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Seattle wraps a peak cruise season and most shore power hookups ever

Norwegian Sun's call capped Port of Seattle's 2023 cruise season
The Port of Seattle hosted 291 cruises with a record 1,778,193 revenue passengers (907,572 individual passengers) over a six-month season that began April 15.

It is estimated that each homeported cruise ship at berth brings $4m in economic impact, with a total of nearly $900m over the course of a cruise season. The port said most cruisers stay a couple of days in Seattle before or after their Alaska sailing, and more than 20% check their bags early to the airport so they can spend the day out and about before boarding their flights home.

Shore power

With increased cruise calls come more shore power hookups to reduce emissions. More than one-third of the ships at Smith Cove Cruise Terminal did so, setting a record number of plug-ins for a Seattle cruise season. The port is working to make its third cruise berth at Pier 66 shore power-capable during the 2024 cruise season.

'We look forward to 2030, when we have a goal for every homeport cruise ship calling Seattle to plug in,' Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck said.

Overall tourism impact

'We welcomed hundreds of thousands of people off the ships and into our shops, restaurants, hotels and attractions, providing critical support to nearly 61,000 of our neighbors who work in hospitality, and contributing greatly to the more than $10 billion economic impact of tourism in our region,' said Tammy Blount-Canavan, president and CEO of Visit Seattle.

The port continues to work collaboratively with the cruise industry, Alaska and British Columbia ports to establish a 'green corridor’ that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bring zero-emission ships to the cruise route from Seattle to Alaska, noted Stephanie Jones Stebbins, managing director of maritime at the port.

2024 outlook

Next year Seattle anticipates 277 homeport calls, with continued high occupancy and very strong passenger volumes.