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  • Tom Drake

Port of Seattle Completes Successful and Safe Cruise Season

Norwegian Encore was the final ship to sail from Seattle this season.

The Port of Seattle concludes its 2021 cruise season this Saturday with the departure of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore from Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66. The season ends after safely hosting 82 cruise ship calls and approximately 229,000 revenue passengers between July 19 and October 23. Safety protocols, national and local health guidelines, best practices at Port facilities, and timely congressional action all contributed to a successful cruise season. 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, 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.”

“We are very appreciative that an Alaska cruise season occurred in 2021 as it has positively impacted lodging businesses in our area,” said Mark Everton, CEO Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (SSRTA). “Our members are looking forward to a strong and vibrant 2022 season that will generate additional rooms and tourism activities for the area.”

“We’re grateful to have a cruise business that contributes to our city’s vibrancy and economic

sustainability,” said Kau'ilani (Ui) Robinson, public relations director for Visit Seattle. “Even through an uncertain period, the resilient return of the 2021 cruise season made a lasting impact on our waterfront businesses. We’re looking forward to welcoming a full return of 2022 sailings, which will be pivotal for Seattle—and the greater region’s—recovery.”

“Waterfront businesses in Seattle were expecting no cruise passengers this summer, so we were all delighted to see the passengers that showed up, ate at our restaurants, enjoyed the attractions, and bought souvenirs,” said Bob Donegan, President of Ivar’s Restaurants. “Waterfront businesses welcomed these passengers who came in large numbers and look forward to seeing them again when cruise resumes next spring.”

Although Norwegian Encore has the last passenger voyage of the season, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas may remain in Puget Sound and Elliott Bay while preparing for its next destinations.


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 world-class environmental measures, and spur the important economic recovery our region and state desperately need.

The 2021 cruise season represented the Port’s commitment to bring cruise back to our community safer, stronger, and more sustainable than ever before. 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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