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TravelSeattle cruise port: A guide to cruising from Washington state

Seattle cruise port: A guide to cruising from Washington state


If you’re embarking on a round-trip Alaska cruise, you will likely be departing from the Port of Seattle. In 2023, seven cruise lines based ships in Seattle, Washington, with 291 departures. Although most ships were headed to Alaska, cruises from Seattle also sailed to destinations like Asia, Hawaii and the Panama Canal.

Seattle is home to two cruise terminals. Both are easy to reach from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) or Seattle Paine Field International Airport (PAE). Once you arrive, dozens of points hotels are available to welcome you for a pre- or post-cruise stay.

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If you’re cruising in and out of Seattle, here’s what you need to know.

Cruise port of Seattle overview

DON WILSON/PORT OF SEATTLE/FACEBOOK

The Seattle port has two cruise terminals, located nearly 3 miles apart. Each terminal has two berths.

Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66

2225 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121

Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91

2001 West Garfield Street, Seattle, WA 98119

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Wheelchairs are available to assist passengers in getting on and off the ships at both terminals.

Complimentary valet service is available for your luggage through the Port of Seattle for passengers scheduled to depart from SEA on the last day of their cruise. Simply attach the provided tags and leave your luggage outside your cabin on the final evening, and your bags will be collected and delivered directly to the airport.

Participating cruise lines include Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean. Participating airlines include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Horizon Air, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. Enroll online or via the paperwork in your cruise ship cabin to take advantage of this service.

Same-day luggage storage is available at both terminals for $5 a bag. Late fees apply to luggage retrieved after 3 p.m.

Related: How to book a cruise using points and miles

Cruise lines sailing from the Seattle cruise port

DON WILSON/PORT OF SEATTLE/FACEBOOK

Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66

Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91

Airports near the cruise port of Seattle

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is located 14 miles from the Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 (a 30-minute drive, traffic-depending) and 17.4 miles from the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91 (a 35-minute drive).

SEA is the largest airport in the Seattle metro area and is served by Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines.

Seattle Paine Field International Airport (PAE) in Everett is 24 miles from the Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 (40 minutes, depending on traffic) and 25 miles from the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91 (42 minutes).

The airport has only two gates, and Alaska Airlines is the only operator. Most of the cities served are clustered in the west. You’ll find flights to and from destinations such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Honolulu.

If you’re flying with a plus one, you might be able to save on airfare with a companion pass. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card holders receive a companion fare certificate on their card’s anniversary, entitling them to a companion ticket on Alaska Airlines for just $99, plus taxes and fees from $23 (as long as they spend a minimum of $6,000 annually on the card).

For those flying into SEA, the Southwest Companion Pass entitles a companion to accompany you on unlimited Southwest Airlines for just the price of taxes and fees. The Southwest Companion Pass is earned through flying on the airline, eligible spending on a Southwest cobranded credit card or a combination of both.

Delta also offers a companion ticket as a perk for holders of select credit cards.

If you’re carrying a credit card with lounge access, Seattle-Tacoma is the better bet with 10 lounges. Seattle Paine Field has none.

SEA’s options include three Alaska Airlines lounges (which are also open to American Airlines Admirals Club members) and a United Club, Delta Sky Club and British Airways Terrace Lounge. In addition to the airline lounges, the American Express Centurion Lounge welcomes holders of select credit cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

How to get to the Port of Seattle

Link Light Rail 1 to SEA. SEATTLE TACOMA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT/FACEBOOK

There are several ways to get from the airports to the Bell Street Terminal at Pier 66 or Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91, including:

Cruise line transfers

Most cruise lines offer transportation to and from SEA or local hotels for an added cost. Sometimes, the service is reserved for cruisers who purchase flights through the cruise line. For example, Carnival Cruise Line advertises shuttles starting at $37.99 per person from SEA to the cruise port for passengers arriving by noon on embarkation day.

At this time, no cruise lines offer transfers to/from PAE.

Hotel shuttle services

If you’re looking for hotels near the Seattle cruise port with a shuttle to the cruise terminals, you’ll find several downtown. Most charge $10-$20 per person for the service.

If you’re on a mission to earn more Marriott Bonvoy points, the SpringHill Suites Seattle Downtown/South Lake Union offers a package including an upgraded suite, complimentary breakfast and transportation for two to the cruise terminals. If you’re loyal to the Hilton Honors program, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Tacoma International Airport contracts shuttle service to the cruise ports for $27 per person each way or $50 round-trip.

Independent airport shuttle services

Companies like Premier Airport Shuttle offer shared or private transportation from SEA to the cruise terminals. Shared shuttle service starts at about $33 per person in each direction, while private transfers for up to 20 passengers start at about $320.

Taxis and ride-hailing services

Ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft can be summoned from either airport. This is another opportunity to maximize your credit card benefits since the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 10 points for every dollar spent on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025) and the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card includes perks like unlimited 10% cash back with Uber (through Nov. 14, 2024).

Uber and Lyft prices are highly dynamic, but you can expect to pay $70 for each direction to and from SEA, or $100 to and from PAE.

Taxis aren’t readily available at PAE, but you’ll find them on the third floor of the SEA parking garage adjacent to the ride-hail pickup area. Flat-rate taxis charge $40 to carry passengers from the airport to the hotel district. Flat rates aren’t in effect to the cruise terminals. Metered rates in Seattle are $2.60 for the meter drop plus $2.70 a mile. (The 17-mile trip from SEA to Pier 91 should run $48.50 in a metered cab, but extra passengers, alternative routing and other considerations can raise the rates.)

Private car or van service

Private cars or vans can be scheduled to or from either airport. Options include Blacklane, with prices starting at about $108 in each direction from SEA to the cruise ports (including pick up in a luxury vehicle and a meet and greet at baggage claim). The same service to or from PAE starts at about $130 in each direction.

Public transportation

Unfortunately, public transit doesn’t reach the cruise terminals, but Light Rail provides transportation from SEA to West Lake Station in downtown Seattle. From there, it’s usually an 8- to 15-minute Lyft or Uber ride to the cruise terminals. One-way tickets are $2.25-$3.25 per person and trains depart every 15 minutes.

To reach the light rail station at SEA, head to the fourth floor and cross the sky bridge into the parking garage. Next, follow the signs and painted pathway to the train. Shuttle service is available for passengers with disabilities from 5 a.m. until midnight. Call 206-787-4069 or 206-787-5906 to request service.

Cruise port of Seattle parking

COMEZORA/GETTY IMAGES

On-site parking

The Bell Street Cruise Terminal parking garage is right across from the cruise terminal. Enter from Wall Street and follow the signs to the parking area. Parking costs $23 per day, with a $1 per day discount if you prepay online.

The Bell Street parking garage offers more than 1,500 covered parking spots, including 25 accessible parking stalls, and can accommodate vehicles with a maximum clearance of 6 feet, 6 inches. Vehicles exceeding this height should park at Pier 91, and taxi vouchers will be provided to get you back and forth to Pier 66.

The Smith Cove Cruise Terminal Lot D parking lot at Pier 91 has 1,100 secure parking spots, including accessible stalls available on a first-come, first-served basis. General parking is $29 a day, with a $1-per-day discount if you prepay online.

In addition to serving passengers departing from Pier 91, Lot D is the parking lot for RV and oversized vehicles at both piers. Fees are $60 a day for vehicles less than 40 feet, and $65 per day for vehicles larger than 40 feet. RV parking isn’t guaranteed unless reserved and prepaid online. If your cruise departs from the Bell Street Cruise Terminal, the cashier will issue taxi vouchers for your return.

Park-and-cruise packages

Depending on the length of your cruise, select Seattle hotels allow you to leave your car while you’re at sea (although most charge a fee). Fans of the Accor Live Limitless loyalty program should consider the cruise package at the Hotel Andra Seattle. The package includes 50% off valet parking, complimentary parking during the cruise and a one-way shuttle service for two from the hotel to the cruise pier.

Related: Best credit cards for booking a cruise

Hotels near the Seattle cruise port

Thompson Seattle. ANDREW POGUE/HYATT

Seattle has an outstanding lineup of points hotels. The best redemption deals are usually found near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It’s roughly a half-hour from the cruise terminals without traffic, but the trade-off might be worth it for some travelers.

Visitors planning to explore Seattle before or after a cruise should base themselves downtown for easy access to the waterfront, restaurants, shops, museums and attractions like Seattle Center and the Space Needle. As a bonus, many of the best Seattle hotels are a 5- to 15-minute drive from the cruise terminals.

Hilton hotels near Port of Seattle

Hilton Honors members are spoiled for choices in Seattle. The Hampton Inn Seattle-Airport is a great option for travelers looking for a quick place to catch some shut-eye the night before the cruise (34,000 to 50,000 Hilton Honors points per night). Amenities include a free hot breakfast and complimentary shuttle service to or from the airport.

For Hilton hotels closer to the cruise terminals, Hilton Seattle (50,000 to 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night) is only 1.4 miles from Pier 66. If you’ve got time to explore the city, the property is a mile from the 5th Avenue Theater, Pike Place Market and light rail.

For luxury travelers, Hotel 1000 LXR Hotels and Resorts (70,000-90,000 Hilton Honors points per night) is a gorgeous hotel with views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Even the bathrooms are a showstopper with glass walls (and privacy shades). Hotel 1000 is roughly a half-mile from Pike Place Market and the Seattle Aquarium and a short walk to dozens of restaurants. The hotel is 1.2 miles from Pier 66.

Related: Best Hilton credit cards

Marriott hotels near Port of Seattle

Keep your Marriott Bonvoy loyalty number handy because Marriott hotel brands are located throughout Seattle. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck at the Aloft Seattle Seatac Airport (22,000-40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night), especially if you don’t want to rent a car. Amenities include complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport and shuttle service to the cruise terminal for $20 per person. (Make arrangements at the front desk at check-in.)

If you plan to play tourist in the Emerald City, the Courtyard Seattle/Downtown Pioneer Square (30,000-54,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night) is in a historic building within walking distance of the Pike Place Market, stadium, art galleries and the waterfront. The hotel is 1.6 miles from Pier 66.

It’s hard to beat the location of the Seattle Marriott Waterfront (50,000-84,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night). The hotel is right across from Pier 66, and passengers can walk to the terminal via crosswalk or sky bridge. This is a great option for families since you’re steps away from top waterfront attractions like the Seattle Aquarium and the Seattle Great Wheel.

Hyatt hotels near Port of Seattle

Seattle is an excellent place to cash in those World of Hyatt points. The brand doesn’t have any properties at the airport, but you’ll find several excellent Hyatts downtown.

Hyatt Place Seattle Downtown (12,000-18,000 World of Hyatt points per night) is located near Climate Pledge Arena, the Seattle Center and the Space Needle. Complimentary breakfast is available in the morning. The hotel contracts shuttle service to the cruise terminals from a third party for $10 per person. Reservations need to be made at least 24 hours in advance.

Thompson Seattle (17,000-23,000 World of Hyatt points per night) is a stylish boutique in the heart of downtown. Famous for a rooftop bar with dazzling views of the city and Puget Sound, the Thompson is a short walk from Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum, and dozens of shops and restaurants. The hotel is less than a mile from Pier 66.

Non-points hotels near Port of Seattle

Seattle is home to several hotels that aren’t associated with traditional loyalty programs. The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle sits above the waterfront with an infinity pool with views of Puget Sound. The Four Seasons is a mile from Pier 66. Don’t forget to book your room with a rewards card to maximize your stay.

Another solid option is the more affordably priced Ace Hotel Seattle, in the trendy Belltown neighborhood. Guests can choose accommodations with private or shared baths according to their needs and budget. The Ace Hotel is less than a half-mile from Pier 66.

Restaurants near the cruise port of Seattle

PIKE PLACE MARKET/FACEBOOK

Seattle is famous for seafood served at upscale restaurants, sushi counters and casual poke joints. Dungeness crab, salmon and oysters on the half-shell are staples all over the city, especially near the waterfront.

Head to Pike Place Market for a culinary tour of the city. In addition to vendors selling flowers and handmade crafts, you’ll find bakeries, breweries, sit-down restaurants and quick eats like hot dogs or chowder. While you’re there, don’t miss the chance to watch fish being thrown to delighted customers at Pike Place Fish Market.

If you see a long line outside Pike Place Market, that’s probably tourists waiting to place an order at the original Starbucks. If you are a huge fan of the chain, the wait might be worthwhile, but the coffee here is the same as in any Starbucks location. If you’d rather skip the line, head to Storyville Coffee on the top floor of the corner market building for an excellent cup of locally roasted coffee with stunning views of Puget Sound.

Related: The best credit cards for dining

Things to do in Seattle before or after your cruise

ASCENTXMEDIA/GETTY IMAGES

You can spend a lifetime visiting Seattle without running out of new experiences. Outdoor recreation, museums and kid-friendly attractions are available in equal abundance. If you’ve built in time to explore the Emerald City before or after your cruise, here are a few of the best things to do in Seattle.

Spend the day at Seattle Center

Seattle Center is home to iconic attractions like the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Museum of Pop Culture, and the Pacific Science Center. The grounds are especially rewarding for families, who will find the International Fountain splash park and the Artists at Play playground with a 30-foot tall climbing tower, labyrinth, musical instruments and an accessible carousel powered by humans.

Marvel at the Hiram M. Chittenden Ballard Locks

The locks are a wonder of engineering connecting Lake Union to Puget Sound. Every day, spectators gather along the sides to watch everything from kayaks to enormous commercial ships pass through the locks. Other points of interest here include a fish ladder, a colorful botanical garden and a visitor center.

Embrace Seattle coffee culture

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery in the Capital Hill neighborhood is like Disneyland for coffee lovers. Book a tour, schedule a class with a barista or sip on signature drinks you won’t find anywhere else. The aromas alone make the visit worthwhile.

Explore the waterfront

Even if you do nothing more than gape at views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains, Seattle’s waterfront is worth exploring. This is also the home of the Seattle Great Wheel, Seattle Aquarium and a host of unique souvenir shops. Afterward, make your way to Pike Place Market for a bite to eat.

Eat lunch in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District

In Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, seductive aromas waft from every doorframe. Dumplings, noodles and baked goods beckon from dozens of restaurants. Do yourself a favor and place small orders in multiple eateries, so you can sample as much as you can.

Shopping near the Port of Seattle

Whether you want to shop for souvenirs or add a few items to your cruise packing list, Seattle’s got you covered.

For cruise essentials like toiletries and snacks, head to Target on 2nd Avenue near Pike Place Market. If you hold the Target Circle™ Mastercard, you’ll get a discount on most purchases. If you forgot to pack your bathing suit or other clothing and can’t find what you need at Target, Westlake Center on Pine Street has options galore from stores like Nordstrom Rack and Saks Off 5th.

You’ll find unique souvenirs — including locally made foods, handmade jewelry and art — at Pike Place Market. If you’re shopping with kids, head to the Old Curiosity Shop on the waterfront for everything from postcards and tee shirts to unique gifts like taxidermy bugs and totem poles. The store is filled with oddities like mummies, narwhal tusks and shrunken heads.

The information for the Target Circle has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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