Terminal 30 has a pier long enough to accommodate two cruise ships.

Previously, Pier 90 had been identified as a site for a second cruise terminal. But Terminal 30 has several advantages over Pier 90, Dinsmore said.

“It’s close to the airport, downtown and Pioneer Square,” he said. “It also has ample acreage for all of the activities that support cruise operations.”

Port spokesman Mick Shultz said the new facility would not be as upscale at Bell Street Pier 66, but would have a 15- to 20-year design life. Plus, it will be ready quickly.

“There’s just not room now,” he said. “Bell Street has one berth, and everyone wants a weekend slot.”

Next summer, Terminal 30 will be the homeport for vessels operated by Holland America Line and Princess Cruises.

In 2004, Princess will base two new ships there, the Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess.