By Jake Whittenberg, August 12, 2014, Seattle Post Intelligencer
As the official cruise season winds down, new numbers indicate there is a dip in the number departures and passengers through Seattle.
The Port of Seattle estimates 805,000 passengers and 178 vessels will pass through the city during the May-September cruise season. That compares to 870,000 passengers and 187 vessels in 2013, and 934,900 passengers and 202 vessels in 2012.
The estimated 8% drop in passengers could equal around a $30 million hit to the local economy. The average cruise ship contributes $2.1 million to the region.
One reason for the drop in departures could be larger vessels, according to a Port of Seattle spokesman.
Amon’s Seafood at Pike Place Market is one local business that thrives with cruise passengers stopping in Seattle and spending money. At Amon’s, the biggest draw is fresh salmon to be packaged and sent home.
“You can just tell how busy it is on the cruise lines by how hard it is to get in here,” said Sean Lakeside, fishmonger at Amon’s. “It’s a little slow this year, so we are hoping business does start to pick up.”
Visit Seattle says it’s working on offering passenger package deals and quality discounts to cruise passengers to help attract more business. The Port indicates this is still a strong year for the industry, with around $600 million in taxes paid out by customers and more than 2,000 local jobs in service.