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View Full Version : Seattle topples Vancouver, dominates cruise ship industry in 2008

Nov 6, 2008, 3:45 AM
Seattle tops for cruise passengers in 2008

Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Port of Seattle ended 2008 as the leader on the Alaska cruise run, posting its best year and narrowly topping Vancouver for the number of passengers that passed through its gateway, according to port numbers released Tuesday.

Vancouver saw more cruise ships call on the city with 254 sailings over the season, but the 850,000 passengers those cruises carried came second to the 886,039 passengers that Seattle welcomed on 210 sailings.

"The growth we've seen in just 10 years is remarkable," Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani said in a news release.

Seattle has made a stronger play to develop its cruise business in recent years, and John Creighton, president of the Seattle Port Commission, said the sector has "quickly become an important source of jobs and economic growth" for the region.

Seattle estimated that its cruise business generates $274 million US in annual business revenue, $8 million US in taxes and 2,380 local jobs.

Nov 6, 2008, 3:56 AM
What makes cruise lines choose which city to go to? I've noticed that there has been a significant shift over the past couple years to Seattle but what is prompting it? Does Seattle have something more than we do?(location/geography/city regulations etc.)

Nov 6, 2008, 4:15 AM
Seattle only had about 100,000 passengers in 2003.....but then they started building cruise ship facilities, which stole much of Vancouver's Alaskan cruise market (much of which relied on American tourists). With Seattle, Americans didn't need to go through any border hassle - especially after 9/11.

Nov 6, 2008, 4:25 AM
Relatively few Americans have passports. A 2006 nytimes article puts it at 27%

I vaguely recall that there's an American law that prevents foreign vessels from operating between two American ports, so a Norwegian company wouldn't be able to go between Seattle and Ketchikan directly. Instead, it would have to make a stopover in Victoria, for example. I'm not sure how this works with passport requirements in Canada.

Nov 6, 2008, 4:34 AM
What makes cruise lines choose which city to go to? I've noticed that there has been a significant shift over the past couple years to Seattle but what is prompting it? Does Seattle have something more than we do?(location/geography/city regulations etc.)

The USA requires passports for Canada right now. There is talk about updating DLs in the states so they will be as good as a passport. My hope is that with Obama being the USA president he will be less fanatical about national security and make it crossing between are two boarders more efficient. Canada and the USA have arguably the closest relationship of any two countries, so it would be nice if our border operated more like that of EU nations.

Nov 6, 2008, 5:25 AM
but don't these cruise ships normally make stop offs along the way? What happens then?

Nov 6, 2008, 5:29 AM
What mr.x2 says is true. But I also think the numbers are a bit misleading as The number of ships calling at Vancouver is still much higher than Seattle. Consider the following:

- Most of Seattle's cruises are 7-day round-trip cruises ie Seattle - Alaska and back again in one week.
- Most of Vancouver's cruises (especially on Princess) tend to be 7-day ONE-WAY cruises ie Vancouver - Ketchikan or Ketchikan - Vancouver.
- From what I can see, it seems that departures and arrivals are each counted once, ie on a 7-day round-trip cruise, a passenger would be counted twice -- once on departure and again on arrival), which means passenger numbers get inflated.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that Seattle's cruise industry was near oblivion several years ago but now is giving Vancouver a run for its money.

Nov 6, 2008, 6:21 AM
Hopefully Olympic exposure will help turn the tables.

Nov 6, 2008, 6:43 PM
I'd say the STRONG Canadian Dollar earlier in the year was a HUGE deterrent for Americans to come to Canada. When they were used to getting 20 - 30% off to all the sudden be paying the same or 10% more, it would have been a big NO! Of course, now that the dollar is back to where it should be for Canada to have a good economy, that should change.

Nov 7, 2008, 10:06 PM
the USA a few years ago made some regulation changes to the cruise ship industry thus making Seattle more favourable - prior to the changes foreign registered ships - as most are - had more loops holes and things to deal with if they wanted to be based out of or start from a US port so it was much easier for them to deal with canada

so that deregulation combined with the dollars rise and passport restrictions etc has made seattle a much port for the industry

its the jones act - i beleive it was changed a few years ago or ammended in Seattles favour after some bill was introduced in washington state

B. The Jones Act

Under the Jones Act, all goods carried by water between U.S. ports must be transported by American-owned, American-built and American-crewed ships. Canada's shipowners, convinced that they could compete in an open North American market, unsuccessfully tried to put the Jones Act on the table at the time of the Free Trade negotiations; another effort, made during the North American Free Trade negotiations, was no more successful. Our shipowners continue to press the case for "open waters" negotiations. The Jones Act has, however, provided one major benefit for the Port of Vancouver. To reserve domestic trade for American ships, the Act prevents foreign ships from making two consecutive stops at U.S ports. For example, if a foreign cruise makes a stop in Seattle it cannot go on to make a second stop in Alaska. Thus, foreign cruise ships choose to follow the scenic voyage to Alaska after stopping in Vancouver, which as a result has a virtual monopoly on Alaska cruises. There is, however, mounting pressure from Seattle and the State of Washington to have the Jones Act amended to allow foreign ships to make more than one stop at U.S. ports. Fewer ships might then stop at Vancouver, with serious economic consequences for the port.