The 2007 cruise season gets underway April 23 with the arrival of Holland America Line’s Zaandam at Terminal 30 and the Celebrity Cruise Line’s Mercury at Pier 66. The 2007 season brings new ships, new itineraries and new environmental initiatives.

A new agreement between the Port and the cruise lines means that all cruise ships homeported in Seattle will use shore power or low sulfur fuel while docked. The air emissions agreement follows a similar agreement among the cruise lines, the Port and the Washington State Department of Ecology regarding wastewater discharges. It went into effect in 2004.

A total of 190 vessel calls will bring a record 754,605 passengers to Seattle this season. Nine ships will be homeported in Seattle . The Port’s cruise business has grown steadily from just six ships and 6,600 passengers in 1999.

Among the vessels offering seven day round trip to cruises to Alaska from Seattle this year are three ships new to Seattle Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Pearl, Holland America’s Noordam and Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess.

Returning vessels include Holland’s Oosterdam and Amsterdam, Norwegian’s  Norwegian Star, Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas and Princess’ Sun Princess.

Celebrity Cruises’ Mercury will be back in Seattle at the end of the season with 13 three- and four-day cruises to British Columbia, extending the season into November for the first time.

A new service allowing passengers to check-in for their return flight aboard the ship before they disembark also will debut in Seattle this season. Luggage is sent directly from passenger cabins to the airport, giving cruisers a chance to enjoy the Seattle area before returning home.

“ Seattle ’s cruise industry demonstrates that economic growth and environmental protection are compatible, achievable goals,” said Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani . “The cruise industry is responsible for nearly 2,000 jobs, more than $60 million in annual payroll and $6 million in state and local tax revenues,” Yoshitani said. “And the voluntary controls placed on air emissions and wastewater discharges help protect the beautiful environment cruise passengers come here to enjoy.”