The Port of Seattle Celebrates 25 Years of Cruises to Alaska

The Port of Seattle is celebrating 25 years of cruises to Alaska as Norwegian Bliss began the Alaska cruise season this month.

norwegian bliss seattle alaska cruise season

The 2024 cruise season officially kicked off today at the Port of Seattle’s Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Bliss is the first ship to sail to Alaska for the 25th year of cruises between Seattle and the 49th state.

In May 2000, Norwegian Sky was the first ship to set sail from the Port of Seattle offering guests roundtrip cruises to Alaska. The industry has grown from 36 ship calls to the current season with a forecast of 275 ship calls.

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.

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“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, VP of Communications & Public Affairs at the 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.”

The Port of Seattle’s 2024 cruise season runs from April 6th to October 28th. There are 1.7 million expected revenue passengers, which comes out to over 800,000 unique passengers. The season is expected to have a nearly $900 million economic impact including tourism, provisioning, and jobs supported by the cruise industry. And speaking of jobs, 5,500 of them are supported there this cruise season.

“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.”

norwegian bliss seattle alaska cruise season
Norwegian Bliss in Seattle

The Port of Seattle 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 B.C. and the cruise industry to explore the world’s first cruise-focused Green Corridor from Seattle to Alaska through innovative decarbonization strategies.


Have you ever taken a cruise to Alaska from Seattle? Do you plan to in the near future? Drop us an anchor below and let us know whether you have any plans!

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Sarah has been writing about the cruise industry since 2015, and in that time has taken a dozen cruises and counting. Her favorite onboard activities include trying the casual dining options, spending time in the spa’s thermal suite, and attending the love & marriage show. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @IAmSarahJaneB.
Sarah Bretz, Contributor
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