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Cruise ships sailing from Seattle to Alaska down from 2010 peak
The number of cruise ships sailing to Alaska from Seattle remains down from the peak of two years ago. In 2010, 223 ships made the trip. This year, 202 ships will sail from Seattle. It's a slight uptick from last year when 196 ships used Seattle as a homeport during the summer Alaska cruising season.
The Port of Seattle says revenue from the cruise business remains strong .
The cruise season in Seattle officially began on Sunday, May 6, with Holland America Line's ms Oosterdam setting sail from the Smith Cover Cruise Terminal.
Port of Seattle spokesman Peter McGraw says revenue to the region from the cruise industry is expected to top $400 million dollars this year. The Port estimates 4,300 jobs are directly tied to the industry.
“And that includes everything from the piano tuner and the florist all the way to those providing lubricants in the engines,” McGraw said.
'Friendly competition' with Canada
Seattle competes with Vancouver, British Columbia for cruise ships. McGraw calls it a "friendly competition.,"
Vancouver has the advantage of being closer to Alaska. One cruise line, Disney, left Vancouver, B.C. for Seattle and will sail out of here this summer.
But next year it plans to go return to Canada.
Industry worried about tougher fuel requirements
One challenge affecting the cruise business is a requirement on the horizon that cargo and cruise ships burn low sulphur fuel. McGraw says it has the cruise industry concerned.
“They are wondering if there is in fact enough fuel to go around between ocean going cargo vessels and cruise vessels.” he said.
Cruise ship schedule
The cruise ships sailing to Alaska from Seattle are considered mid size, each carrying from 2200 to 2500 passengers.
Here's the 2012 cruise schedule from the Port of Seattle:
- Celebrity Cruises offers 7-day Alaska cruises on the Infinity; departing from Bell Street Cruise Terminal on Pier 66 every Friday throughout the season.
- Disney Cruise Lineoffers 7-day Alaska cruises on the Wonder; departing from Terminal 91 every Monday throughout the season.
- Holland America Line offers 7-day Alaska cruises on the Amsterdam, Oosterdam or the Westerdam. Sailings depart Saturdays and Sundays from Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Terminal 91.
- Norwegian Cruise Line offers 7-day Alaska cruises on the Norwegian Jewel or the Norwegian Pearl. Sailings depart Saturdays and Sundays from Pier 66.
- Princess Cruises offers 7-day Alaska cruises on the Golden Princess or the Star Princess. Sailings depart Saturdays and Sundays from Terminal 91.
- Royal Caribbean offers 7-day cruises to Alaska on the Rhapsody of the Seas departing from Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Terminal 91 every Friday throughout the season.