The Seattle – Alaska Cruise season is about to begin, and from a modest start the region has turned into a major cruise hub feeding the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Besides the hugely popular Alaska cruises the Port of Seattle offers many 3 day cruises to Vancouver and the local region.
What began small — with just six Alaska-bound sailings in 1999 and about 3,300 passengers — has mushroomed this year to almost 200 departures and an estimated 370,000 passengers.
Five major lines will base nine ships at Seattle’s two downtown cruise-ship docks: Holland America, Norwegian, Celebrity, Princess and Royal Caribbean.
The Alaska cruises go from May 5 until late September, but the first big cruise liner to sail into Elliott Bay will be Holland America’s Volendam on April 22, en route to Hawaii.
Cruises from Seattle and other United States ports have boomed, due to the ease of driving or flying to such ports and because of security concerns after the Sept. 11 attacks.