cruise ships

Nancy Leson

My Food for Thought Co-conspirator Nancy Leson, previously a happy land lubber, was recently cajoled into a trip to Mexico on one of those giant cruise ships.  The good news?  The tales of heroic eating you've heard are true.  The not so good news?  

Peter McGraw / Port of Seattle

The number of cruise ships sailing to Alaska from Seattle remains down from the peak of two years ago.  In 2010, 223 ships made the trip.  This year, 202 ships will sail from Seattle.  It's a slight uptick from last year when 196 ships used Seattle as a homeport during the summer Alaska cruising season.

The Port of Seattle says  revenue from the cruise business remains strong .

Photo by Drewski2112 / Flickr

Cruise ships are big business for the Port of Seattle.

Last season, about 200 calls brought nearly 900,000 passengers and their wallets though the city. Projections for this season are about the same. Each call equates to about $1.9 million in local spending.

But that economic benefit comes with ecological risk.

Now the state’s Department of Ecology is backing a proposed ban on cruise ship discharges while the vessels are in Washington waters.

Cruise ships will be prohibited from discharging wastewater into a protected marine sanctuary off the outer coast of Washington state's Olympic Peninsula under new rules taking effect next week.

Photo courtest Holland America

The cruise season has begun in Seattle with Friday morning's arrival of the Crystal Symphony.