A central waterfront development panel has proposed to the Port of Seattle to build a cruise terminal. According to William Eager, who chaired the panel, the terminal would be built in conjunction with a world trade center, short-stay marina, international conference center and hotel/rental housing.
The recommendations are now with the Port of Seattle which is studying their feasibility. The necessity of a cruise terminal in particular is in question since passenger counts dropped from 23,342 in 1988 to 1,288 in 1989. This decline in cruise calls is due to the 70-year-old Passenger Services Act (PSA) which stipulates that a foreign-flagged cruise ship homeporting in Seattle must call in Vancouver or another Canadian port before it can end its journey. Most cruise lines opt instead to start their Alaskan itineraries out of Vancouver and just call in Seattle on repositioning cruises. Presently, the Puget Sound Cruise Alliance, based out of Seattle, is lobbying to amend this law.
According to Dan Dingfield, Director of Development for the Port of Seattle, the Port may not make a decision on the feasibility of the cruise terminal for another one to two years. This would keep the land available until a possible modification of the PSA could be made. Dingfield said that a final decision on the rest of the project would probably be made by this July. In the meantime, the plan also has to pass a state environmental impact study.