The first scheduled cruise of 2023 embarked this weekend on April 15th when the NCL Norwegian Bliss ship with her 4,000 passengers sailing in addition to a staff of 1,500+ headed to Alaska.
Port Seattle WA is the primary USA embarkation port for Alaskan voyages.
Bliss is the first of 250+ cruise ship calls scheduled for Piers 66 & 91 through the fall, as season 2023 lasts until the final departure on the day before Halloween.
Seattle is one of the busiest hubs for cruise vessels in the USA and is expected to set records this year. An average cruise party (3.4 people) spends ~US$660 in Seattle during their visit.
According to Tammy Blount-Canavan, president & CEO of Visit Seattle, during their time there, passengers were able to sample "outstanding dining options, beautiful hotels, unique shops, and authentic Seattle experiences.”
“This taste of what the destination offers not only enhances the overall cruise experience, but it also encourages those passengers to return to Seattle to explore all the things that make the Emerald City and the Pacific Northwest such a magical place, expanding the economic impact of this valued part of the Tourism Economy.”
The cruise ship industry in Seattle generates ~$900 million in annual revenue and provides employment opportunities for ~5,500 local residents. One example of the positive impact on the local economy is the significant number of passengers who stay in Seattle before and after their cruise. In 2019, before the crisis, 73% of passengers spent at least 1.5 nights before and 1.6 nights after their cruise in Seattle, as reported by the Port of Seattle.
According to data from the Port of Seattle, it is projected that nearly 1.5 million passengers, representing a 7.7% increase, will embark on a cruise from Seattle in 2023, with 288 sailings expected for the season. In comparison, there were only 1.3 million passengers in the previous year despite the port logging 295 sailings. This indicates a growing trend in cruise ship travel from Seattle, as in 2019, before the crisis, there were only 213 cruises from Seattle.
The most popular destinations for passengers departing from Seattle to Alaska are Glacier Bay, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Juneau. Additionally, cruise lines departing from the Port of Seattle also offer itineraries to non-Alaska destinations such as Hawaii and the Panama Canal.
In order to align with the state's commitment to environmental sustainability, the Port of Seattle has implemented strict solid waste handling and recycling programs. Furthermore, all cruise lines have voluntarily agreed not to discharge exhaust gas cleaning system wash water in Puget Sound, demonstrating efforts towards environmental responsibility in the industry.