The Port of Seattle Commission voted this week in favor of a 10-year agreement with Carnival Corporation (CCCL), the parent company of Princess Cruises and Holland America Lines. The agreement formalizes what many cruise passengers have known for years, that Seattle is a great place to begin a voyage, and that partnerships such as these will insure that this remains a growing market for years to come.

Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani said, "The cruise business has been a very lucrative investment for the citizens of King County," he said.

"In less than ten years, we've gone from six vessel calls a year to 210, and each vessel call brings $1.7 million to the local economy. This agreement keeps the jobs and economic growth that cruise ships bring to the region in place well into the future."

The agreement calls on CCCL to bring a minimum of 420,000 revenue passengers a year to Seattle's new two-berth cruise facility at Terminal 91 scheduled to open in April, 2009. Holland America Line and Princess Cruises currently serve the Alaska market with five homeported ships in Seattle, and will add the Pacfic Princess with 14-day itineraries for the upcoming season.

"Overall we have been very pleased with our cruise operations in Seattle," said Dan Grausz, senior vice president, fleet, Holland America Line. "This agreement demonstrates our commitment and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the Port and city."

"Princess has been homeporting our ships in Seattle for five years now, and we know our passengers enjoy beginning and ending their cruise here," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "We now look forward to continuing this successful program for many years to come."

Speaking to the economic impact on the city and region Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO said, "A first class cruise terminal drives tourism. This long-term investment in Terminal 91 promises to return near-term economic impact as well as future growth in our regional tourism economy."

The new passenger terminal - located just north of downtown Seattle - provides a quick vessel approach, panoramic views of the city's skyline, Mt. Rainier and the Olympic Mountains. Features of the terminal include concierge services, luggage storage, on-board airline check-in, rental cars and secure parking. The two-story, 143,000 square foot facility offers mobile gangways and shore power at each 1200 foot berth.

The two shore-power equipped berths will eliminate the need for running engines to generate onboard electricity. This environmentally-friendly service eliminates vessel air emissions while in port. Seattle remains the only port world-wide to offer this level of service.

In 2008, Seattle hosted a record 210 vessels and 886,000 passengers, nearly all destined for Alaska's pristine wilderness. This was the first time Seattle surpassed Vancouver, BC in passenger numbers.