Port Seattle's cruise passenger shipping business started in 1998 and is currently ranked 1st among all US West Coast homeports (departure seaports). Each homeported ship's visit generates USD 2,5-2,7 million for Washington State's economy, with annual regional revenue around USD 0,5 billion. City's best-known landmark is The Space Needle - 184-m (604-ft) tall observation tower in downtown Seattle, with 6 floors (top floor heigth 158 m / 518 ft) and 3 lifts.
Currently, port's cruise business generates over 3600 jobs and annually USD 441 million revenue and USD 17,2 million in local and state taxes. Each Seattle-homeported cruise ship call generates over USD 2,5 million for the local economy.
Seattle cruise port
Port's cruise shipping operations started in 1998 (inaugural season) with handled 6 ship calls and 6,615 passengers. Port's cruising business supports over 4000 local jobs, provides around USD 500 million to Washington's economy and generates around USD 19 million in local and state tax revenues.
Since 2017, cruise passengers disembarking in Seattle check their luggage through port's new "Cruise Luggage Valet Program" (cooperation with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) and receive their airline boarding passes prior to ship debarkation.
On August 12, 2015, Seattle port signed a 15-year lease deal with the NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings). The deal secured all NCLH ships (NCL, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas) in Port Seattle for the full term of the lease of Pier 66 Terminal. The guaranteed passenger volume was estimated to bring approx USD 73 million of revenue to the cruise port. According to the official statistics, alaskan cruises from Seattle generate around USD 440 million in economic impact annually. Additionally, NCLH agreed to make improvements to the Bell Street terminal that were estimated at USD 30 million to expand the P66 facilities. Under the new lease, the company manages all P66 operations and has priority rights to the berth during the season.
Port Seattle operates the terminal facilities outside the Alaskan cruising season. The 15-year lease deal was estimated to generate over USD 2 billion in business revenue, around 900 new jobs, over USD 65 million impact in local and state taxes. Iin 2015, the port handled a total of 192 cruise ship calls and 895,055 passengers. in 2016, the passengers number reached 960,000.
In early-April 2016, Port of Seattle announced its plans to ease flight-cruise passengers at Sea-Tac Airport by temporarily replacing TSA security staff with contractors. This made the security check faster. Starting May 2016, TSA staff was trained locally to increase the number of processed cruisers at the airport. Also, more checkpoint lanes were opened.
- On May 16, 2016, Explorer of the Seas (West Coast USA's largest passenger ship) arrived in Seattle. Liner's inaugural Alaskan season had scheduled 7-night roundtrips to Alaska and Canada (Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm Fjord, Victoria BC).
- On July 30, 2016, at "Alaska Airlines Seafair Torchlight Parade" (annual event) in downtown was presented a replica cruise ship - Holland America's Koningsdam. The replica was a helium balloon - one of parade's over 100 floats. The balloon ship had length of 45 ft (14 m) and height of 11 ft (3,3 m) and was guided by 30x HAL employees through the streets. HAL is a sponsor and participant of the parade. In previous parades HAL employees carried an orca-whale replica balloon.
- In October 2016, Port Seattle announced its plans to invest USD 20 million in improvements to Bell Harbor Conference Center (adjacent to Pier 66).
In May 2017 was opened the renovated Pier 66 cruise terminal facility (see in the "terminal" section below) where are homeported NCL ships. The 15-year lease to NCL (until 2032) is estimated to generate over USD 2,3 billion in total revenue, nearly 900 jobs and over USD 65 million in taxes. 2017 was a record year for the cruise port - with handled 218 ship calls and nearly 1,072 million passengers (9% increase over 2016's 983,539 pax) and total revenue USD 501 million.
In 2017, Holland America started an ad compaign on 3 commuter trains running on Seattle's Sound Transit Light Rail System. The trains were operated between January and April 2017, when the Alaskan cruising season begins. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on January 10 at University of Washington (train station). On September 23, 2017, Port Seattle welcomed its 1 millionth cruise tourist in a single Alaskan season (2 passengers on Holland America's Eurodam).
In early-March 2018, the schedules for ferries leaving from Seattle were changed due to demolishon of the old Washington State Ferries terminal to make space for a new facility. Half of Colman Dock terminal was closed off to the public. The wood-piling supportied terminal was considered seismically vulnerable, with many pilings riddled with marine termites. The demolition and construction works were scheduled for completion in summer 2019.
On May 30, 2018, the port welcomed the ever largest Alaskan cruise liner - Norwegian Bliss (gross tonnage 164600 tons, max passengers 5200, crew 1730). The vessel was homeported at Pier 66, operating on weekly roundtrips from Seattle during summer. NCL Bliss is the world's first specifically constructed for Alaska mega-liner. In 2018, the cruise port handled a total of 216 ship calls and nearly 1,072 million passengers (4% increase over 2017).
In late-November 2018, Port Seattle's Terminal 18 (operated by SSA Marine) surpassed the 1 million TEU volume. This was Washington state's first time when a single cargo terminal handled 1 million containers in a year. Container Terminal 18 is in North Harbor (Northwest Seaport). In April 2018, Terminal 18 became the first in Puget Sound with moved 5500 TEUs on and off a single boxship (container carrier), which averaged 30 gantry crane moves per hour. In 2018, Terminal 18 was upgraded with new RTGs (rubber-tired gantry cranes), resulting in added two new shipping routes - AL5 (Transatlantic by THE Alliance) and PNS (Pacific Northwest Service by SM Lines).
In early-December 2018, port's Commission approved budget 2019 and future budget 2019-2023 (capital investment plan). The 5-year plan includes investments of USD 348 million in Seattle's waterfront area. Of this budget, USD 100 million are for new cruise berth, USD 39 million for Terminal 91 developments and USD 35 million for Terminal 91's berth replacement. Budget 2019 (USD 935 million) spends 51% of seaport's USD 1,94 billion capital expenditures, and 23% of the operating expenses. The 2019 budget also includes developments for Sea-Tac Airport - North Satellite Expansion and Modernisation Project (started in February 2017), International Arrivals Terminal, high-speed baggage handling system. New cruise terminal (Pier 46) will be constructed in 2019-2020.
Cruise itineraries to and from Seattle WA
Follows a list of destinations visited by cruise ships leaving out of Seattle:
- 7-day round-trip Inside Passage Alaska cruises out of Seattle visit the Alaskan ports Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Glacier Bay, Juneau, Skagway. These itineraries often include a day stop at call port Victoria BC (Vancouver Island, Canada).
- Itineraries on small ships or luxury cruises visit also the Alaskan ports Wrangell, Hubbard Glacier, Sitka (Baranof Island).
- One-way Alaska repositioning cruises from Seattle to Vancouver BC (Canada) - and the reverse Vancouver to Seattle, are special, 1-day cruise deals. Those are offered, respectively, in late Fall / Spring when cruise ships relocate out of Alaska. Seattle to Vancouver deals on longer itineraries (up to 17 days) may include visiting Hawaii before returning back to Vancouver.
- Other repositioning cruise deals to and from Seattle include ports in California (departures from Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco), even in Caribbean (with Panama Canal transition), to Hawaii and Australia, and rarely to South America.
- Among the shipping lines leaving from Seattle are Carnival, Celebrity, HAL Holland America, NCL Norwegian, Princess, RCI-Royal Caribbean, Oceania, Lindblad-National Geographic.
In 2019, the US company Vigor Industrial opened a new drydock facility in Port Seattle, with capacity to handle mega-yachts and mid-sized cruise liners. Company’s other (larger) dry-dock is in Portland Oregon. New drydock's operations started with the 3-week long refurbishment of Oceania Regatta.
Seattle cruise terminal
The cruise port of Seattle was established on September 5 1911 with the votes of King County, WA, confirmed by Port District Act and run by elected commission with 5 members. This port district runs both the airport and the seaport of Seattle.
The seaport of Washington State is nicknamed ”The Emerald City“. The port has two passenger terminals - "Terminal 91" and "Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal" (aka "Pier 66"). Fishermen's Terminal (on Salmon Bay) is the homeport (dock) for Washington state's North Pacific Fishing Fleet (commercial fishing vessels).
(NEW) Pier 46 Cruise Terminal
In mid-November 2018, Port Seattle Commission unveiled plans for an USD 348 million project for waterfront upgrades and building a new cruise terminal.
- City's new seaport levy growth brings in USD 74,2 million per year and helped paying for the new projects. It also funded environmental programs. It is expected to be approved a 3% property tax increase, which means the owner of USD 590,000 property (currently paying USD 69 annually to the port) would pay around $70 in 2019, and $79 in 2023.
- Port's capital improvement plan includes upgrades to Fishermen's Terminal, new light industrial space in Interbay (close to Terminal 91), modernization of Bell Harbor's conference center, new cruise terminal (which location will be decided in 2019).
Construction works on the new Pier 46 Terminal (USD 200 million project) started on March 13, 2019. Pier 46 cargo shipping operations) were moved to Terminal 5. The new cruise terminal will be operated by a private company (TBA) which is due to be responsible for 50% of all development costs (~USD 100 M).
Terminal's completion is scheduled for 2020. The new facility will have shoreside power capabilities.
Bell Street Pier 66 cruise terminal
- address: "Port of SeattleSeattle, Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal (Pier #66), 2225 Alaskan Way, Seattle, Washington 98121"
- location - at the north end of the city's waterfront, some 10 min drive distance from the city's shopping centre and the Space Needle tower
- GPS coordinates - pending
- 1 berth (length 1600 ft / 489 m) - 2 berths with in-transit ships
- Pier 66 terminal is an 479160 ft2 / 44515 m2 complex along the city's downtown waterfront. Pier 66 terminal serves the ships of NCL Norwegian and Oceania. Pier 66 is at close walking distance to the Pike Place Market (public market) and Seattle Aquarium (public aquarium on Pier 59). The city's landmark Space Needle (observation tower) is also nearby.
- Among the amenities offered are concierge service (luggage storage before/after voyages, information), wheelchair, mobility scooter and oxygen rentals (equipment delivered directly to the cabin), restaurants, mini-mart (deli, ATM).
- There is a free of charge shuttle service to the terminal.
- Pier 66 cruise terminal was opened in 2000 and expanded in 2001. It has mechanized gangway for embarkation/disembarkation from floor 2 (the ticketing level).
- Bell Street Cruise Terminal is close to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (some 15-20 min drive distance) and to downtown (some 5 min drive distance). The terminal is located on a 10-acre area, sited on Pier #66. The dock had served as a refrigerated storage, railway station and warehousing. The terminal building is 2-floor, with a system which allows direct transfer to the ship from the upper one. The parking space is located across the street. The terminal offers restaurant, cafe, luggage handling, concierge, rental car kiosk and shops. It has only one cruise ship mooring access.
- Driving directions to Pier 66 Terminal: from Interstate 5 Northbound take Mercer Street westbound (exit 167). Turn left on 5th Ave N. Turn right on Broad St. Turn left on Alaskan Way. Follow the signs to Pier 66.
- In August 2015, NCL signed a 15-year lease deal with the port for the Bell Street Cruise Terminal. The contract secured NCL cruise ships in Seattle and provided passenger volume guarantees with a total revenue for the port estimated at USD 73 million. Under the new lease, NCL Holdings manages all operations at Pier 66. The line also has priority rights to the berth during the Alaskan cruise season. The facilities outside the Alaskan season are operated by port authorities. The 15-year lease will generate over USD 2 billion in total revenue for the region, plus over 900 local jobs and over USD 65 million in state/local taxes.
- NCL's USD 30 million investment into Pier 66 allowed in Seattle to be homeported the ever-largest Alaskan cruise ship - Norwegian Bliss. The ship was scheduled to start turaround (roundtrip itinerary) operations in June 2018 with 7-day Inside Passage cruises. To be able to handle the new ship's capacity (5200 passengers, 1730 crew), the terminal was expanded from 44,000 ft2 (4090 m2) to 151,000 ft2 (14030 m2). On May 23, 2017, representatives from Port Seattle and NCL Norwegian celebrated the opening of the newly renovated Pier 66 terminal. Upgrades included a mobile gangway (passenger boarding bridge), renovated check-in area and VIP lounge.
Smith Cove Pier 91 cruise terminal (Magnolia)
- address - "Cruise Terminal 91 (Smith Cove Cruise Terminal), 2001 West Garfield St., Seattle, Washington 98119 "
- GPS coordinates - pending
- 2 berths (length 1200 ft / 366 m each)
- Pier 91 terminal serves the ships of Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Princess, Disney and Royal Caribbean.
- Pier 91 cruise terminal was opened in 2009. It has mechanized gangway for embarkation/disembarkation from floor 2 (the ticketing level).
- Smith Cove Cruise Terminal is close to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (some 20-25 min drive) and to downtown (some 10 min drive). The terminal is located on Pier # 90 and Pier #91, at approx 2 ml (3 km) from downtown in northwest direction. The port used to serve as an industrial port and a resupply base and still looks a kind of industrial. The Smith Cove terminal offers car rental desk, concierge, luggage handling, retail kiosks, check-in and customs. Close there is a parking and shuttle minibus service which is free. The passengers can pick up a cell phone car lot. It has two cruise ship moorings.
Cruise ship terminal directions & parking
- (route 1) From Interstate 5 Southbound - use Mercer Street Exit from I-5 (exit 167). Continue on westbound onto Elliott Ave. Follow the signs to Pier 91.
- (route 2) From Interstate 5 Southbound - exit on Union St (exit 165B), continue to 4th Ave. Turn right on 4th Ave. Turn left onto Wall St. Turn right on Western Ave. Follow the signs to Pier 91.
- (route 3) From Interstate 5 Northbound - use Mercer Street Exit from I-5 (exit 167), continue westbound onto Elliott Ave. Follow the signs to Pier 91.
- (Bell Street Pier) There is a 1700-cars secure parking garage (Republic Parking) located across the street (on 9 Wall Street) including 25 handicap lots (phone number (206) 783-
- (Smith Cove) There is a 1000-cars secure parking garage and free of charge shuttle service to the terminal.
Seattle port, along with its 2 cruise terminals also has cargo terminals and dry dock facilities for marine vessel refurbishments and repairs.
- UN-LOCODE (United Nations location code) - USSEA
- two dedicated cruise terminals
- capability to accommodate 4 vessels at a time
- 3 deep water berths with shore-to-ship power (shore-side electricity supply)
- supported by excellent road and air infrastructure
- The cruise port is accessible only during late spring (April), summer months and early fall (late September, early October).
- Cruise ships usually arrive in Seattle in early morning (at 6, 7 or 8 am) and depart from Seattle in late afternoon (4 or 5 pm).
Seattle tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Space Needle: enjoy beautiful city center views, buy souvenirs or dine at the rotating SkyCity restaurant.
- Pioneer Square: situated a mile away from Bell Street Pier, the original center of the pioneer town and the place of the first timber mill in Seattle.
- Seattle Aquarium: located by Pier #59, offers interesting sea creatures like the Pacific coral world, brightly colored fish, Puget sound fish and tentacled octopus. You can also visit the shop of the aquarium.
- Museum of Flight: aviation devoted museum where you can see superb full WWII fighter planes collection, Shuttle space plane, flight attendants fashion and International Space Station mockup.
- Pike Place Market: great farmers’ city market, a place where you can walk and watch plenty goods. It is located right to Bell Street Pier.
- Seattle Art Museum Downtown: the biggest museum of art in the region, enjoy artworks from all over the world while touring in the galleries.
- Olympic Sculpture Park: free park with thought provoking and abstract sculptures, located a mile away from Bell Street Pier in northwest direction.
Port Seattle cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Seattle, Washington. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|16 March, 2019|
|23 March, 2019|
|30 March, 2019|
The Seattle cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near Seattle, Washington.
If you lose the Seattle location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.
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