If you’re cruising to Alaska this summer, the city of Seattle is probably where you’re embarking from. The Port of Seattle has a been a flurry of activity in recent weeks as Alaska season is finally in full swing after a lengthy shutdown due to the pandemic. Seattle has long been a popular cruise port, often getting high ratings from cruisers headed to Alaska, and much of that has to do with the city itself in terms of attractions, amenities and the beauty of the surrounding area.
Ron Peck, the Director of Tourism Development for the Port of Seattle joined Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine founder and Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff to discuss what Seattle has to offer, the safety measures instituted by the port and a new service called Port Valet which is making things much easier for cruisers flying into the city to meet their ship.
What are the Safety Protocols at Port of Seattle?
We’re all familiar with new health and safety protocols in just about every phase of our lives, but over the course of the pandemic, cruise ports around the world took the time to develop new ways to do things which will help keep cruisers happy and healthy. Peck was asked about some of those new procedures found at Port of Seattle and he explained that synergy with the Seattle airport was a key factor.
“The neat part about the Port of Seattle, there’s some real synchrisity there because of the fact that we operate both SEA International Airport, the 8th largest airport in the US, and three cruise terminals. So we’ve been able to really link and leverage those in a way that allows for a very, very good customer experience whether they’re getting off the airplane, going directly from the airport to a cruise ship or overnighting,” Peck said.
The city has enacted enhanced cleaning methods and other COVID-conscious protocols at both the airport and seaport to ensure visitor health and wellness.
What Makes Seattle so Popular for Alaskan Cruises?
When asked about the popularity of cruises from Seattle to Alaska, Peck explained that the close location of the port in relation to the rest of the city means there’s a lot to do in compact area.
“If you stay downtown, there are pre- or post the opportunity for you to embark to Alaska on your cruise, there are so many things to do that are walking-distance or monorail ride to the Space Needle and Chihuly Glass exhibit and MoPOP the great museum about pop culture, or Pike Place, or Pioneer Square. As well as easy opportunity to visit our national parks which in some cases are two hours away. So, there are great options and opportunity,” Peck said. “I like to say it this way; even though we’re the smallest state West of the Rockies, we’ve just got a myriad of different travel experiences and visitor experiences that are very close before or after you have that wonderful cruise to Alaska.”
What is Port Valet?
One of the best features of flying into Seattle to catch your cruise ship is a service offered by the airport and cruise port called Port Valet. We asked Peck to explain what that program is and how it helps cruisers get the most out of their vacation.
“We said, look, let’s work together with our airlines to not only make the baggage delivery system more efficient, but just as importantly, give guests the opportunity, even if they’re taking a red eye back East, they’ve got eight or nine hours to experience Seattle and that’s exactly what has happened. I think this will be our fourth year and virtually all domestic carriers operating out of Seattle participate in the Port Valet service. Essentially what happens is, you, as a cruise guest, can sign up on board for this free service and at the end of your cruise your bags will be delivered from your cruise ship to the airport for you,” Peck said.
Cruisers don’t have to lug their bags all over the city while they wait for their flight and instead, their bag arrives conveniently at the baggage carousel after the flight home.