Seattle's Cruise Growth Exceeds Expectations

Cruising generates $425 million in business revenue at the Port of Seattle
Port of Seattle // (c) 2011 Port of Seattle
Port of Seattle // (c) 2011 Port of Seattle

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The Port of Seattle’s 2011 cruise season finished stronger than had been expected, with 10 ships homeporting and nine visiting Seattle as a port of call during the Alaska season. 

The port saw a total of 196 ship visits, with 885,949 revenue passengers moving through the two cruise terminals, maintaining the consistently high volumes demonstrated over the past five years and further solidifying Seattle’s position as a port of origin for Alaska-bound cruises. Cruise lines that called in Seattle this year included Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.

"Our cruise business means jobs for folks in King County and across Washington State," said Port of Seattle Commission president Bill Bryant. "Each ship call leaves behind about $1.9 million, and that's good economic news for our region."

The local cruise industry is estimated to have generated $425 million in business revenue, $18.9 million in state and local taxes and 4,447 jobs in 2011. Those numbers are expected to increase with the addition of Disney Cruise Line homeporting in Seattle for the 2012 cruise season, when the Disney Wonder is scheduled to offer 15 cruises to the Alaska market.

Southeast Alaska has seen an increase in numbers since the head tax was reduced and relations with the cruise industry strengthened. Ships sailing from Seattle continue to be full, averaging109 percent passenger capacity, a result of having multiple guests sharing a cabin — a real value for families cruising together.

The Port of Seattle and Cruise Terminals of America, which operate the city’s cruise facilities, have worked hard to build successful partnerships with the community and regulatory agencies and those partnerships are considered vital to the continued success of the industry in Seattle. Projections for the 2012 cruise season sets the expectation of 880,918 cruise passengers with 201 scheduled cruise ship dockings.

"Robust cruise business has been a critical component of Seattle's tourism success for the past decade, thanks to the Port of Seattle's homeport investment," said Tom Norwalk, president and CEO of Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The 2011 season was strong and we look forward to yet greater growth in 2012."

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