The 2009 cruise season has started with the arrival of Holland America Line's "Amsterdam" at the new Smith Cove Terminal located at Pier 91. A record 211 vessels are as per Port of Seattle expected this season, bringing an estimated 801,000 passengers.
Per an agreement between the Port and the cruise lines, all cruise ships at Seattle as homeport will use shore power or low-sulfur fuel while docked, eliminating the need to run ship engines to generate onboard electricity. That agreement is similar to one between the cruise lines, the port, and the Washington State Department of Ecology that governs wastewater discharges.
The new Smith Cove passenger terminal was completed in time for this year’s season at a cost of $72 million and will house Holland America, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean.
The port's cruise business has grown steadily from just six ships and 6,600 passengers in 1999. In 2008, Seattle hosted 210 vessels and a record 886,000 passengers, nearly all destined for Alaska’s pristine wilderness. The 2008 season marks the first time Seattle surpassed Vancouver, BC in passenger numbers, as the Port of Seattle states.