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Seattle forecasts return to 75% of pre-COVID cruise business in 2022

Norwegian Encore's calls at Pier 66 contributed to the approximately 18% of pre-COVID passenger volume returned in 2021
Port of Seattle forecasts anticipate that a full return to pre-COVID activity could occur in 2023 or 2024.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport anticipates passenger volume will return to 95% of pre-COVID levels in 2022. While the highly diversified maritime division maintained commercial fishing, grain terminal and recreational boating revenue in 2021, there were no Alaska cruises in 2020 and approximately 18% of pre-COVID passenger volume returned in 2021.

The port's cruise season ends Saturday with the departure of Norwegian Encore from Pier 66. Some 82 calls and approximately 229,000 revenue passengers will have been handled between July 19 and Oct. 23.

The port forecasts that cruise business will get to 75% of pre-COVID levels in 2022.

Proposed 2022 budget

The projections came in Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck's proposed 2022 budget and 2022-2026 capital improvement plan presented to port commissioners today.

A new cruise terminal at Terminal 46, which had been in the planning pre-pandemic and whose RFP subsequently was canceled in July 2020, was not mentioned in capital improvement highlights outlined in a port release on Wednesday. The five-year capital improvement plan put forward one year ago envisioned the study for such a terminal would resume in 2023.

Pier 66 shore power

The highlights do mention a Terminal 46 north pier structure replacement and Pier 66 shore power

Metruck's proposed 2022 budget steers the port back toward growth after two years of managing severe COVID-related impacts to lines of business and the community.

The total 2022 capital budget is $559.5m and the five-year capital improvement program is $4.4bn.

The Port of Seattle Commission is expected to adopt its budget and capital improvement plan at a Nov. 16 meeting.