Port of Seattle Touts Record-Breaking Cruise Season

Passengers line up at the Port of Seattle’s Bell Street Cruise Terminal. Photo: Port of Seattle.

The Port of Seattle reported in late October that it “broke new records and reached new milestones” during this year’s cruise season.

The season, which began in April, ended in late October when the Norwegian Encore left Pier 66 for the final departure of the year. Over the course of the 2022 season, 1.28 million revenue passengers, or 640,000 individual travelers, came through the port on an Alaskan cruise. The new passenger volume record marks a 6% increase over 2019’s passenger volume.

“In 2020, when the port and region lost the expected revenue of an entire cruise season, we outlined a recovery strategy to bring the industry back healthier and stronger than ever,” Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck said. “This successful season and the remarkable progress on environmental initiatives is a testament to the resiliency and professionalism of the cruise lines, local leaders, labor partners and so many others who keep cruise(s) running efficiently.”

“More passengers means significantly more economic activity in our region,” Maritime Managing Director Stephanie Jones Stebbins added. “For local businesses, that means more revenue for jobs and wages.”

The port said that strong health and safety provisions played a major role in the success of its cruise season. The port and cruise lines adopted COVID prevention and response protocols prior to the season to ensure protection for passengers, crew and the local community. Despite changes to COVID rules in Canada and at the federal and state level, cruise lines “maintained strong health and safety provisions” throughout the season, according to Seattle.

“Cruise means big bucks for downtown workers and businesses, and boosts our city’s health and vibrancy,” Downtown Seattle Association President & CEO Jon Scholes said. “The cruise industry reinforces downtown’s strengths while filling our waterfront with life and distributing a host of benefits to our community.”

“Demand for the Alaska itinerary and Seattle remains very high, indicating strong economic activity potential for the 2023 season,” the port said in a statement. “While slightly fewer ships will sail from Seattle in 2023, ship occupancy will continue to increase to an estimated 85% next year.”

Preliminary forecasts, according to the port, call for 1.3 million revenue passengers (650,000 guests) with the season potentially stretching from April 15-Oct. 30. The schedule however, is subject to change as cruise lines refine itineraries.