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2021's first Alaska revenue cruise embarks at Port of Seattle

Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas opens Seattle's Alaska season, with 83 calls booked on eight ships from seven lines
The 2021 Alaska big-ship cruise season that almost didn't happen got underway today as Royal Caribbean International's Serenade of the Seas sailed from the Port of Seattle.

Seattle has 83 scheduled cruise voyages this year, each estimated to bring $4.2m to the local economy.

'Major milestone' in reopening economy

'The return of passenger cruises to Alaska marks a major milestone in our effort to reopen the regional economy,' Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck said. 'A year of work by national, state and local officials and health authorities, cruise lines and the port established safety protocols throughout the traveler experience — from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to each of our cruise terminals. These safety measures will begin restoring the economic benefit from cruise in Seattle, responsible for creating 5,500 jobs and nearly $900 million to our region.'

Serenade's revenue cruise follows a test sailing earlier this month carrying volunteers

'It’s exciting to see hundreds of travelers with their families back in Seattle to cruise to Alaska again,' said Mark Tamis, SVP hotel operations, Royal Caribbean. 'As Serenade of the Seas embarks on the first Alaska sailing since September 2019, it also marks another key milestone for Royal Caribbean and the industry — the return of cruising on the West Coast.'

Tamis credited collaboration with partners in Seattle and the region.

'We are back, and there’s more to come when our second ship, Ovation of the Seas, returns to Seattle in August,' he said.

Many local businesses rely on cruise visitors

'So many of our local businesses — who have endured a grueling 16 months — rely on cruise season and the visitors it brings to ensure they can survive and thrive,' Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said. 'Seattle is excited to welcome visitors from across our country and world back to our great city, and we hope they enjoy everything our small businesses, arts and cultural organizations, and neighborhoods have to offer.'

'We are thrilled to see the return of Alaska cruises from the Port of Seattle and welcome the opportunity to provide passengers with high-quality dairy products from our Northwest co-op’s farmer-owners,' said Duane Naluai, president, consumer products at Darigold.

The seven major cruise lines calling Seattle will contribute eight vessels for this season.

Cruise terminal health safety

Cruise terminal health safety enhancements include updated ventilation systems, where needed, to hospital-grade MERV 13 filtration or better and the installation of touchless fixtures in the restrooms and water-bottle filling stations.

Barriers were installed to limit face-to-face contact, and technology implemented to provide touchless check-in and passenger processing in many cases. Signage was designed to limit crowding and contact.