Pacific Port Of Departure - Seattle, USA

1 Introducing Seattle

Near the north west coast of the United States, nestled between Puget Sound to the west and Lake Washington to the east sits the compact city of Seattle. Beyond the waters lie two rugged mountain ranges, the Cascades on the east and the Olympics on the west .

The first outpost in the Seattle region, built in 1852, was named New York. The pioneers soon moved a short distance to the district now called Pioneer Square, which had an excellent sea harbor. In honor of a local Indian chief who had aided the settlers, this new township was given the name Seattle. At first the new town's main economic activity was Henry Yesler's timber mill at the bottom of Mill St (later renamed Yesler Way) built in 1853. In late 1863, a surveyor found coal next to a stream later named Coal Creek. Almost immediately extensive coal mining began, and coal joined lumber as a principal export flowing through Seattle docks. In 1883 a connecting railroad between the Northern Pacific transcontinental railway and Seattle was constructed, and the town's population increased dramatically in the late 1880s. In 1889 the city was almost completely ruined when a raging fire raged through the center. A period of rebuilding followed, this time using fireproof brick and steel.

The early part of the 20th century saw a period of strong growth, as people from all over the world came in to work in the business, service and resource industries. Throughout World War I, the city’s ship building industry underwent huge expansion. In 1919, the five day strike of over 65000 workers led to the press and politicians to portray the city's citizens as almost Bolshevik for their behavior. Unemployment and suffering were widespread among the population during the harsh 1930s Depression. The city’s manufacturing industries rebounded in World War II, led by the manufacturer Boeing, who employed more people to handle a strong orderbook. In 1962 Seattle took an opportunity to host an enormous world's fair, the fantastic Century 21 Exposition. The Seattle Center, the Pacific Science Center, the Seattle Center Monorail and the Space Needle were all built for the Exposition, and have become familiar parts of the Seattle skyline.

Today Seattle is an international center for industry, commerce and trade, boasting enormous enterprises such as Amazon, Costco and Microsoft.

Seattle’s port has long been central to its economic growth. At first the port was utilized for the export of coal and lumber. Also the port functioned as a homeport for smaller ships shifting goods to town further north. As early as 1895 the Alaska Steamship Company was offering 7 day summer cruises along the coast to Alaska. By 1954 the popularity of Alaskan cruises had fallen, and the Alaska Steamship Company closed. For the next 50 years Seattle’s cruise business was just about non-existent. But in 2000 Seattle once again attempted to become an important cruise ship homeport, when the Port of Seattle inaugurated the Bell Street Pier cruise port. In 2009 the Smith Cove cruise terminal was built to add more cruise passenger capacity. In 2010 the Port of Seattle hosted 223 cruise ship visits and nearly a million passengers.

2 The Port Of Seattle

Seattle has 2 cruise ship terminals, the prestigious city center Bell Street Pier, and the Smith Cove Piers, 3 miles north of the city center. The terminals are managed by Cruise Terminals of America (CTA), who lease the properties from the Port of Seattle.


Bell Street Cruise Terminal

The Bell Street Pier cruise port was opened in 2000 as a component of an 11-acre, city center, waterside, multi-function project. The terminal is sited on Pier 66 which has a historic past dating back to 1914. During the 20th century the dock had several functions like on-dock railroad terminus, warehousing and cold storage. The terminal is 2 floors high, with an advanced gangway system providing direct ship access from the upper floor. Amenities include shops, café, baggage handling, customs, check-in, concierge, rental car desk and restaurant. At the junction of Wall Street and Alaskan Way, next to the cruise terminal, there is a easily-accessible parking garage. The cruise terminal offers just one mooring. The cruise terminal is home to Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises cruise ships.


Smith Cove Cruise Terminal

The Smith Cove cruise ship facility is located 3 miles from downtown, on Piers 90 and 91. The waterfront was bought by Seattle Port in 1912 for use as a industrial port. During WWI the navy utilized the port as a supply point. Because of its previous use, Smith Cove surroundings have a utilitarian vibe. They even located some ordnance under the cruise terminal! Facilities include concierge, customs, check-in, shops, car rental kiosk and luggage handling. A 1,000 car parking lot is positioned near by with a free shuttle bus service to the terminal. There is also a cell phone waiting point for easy passenger pickup. The cruise port has 2 cruise ship moorings at Piers 90 and 91. Smith Cove hosts Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, Carnival and Holland America Line.

See cruises from Seattle for a comprehensive listing of cruises available.

For the Port Authority see Port Of Seattle.


3 Out And About In Seattle

Space Needle
Take the elevator to reach the 520 feet high hovering disk platform of Seattle's iconic building for a magnificent outlook on the city and its attractive surroundings. Visit the souvenir shop for a memento or, for food with a difference, eat at SkyCity, the tower's revolving restaurant that turns once per hour.

Pioneer Square
Pioneer Square is the site of Seattle’s first lumber mill, the cornerstone of the original pioneer town. Seattle’s 1889 fire destroyed the wood houses built by the pioneers. The area is now characterized by late nineteenth century Romanesque brick and stone buildings, and is bursting with friendly cafes, art galleries, interesting shops and magnificent architecture. Pioneer Square is located a mile south of Bell Street Pier.

Seattle Aquarium
Sitting on Pier 59, the Seattle Aquarium keeps an amazing range of sea life. Check out the Pacific coral world, Lake Washington fresh water fish, mysterious octopus, colorful fish, Puget sound creatures and lively otters in award winning exhibits. Have a break at the stylishly designed Aquarium café, and browse the aquarium store.

Pike Place Market
One good place to start your visit to Seattle is the Pike Place market, one of the few farmers’ city center markets to remain in the US. There are lots of market stands to browse, with many goods even now sourced directly from the farmer. After visiting the busy stalls take a relaxing break and sip a coffee at the first-ever Starbucks, next to the market. Pike Place market is just by Bell Street Pier.

Museum of Flight
Befitting the hometown of behemoth Boeing, Seattle has an amazing Museum dedicated to flying machines. Find out about the progress of flight from the Wright airplanes, through WWI and WWII, through to today’s military and commercial planes. Inspect the Shuttle space plane, a superb collection of WWII fighters, a traffic control tower, a history of air hostess style and the first jet Air Force One. You can also test your aptitude as a plane pilot in a flight simulator. Seattle Museum of Flight is located 4 miles southwards from downtown.

Olympic Sculpture Park
The Olympic Sculpture Park is maintained by Seattle Art Museum. It is a free outdoor sculpture park with a whole series of abstract and fascinating sculptures, with a beautiful outlook across Puget Sound and the mountains beyond. The park is positioned on the coast quarter of a mile north of Bell Street Pier.

4 Traveling To The Seattle Cruise Ports

Bell St Pier

From the Airport
It takes around three-quarter of an hour by cab from Sea-Tac airport to the cruise terminal from Sea-Tac Airport.
Alternatively catch the Sea-Tac airport to downtown Light Rail, alighting at the final station Westlake. Next hail a taxi or walk to the cruise port, three-quarters of a mile distant.
By Car
From the North
Join Interstate 5. Take exit 167, signed Mercer Street/Seattle Center. Head right onto Fairview Avenue. Then the first left onto Valley St. Carry along Valley Street which turns into Broad Street. At the waterfront make a left onto Alaskan Way. Immediately before the cruise port building, take a left onto Wall Street to access Bell Street Pier garage.
From the South
From Interstate 5 leave at exit 164A signed Dearborn St/James St/Madison St. Follow Madison St/Convention Center signs. Make a left onto Madison Street. Continue on Madison Street until you reach the waterfront. Make a right onto Alaskan Way. Carry on for about a mile, until you pass the cruise terminal to the left hand side. Turn right onto Wall Street for the entrance to Bell Street Pier garage.

Smith Cove

From The Airport
The travel time from Sea-Tac airport to the cruise port by cab is in the region of 45 minutes.
By Car
From the North and South
Take I-5 to exit 167 signed Mercer Street. Make a right turn to join Fairview Avenue North. Make a left onto Valley Street. Valley Street turns into Broad Street. Past the Space needle turn right onto Denny Way. The road bends to the right joining Western Avenue. Western Av joins Elliott Av West. Follow signs for Magnolia Bridge. Follow signs to Smith Cove Park and cruise port.

5 Other Information

Currency USD
Language English
Timezone PTZ

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