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Port of Seattle Director of Cruise and Marketing, Mike McLaughlin, Retires

Mike McLaughlin

The Port of Seattle’s longtime Director of Maritime Cruise and Marketing, Mike McLaughlin, has retired, according to the port’s press release.

Over his 36 years of service, McLaughlin was responsible for “spearheading the construction of cruise facilities and overall growth of cruise operations for the Port of Seattle,” the port wrote. His efforts included the construction of Terminal 30 in the early 2000s, which accommodated the first of the large cruise vessels that could reach Alaska in record times.

Larger and faster cruise vessels allowed the Port of Seattle to gain its foothold in the lucrative Alaska market, paving the way for the opening of Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Terminal 91 in 2009 – the first dual-berth facility equipped with shore-power for two vessels. Around the same time, a 10-year preferential use agreement with Carnival Corporation was signed for their use of the facility.

The following years saw McLaughlin continuing to develop consistent passenger growth through port facilities in partnership with the major cruise brands of the world, the Port of Seattle wrote. His efforts culminated in a public/private partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line for their use of the refurbished Pier 66 Cruise Terminal.

The project including an expansion of the cruise terminal by three times the square footage while maintaining the same building footprint. Norwegian Cruise Line will resume cruises there starting Aug. 7. Efforts are already underway to provide shorepower at that facility for the 2023 cruise season.

Prior to the pandemic, the Port of Seattle had seen several consecutive years over one-million revenue passengers – and growing – boarding Alaska-bound cruises in ever-larger cruise vessels, it wrote. According to the port, these are the direct results of a team effort led by McLaughlin over the last 15 years, making the Port of Seattle “the biggest cruise homeport on the West Coast.” The Alaska cruise market is second only to the Caribbean in North America, according to the port.

“I’m extremely proud of the progress the Port of Seattle has made in the cruise business – from groundbreaking deals with Carnival Corporation and Norwegian Cruise Line to bringing environmental innovation in the form of shorepower to our facilities – and I’m honored to have been a part of making it happen,” said McLaughlin.

He added that he looks forward to visits with family, including a granddaughter, along with further travel – including a possible cruise or two.

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