Photographer's Note

Cruise Ship Dock

For Seattleites, the cruise season is an economic boon and a big investment, with some lingering concerns about traffic and pollution.

The taxpayer-funded Port of Seattle spent $72 million to build the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal, said port spokesman Peter McGraw. The building sits at the end of Pier 91, which juts more than 4,000 feet into Elliott Bay. Over the decades, the pier has hosted cargo ships, fishing vessels and the U.S. Navy.

Each cruise ship that docks in Seattle brings a wave of money. The port estimates that cruises are worth $312 million in annual business revenue. Passengers and crews spend on hotel rooms, meals, taxis and souvenirs in downtown Seattle (sometimes almost swamping Pike Place Market, a favorite spot). Cruise lines buy supplies and food locally for their bountiful shipboard buffets.

For many downtown hotels, the cruise season is a welcome boost, especially during this economic slump. The Edgewater Hotel, for example, books about 300 rooms a month to passengers on pre-cruise stays, said spokeswoman Christina Starr.

The new Smith Cove Cruise Terminal, reached via the approach road to Magnolia Bridge and the West Galer Street Flyover, will also bring more traffic congestion to the area along Elliott Avenue West and 15th Avenue West, from private cars, buses, taxis and supply trucks.

The terminal will host six ships on summer weekends — two a day arriving and departing each Friday, Saturday and Sunday — including the towering Golden Princess, which carries 2,600 passengers and about 1,100 crew.

Friday mornings could have the most impact on commuters because ships arrive in the early morning and unload passengers and resupply, then sail out again in the afternoon.

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Additional Photos by Danos kounenis (danos) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13663 W: 293 N: 27485] (110407)
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