Turn ports for cruise ships bound for Alaska experienced a decline this season and are facing significant reductions next year as ships are redeployed to lower-cost destinations. The port of Seattle dipped 1 percent to 875,433 cruise passengers this year.

More cruise vessels called on the Port of Seattle during the 2009 season, although the number of passengers dipped slightly, the port announced Monday.

The port said 218 cruise ships visited Seattle this season, a 4 percent increase from the 210 vessels that stopped in the city last year, port data show.

The number of passengers dipped 1 percent to 875,433 during the 2009 cruise season, according to port data. It was the first decline in passengers since 1996, when the port first began posting cruise-ship statistics. That year only six vessels with 6,615 passengers called on Seattle.

In a statement, port officials said data from the 2009 cruise season show that Seattle continues to have a strong market share in the Alaska cruise market.

Cruise ships now depart from Pier 66 on the downtown Seattle waterfront as well as from the new Smith Cove facility at Terminal 91, at the edge of Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood.

“The cruise business is an important source of jobs and economic growth for King County, especially in these tough economic times,” Port Commission President Bill Bryant said in a statement.

According to port estimates, the cruise industry generated about $312 million in annual business revenue and 3,781 jobs in 2008.

Source: Puget Sound Business Journal

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