Seattle's busiest Alaska season features HAL kickoff, NCL's expanded Pier 66

Eurodam alongside at Terminal 91 for the first time Eurodam alongside at Terminal 91 for the first time (Photo: Port of Seattle)

Holland America Line, which is celebrating its 70th year in Alaska, is kicking off Seattle's cruise season with today's Eurodam maiden call at Terminal 91, while Norwegian Cruise Line is gearing up for the opening of its expanded Pier 66 terminal.

This will be Seattle's biggest cruise season, with more than 1m revenue passengers (embarking, disembarking, in transit) on 218 calls.

HAL increased its Seattle visits to 58 this year, and three of its ships will sail round-trip Seattle itineraries in 2017.

Oosterdam is due to arrive Sunday, and Amsterdam on May 15. Zaandam makes one call at Seattle May 12 on a one-day repositioning cruise to Vancouver, BC, its summer homeport. Noordam visits Sept. 25 on a Pacific coastal sailing. All the options combined make a total of 58 calls by five HAL ships carrying nearly 111,000 passengers.

According to the port, Seattle's cruise industry is responsible for more than $500m in economic impact for the region, providing more than 4,000 jobs and $18.9m in state and local taxes, with each homeported vessel generating $2.7m for the local economy.

'A record number of cruise passengers this season means local agriculture and food companies, among others across our region, benefit from these provisioning ships,' Port of Seattle commissioner Stephanie Bowman said. 'We are also inviting these passengers to stay longer and spend more time and money locally, which also boosts economic impact and job growth across our region and state.'

Toward that goal the port is introducing a complimentary cruise luggage valet program to facilitate disembarking cruisers lingering for the day instead of rushing to the airport. Passengers will be able to get their airline boarding pass and check their bags on board ship so they can tour Seattle before flying home. The program is expected to become operational in the next several weeks.

Also new this year are extensive renovations at Pier 66, the homeport for Norwegian Cruise Line ships. The company's unprecedented 15-year lease is estimated to generate $2.3bn in total business revenue for the region, nearly 900 jobs and more than $65m in state and local taxes.

For its part, Holland America expects to contribute nearly $600m to the Washington state economy. The company employs 1,600 people locally and its headquarters are in Seattle.

Provisioning costs each time a ship calls average about $300,000, HAL said. The line works with nearly 700 Washington vendors, from food and beverage suppliers to piano tuners, office supply stores and marine suppliers, among many others. For example, Oosterdam requires more than 23,000 eggs and 1,375 gallons of milk each week. All come from local farmers. In addition, local growers supply 147,550 pounds of fresh produce a week.

HAL ships have been sailing from the port since the 1970s. In May 2002, the line began using Seattle as a homeport for Alaska cruises.

Posted 29 April 2017

© Copyright 2019 Seatrade UBM (UK) Ltd. Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Seatrade UBM (UK) Ltd.

Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review