ABM: It's a short countdown now to May 7. Is the Port of Seattle's $12.9 million Bell Street Pier ready? What can visitors expect from the facility?
Davis: Construction is now underway on the expanded Homeport Seattle cruise terminal at Pier 66 on the Seattle waterfront. The first phase of the terminal will be completed this spring for the summer cruise season, with the second phase due for completion in November. The facilities are designed with the latest in technology to speed the handling of passengers and their baggage to ensure a pleasant and enjoyable cruise experience. The 56,000-square-foot terminal, part of the port's nationally recognized Central Waterfront redevelopment project, will handle 36 vessel calls and nearly 120,000 passenger movements this year.
The Port, operator of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, is also taking steps to improve links between the airport and downtown Seattle to increase passenger convenience.
ABM: Aside from Norwegian Cruise Lines, have other cruise lines indicated an interest in basing Alaska operations in Seattle rather than Vancouver? Do you have any firm commitments?
Davis: In addition to the 4-year agreement with NCL, the port and Royal Caribbean International have signed a pact to test new itineraries in Seattle this year. Starting May 14, Royal Caribbean will call at the Port of Seattle six times through June 2 for 2-, 3-and 4-night cruises aboard the 2,000-passenger Vision of the Seas. The Royal Caribbean voyages will offer passengers a new way to sample the splendors of the Northwest waters, the Inside Passage and calls at Vancouver and Victoria BC. Royal Caribbean has indicated interest in expanding those itineraries in 2001.
The Port also has continuing discussions with other cruise lines that recognize Seattle's ideal location, outstanding cruise facilities and tourism appeal.
ABM: Is there concern the additional weekly bustle of thousands of cruiseship visitors will impact the charm of...