Port of Seattle Safely Concludes Cruise Season Amid COVID Protocols

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The Port of Seattle will safely conclude its 2021 cruise season this Saturday, on Oct. 23, with the departure of the Norwegian Encore from Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66.

According to a press release, the season ends after safely hosting 82 cruise ship calls and approximately 229,000 revenue passengers between July 19 and Oct. 23. “Safety protocols, national and local health guidelines, best practices at port facilities, and timely congressional action” all contributed to a successful cruise season, the port wrote.

Next year’s cruise season beginning in April is expected to be closer to 2019 passenger and ship call levels.

“The Port of Seattle is invested in the future of cruise,” said Stephanie Jones Stebbins, managing director of maritime division at the Port of Seattle. “Cruise contributes to our local maritime economy, helps the Port maintain a variety of maritime businesses on our working waterfront, spurs sustainability innovations that advance all maritime industries, and contributes broadly to the regional economy.”

Mark Everton, the CEO of Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (SSRTA), said that they were “very appreciative that an Alaska cruise season occurred in 2021.”

“(I)t has positively impacted lodging businesses in our area,” he noted. “Our members are looking forward to a strong and vibrant 2022 season that will generate additional rooms and tourism activities for the area.”

Although this is the last passenger voyage of the season, one ship may remain in Puget Sound while preparing for its next destinations, the Port of Seattle wrote.

Leading up to the 2021 cruise season, the port and the cruise lines invested “significant resources” in supporting community health, ensuring robust water quality protections, reducing air emissions, and bringing back well-paying jobs to Seattle’s waterfront.

The port worked with public health, environmental agencies, community groups and local vendors over the past year and a half to balance COVID-19 safety, implement high-standard environmental measures, and spur economic recovery.

"The 2021 cruise season represented the port’s commitment to bring cruise back to our community safer, stronger, and more sustainable than ever before," the port said. "A typical cruise season brings nearly $900 million in business revenue to the region and supports over 5,000 jobs. While still far below the economic activity of a normal year, the 2021 season helped businesses take another step away from tense financial times towards supporting their families in Alaska and Washington."

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