Saturday, May 1, 2010

What A Difference a Cruise Line Can Make

It should come as no surprise that port cities often court cruise lines to homeport there. Case in point? Mobile, Alabama lobbied cruise lines for years and when they finally landed a year-round ship, they lobbied for a larger one. It's no surprise because of the economic impact to not only the port city, but to the surrounding region. For instance, in 2009 Holland America Line contributed $357 million to the Seattle economy and $481 million to Washington state, mostly stemming from the cruise line's popular Seattle to Alaska itineraries. (Pictured here is a Holland America Line ship making a turn around in Seattle.) The totals underscore the economic contribution that Holland America Line makes to the Puget Sound community and to the state at large. Holland America Line has added a fourth ship to the Seattle contingent, which will increase the number of sailings from 61 in 2009 to 69 in 2010.

Direct spending in 2009 included $73,424,807 by the company in Seattle including $63,704,926 for payroll and $14,248,260 spent by passengers and crew in shops, restaurants, hotels, museums, local sightseeing attractions, and taxicabs. Holland America Line's economic impact includes maintaining a corporate headquarters in Seattle, community giving, local payroll, provisioning ships, passenger spending, crew spending, port fees and taxes, and marketing and sales expenditures in Washington. Of course not every homeport has a major cruise line headquartered there, but keep in mind that Holland America ships sail only seasonally from Seattle.

In 2009, the 1,380-guest ms Amsterdam, 1,432-guest ms Zaandam and 1,916-guest ms Westerdam sailed roundtrip Seattle to Alaska on a total of 61 cruises with more than 103,000 passengers. For 2010, increased demand for cruises departing from Seattle has prompted Holland America Line to add a fourth ship and a new 14-day Alaskan Adventurer cruise by way of the Hubbard Glacier.

"The increase in the number of itineraries underscores our commitment to the Seattle region as a major gateway to Alaska," said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer. "As Seattle's hometown cruise line, we are very proud of our strong ties to community businesses and causes."

Holland America Line provides both cash and in-kind sponsorships to local non-profit organizations. In the Seattle area, it supports dozens of such organizations such as Seattle Repertory Theatre, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Pike Place Market Foundation, Center for Wooden Boats, World Trade Center, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Men's & Women's Chorus, Seafair, Boys & Girls Club, INTIMAN Theatre, Seattle Theatre Group, Seattle Children's Theatre, United Way, Northwest Harvest, the University of Washington, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure Puget Sound.

Since moving its headquarters to Seattle in 1983, Holland America Line has increased its fleet from two ships to 14 with a 15th to launch July 4, 2010, in Venice, Italy. The company works with 616 vendors in the Puget Sound area and 1,150 vendors across the state. These businesses range from local dairy companies who supply Holland America Line ships with $1.7 million in products each season to local vendors who will provide $4 million in printed collateral for the company.

Holland America Line provisions each ship every other week on the "turn around" sailings. Provisioning a ship means bringing aboard all of the supplies and food products needed for a sailing. For example, the Oosterdam requires some 25,200 eggs and 1,527 gallons of milk each week--coming from local farmers. In addition, local growers supply 58,875 (147,550) pounds a week in fresh produce.

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