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A record crusie ship season in Seattle


A record number of cruise ship passengers shoved off from Port of Seattle this year, according to Port officials. Hitting a new height of 933,900 passengers aboard 202 ships. Each of those ships generates $2.1 million for the local economy, according to the consulting firm Martin Associates, including everything from taxes to tourism to stocking the galley.

Peter McGraw of the Port of Seattle said the city has become the premier point of origin for Alaska cruises. He credited a big investment in infrastructure at the Port, including a new cruise terminal completed three years ago.

“When you consider just over 10 years ago we had six ships of call, and now we’re looking at in the 200 range, you know we’ve come a long way,” McGraw said.

A growing overall business in Alaska cruises might get some credit as well. That state recently lowered its head tax on cruise passengers, encouraging more companies to send ships there. Cruise Industry News points out world events, such as the Arab Spring and unrest in Greece, make Alaska a more attractive cruise destination. Some of that growth seems to be trickling down to Seattle, which is now the 7th largest port of origin for cruises in the nation, and number-one on the West Coast.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.