Holland America kicks off cruise season

SEATTLE — Businesses in Western Washington are getting a boost as more cruise ships arrive and depart from Seattle.

A Seattle-based Holland America Line cruise ship is in town for its first cruise of the season, drawing large groups of tourists, creating hundreds of jobs and helping boost the city’s economy.

It’s the ship’s first full year back since the start of COVID-19. Seattle is expecting more than 300 ships to come through its terminals this year.

Last year, there were only about 80.

“It’s heartwarming, it’s really great to see, and there’s so many familiar faces — that’s the amazing thing,” said hotel manager Ron Bontenbal.

The ship is heading to Vancouver, where it will then sail to Alaska.

The response from travelers has been positive.

“I think it’s going to start bringing in a lot more economy, solely because there’s more traveling, people going places — it’s going to be good for both Canada and USA,” said passenger Justin Cross.

The ship is the biggest Holland America vessel to come to Seattle, with every amenity and something for everyone of all ages.

Vancouver guests disembark in Seattle before getting back on the ship and heading toward Canada. The time that travelers spend off the ship exploring the city helps pump dollars back into Seattle’s tourist scene.

Guests are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated and wear masks at all times except when swimming and eating.