Seattle’s 2024 Cruise Season Kicks Off 25 Years of Sailing to Alaska

Norwegian Bliss at Seattle, September 2018 (Credit Andrea Sugranes x NCL)The 2024 cruise season officially kicks off today (April 6, 2024) at the Port of Seattle’s Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66.

The Port and local officials welcomed Norwegian Bliss for the first sailing of the 25th year of cruises between Seattle and Alaska. As the season gets underway, the Port is hard at work finalizing the electrification of Pier 66 and plans to connect cruise ships to shore power this summer. This milestone will make shore power available at all three Seattle cruise berths, which will achieve the Northwest Ports Air Strategy goal to electrify all cruise berths by 2030, six years early.

2024 season by the numbers
The 2024 season runs from April 6 to October 28. The season is expected to support:

275 sailings
1.7 million revenue passengers, which comes out to more than 800,000 unique passengers
Nearly $900 million in economic impact including tourism, provisioning, and jobs supported by cruise
5,500 jobs

“Over the last 25 years, the cruise business has become a significant part of our local economy, contributing to hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs. All that activity comes with environmental impacts, however, and so the Port of Seattle is committed to providing a leadership role in advancing maritime decarbonization,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins. “Through our trailblazing collaboration — the Pacific Northwest to Alaska Green Corridor — we are studying the feasibility of cruise ships sailing on zero-emission green methanol in the Alaska market. Our objective is to provide a road map for maritime leaders worldwide that demonstrates the viability of a greener industry, one that serves our communities and passengers while minimizing environmental and social impacts.”

“Our history with the Port of Seattle runs deep, and it is a partnership we are very proud of,” said David J. Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). “Together we pioneered voyages to Alaska from Seattle, with Norwegian Sky’s inaugural sailing to the Last Frontier in May 2000. In 2018, Norwegian Bliss was the first ship to be christened in Seattle, and today, we continue to bring guests from all over the world to sail aboard our spectacular ships from this beautiful city. Our commitment to the local Seattle and Alaska communities is very important to all of us at NCL, as together we deliver dream vacations for our guests. We remain dedicated to Seattle and look forward working together to enhance its cruise operation by connecting our ships to shore power at Pier 66 in the near future.”

“The working men and women of ILWU local 19 welcome the start of this year’s cruise season and the family wage jobs it provides to our local,” said Rich Austin, President ILWU local 19. “Each year the cruise industry can rely on our highly skilled and efficient workforce to see that ships are fully provisioned and the needs of passengers and their baggage are met.”

“Cruising to Alaska is an extraordinary experience, and 63% of travelers first visiting Seattle for a cruise return for a longer stay, furthering the economic impact to local businesses,” said Sally Andrews, Vice President Communications & Public Affairs, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). “The cruise industry is committed to sustainable operations, with some of the most technologically advanced ships sailing in the region, use of shore power to reduce emissions, and investing in new solutions to protect beautiful destinations like the Pacific Northwest.”

“Cruise passengers are a crucial part of our economy’s success and contribute significantly to downtown’s vibrancy. The Port of Seattle collaborates with the tourism and small business community to ensure passengers are well informed of the sights, sounds, and adventures of our city. From our revitalized waterfront to our diverse neighborhoods, passengers have an abundance of experiences to embrace,” said Visit Seattle President and CEO Tammy Canavan. “As the gateway to Alaska, we look forward to welcoming explorers this cruise season, and sending them home eager to return for more.”

The Port remains committed to being one of the most environmentally progressive cruise home ports in North America by reducing emissions at berth with shore power connections, protecting water quality in Puget Sound by banning discharge of Exhaust Gas Clean System wash water at berth, and collaborating with the industry on the long-term decarbonization of cruise travel. In addition to the upcoming launch of shore power at Pier 66, the Port forecasts that 123 sailings will connect at Pier 91.

The Port also continues to work in partnership with cruise ports in Alaska, Victoria. and Vancouver BC and the cruise industry to explore the world’s first cruise-focused Green Corridor from Seattle to Alaska through innovative decarbonization strategies. Learn more at an upcoming webinar on May 2.

Cruise lines operating in Seattle follow the Port’s best practices along with state and international regulatory guidelines while also voluntarily adapting operations and equipment to protect air and water.

(Seattle’s 2024 Cruise Season Kicks Off 25 Years of Sailing to Alaska – Port of Seattle)