After only 83 calls last year, the port is ready for a busy Alaska season.
In speaking with Cruise Industry News, Stephanie Jones Stebbins, director of maritime operations, said the Covid shortened season last summer went well.
She said, "It went very well because of all the advance preparation work done by the cruise lines, which were focused on being as safe as possible. We started working with our public health agencies almost a year before the season started and continued to work with them throughout 2021. We also made pretty significant upgrades to our facilities to install touchless features, enhanced ventilation, and more."
During the trying restart last year, only one ship was docked at the two ship pier so the space could be utilized for testing and embarkation. This year when the 2022 season starts, Seattle hopes to accommodate three ships again simultaneously as it has in the past.
In addition, the port is implementing programs to develop business for local merchants. Jones Stebbins said, "the port is committed to sharing the economic benefits that cruising is creating. We want to reach parts of the community that have been the furthest away from economic opportunity. We have many programs in Workforce Development to bring people into the maritime industry, and we support women- and minority-owned businesses. We also have initiatives to connect small, local businesses with the cruise lines. So, we are making sure the economic impact is felt throughout the community."