Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2022

NORTH AMERICA: INTERV IEW Providing premium services Marie Ellingson tells Alex Smith how investments such as a complementary valet service are helping to improve cruise operations at the Port of Seattle Located in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, the Port of Seattle provides the perfect gateway for cruises to Alaska. With many cruise lines taking advantage of its ideal position, the port has innovated to ensure that the passenger experience is as comfortable as possible, with its investment in a complementary ‘Port Valet’ service being one example of this approach. “Our decision to fully fund Port Valet as a complementary service was prompted when the Port of Seattle, cruise lines and airlines all came together to brainstorm ways to improve the passenger experience from ship to plane,” says Marie Ellingson, cruise operations and business development manager at the Port of Seattle. “Some cruise lines were already offering a luggage valet service, and everyone was benefiting with less congestion in the cruise terminal baggage hall, shorter lines at airline check-in counters, and a better cruise passenger experience overall.” The service has also led to significant economic benefits for the city, as passengers make use of the extra time it provides by visiting local attractions. “The port also saw this as an opportunity for cruise passengers to spend more time in Seattle without their luggage in hand and increase their economic contribution to our city,” says Ellingson. “Since the start of the service, we’ve found that 20 per cent of Port Valet cruise passengers spend time in Seattle before heading to the airport – so local Seattle businesses love Port Valet, too.” For the remainder of the 2021-2022 season, the port will focus on finding ways to continue delivering a good experience despite the new health restrictions. “Right now, we are focused on everything we’ve learned this year from operating under Covid-19 protocols,” says Ellingson. “We will continue to work with our cruise line partners to improve touchless check and passenger flow. And we’re always looking for new ways to provide a better passenger experience with operational and economic benefits as well.” CFIP The Port of Seattle is an ideally placed homeport for cruise lines operating Alaskan cruises 9 1