Even people who live in and around Tacoma will probably tell you they never thought the city would be a destination for a cruise ship.
“Never, never,” said James DuBose of Puyallup. “I always thought you had to travel to Seattle to get a lot of stuff.”
But American Cruise Lines is planning to bring a ship and tourists into the City of Destiny, along with several other ports of call.
The Grand Puget Sound package includes Tacoma, Olympia and Poulsbo, as well as stops in the San Juan Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
It will bring passengers from Seattle first to Olympia, then Tacoma, before steaming north.
DuBose and his wife are from Puyallup and were visiting Tacoma on Thursday with his parents from Alabama.
“I’ve come to learn there’s a lot of things to see, and having access to it through the waterway I think will be pretty good,” DuBose said.
Connecticut-based American Cruise Lines has similar packages on east coast ports the Mississippi and on rivers in Ohio, Tennessee and several other destinations.
American Cruise Lines spokeswoman Katherine Otis said the Grand Puget Sound cruise will be on the company’s newest ship -- the American Constellation carrying 175 passengers.
In an email, Otis said the ship is “uniquely designed to navigate inland waterways.”
There's excitement in Olympia about being part of the cruise package, as well.
Jim Johnson, owner of Johnson Berry Farms, runs a booth at the Olympia farmers market, near the spot where the ship will dock at the Port of Olympia.
“This is ideal for our business and the farmers market and I think it’s going to be a great, great bonus,” Johnson said.
Where the ship will dock while in Tacoma is still being worked out. Port officials in Olympia say they've got a spot waiting.
The local business community is ready for the boatload of tourists, as well.
“We’re so excited to have a cruise ship,” laughed Moira Davin with the Visitor and Conventions Bureau of Olympia and Thurston County.
American Cruise Lines is also offering paddlewheel riverboat cruises on the Columbia and Snake rivers with stops in Portland and smaller towns in the Columbia Gorge.
Grand Puget Sound cruises are scheduled to begin in September 2018. The cost of a stateroom for the 11-day cruise starts at $5,890.
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