Port Everglades

Seattle: Port Valet, Free Link Light Rail Allow Passengers to See Seattle

The Port of Seattle and Sound Transit, with Sound Transit mascot Zap Gridlock, partnered today in handing out 500 free light rail tickets to disembarking cruise passengers to encourage them to spend time in Seattle before taking Link light rail to the airport. Later this month Sound Transit and the Port will surprise 500 airport passengers with a similar in-terminal giveaway.

According to the port, cruise passenger survey results show that when people spend time in Seattle, they also spend money, helping the cruise industry contribute $500 million a season to the region’s economy.

Port Valet is a complimentary service that allows eligible passengers to get airline boarding passes and check their luggage all the way to their final destination while still on board their ship. Guests can then enjoy Seattle luggage-free.

“A busy cruise day can add thousands to Seattle’s downtown population,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins in a prepared statement. “We are on a mission to increase the economic benefit of tourism for local businesses while reducing traffic and pollution for residents. This partnership with Sound Transit to encourage cruise passengers and visitors to take light rail to the airport benefits everyone.”

A survey of 431 passengers who spent more than four hours in Seattle before or after a cruise found that: Average per-party spending in Seattle was $850 for pre-cruise and $697 in post-cruise: 90 percent will spend a night in Seattle, with the average stay of two nights; 65 percent will stay downtown, 36 percent will stay near the airport; 92 percent will travel by air (excluding Washington state residents); and 56 percent say they are very likely or likely to return to Seattle in the next five years.

For the past 14 years, the Port stated, it has prioritized protecting the environment while growing into a $500 million a year regional industry. Seattle is said to be the only homeport in North America with a voluntary clean water agreement between the Port, the cruise lines and regulators. Emissions from ocean going vessels, including cruise ships entering Puget Sound, have decreased by more than 67 percent over the last 10 years.

This season is expected to be Seattle’s biggest cruise season yet, with over one million revenue passengers, making it the largest cruise homeport on the West Coast.

Photo: Cruise passengers at the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal receive Link light rail tickets.

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