Welcome to Seattle
The Port of Seattle has established a website for cruise travelers with good information including cruise terminal details, cruise lines serving Seattle, and transportation from the port. Note that there are currently 6 cruise lines arriving and departing from Seattle and two cruise terminals, Pier 91 and Pier 66. Pier 91 is located slightly north of downtown, while Pier 66 is located in the center of the waterfront on Alaskan Way.
Transportation from Airport to Cruise Ships
If you are going to Seattle rather than direct to the piers, see the traveler page on transportation options from the airport to downtown: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60...
There are several options for getting to the cruise piers from the airport:
- Towncars are a nice option as they are flat rate and won't vary based on traffic delays. The rate is currently set at $45 to downtown Seattle. Since cabs meter by time and distance and wait time is charged at $.50 a minute, towncars or flat rate options can sometimes be cheaper, especially since they will pick you up at baggage claim vs hauling your luggage over the skybridge and downstairs in the pkg garage to get in the taxi line.
The only towncar companoes allowed to wait at the airport are STILA and Shuttle Express. To get a STILA towncar or limo, call #55 from a phone in baggage claim and you will be picked up at the door closest to you in baggage claim. Towncars have this year added 7 passenger SUV's for the same price. They charge $50 to the cruise dock. Fee is based on 4 people with extra passengers at $5 each. Realistically with luggage you may bring maybe 5 in a SUV but will vary on luggage and size of car. To get a Shuttle Express towncar or limo, go to the ground transportation desk in the parking garage, third floor.
If you prefer a different company, you can arrange in advance for them to meet you at the airport.
- Metered taxis are also available at the airport. The only company that is allowed to pick-up passengers that are not pre-booked is Seattle Yellowcab: http://www.yellowtaxi.net/. Typically fare to pier 66 is $50, and about $60 to pier 91 (exact amounts are based on the meter, so will vary by traffic conditions).
For cabs you go over the skybridge into the parking garage and find the taxi line or attendant. Cabs pay a $1.00 airport fee plus $2.50 flag drop plus $2.50 a mile and $.50 a minute wait time so flat rate options can often work out cheaper. Going to airport is usually less. Most taxis are sedan cars, but you can wait for a minivan if you have more people or a larger amount of luggage. The cost will be the same.
- Prebooked flat rate cabs are a new 'category' of cab service. These are regulated by the city and state but they don't meter by time making them more economical. There are currently over 200 in Seattle. The current rate is only $29 from airport to downtown. You can find a quote online at www.flatrateforhire.com. Although they must be prebooked, you can just call on arrival at the airport and arrange a pick-up from the arrivals drive. They rate by zip code so knowing the zip code for your hotel and arrival is helpful.
- Scheduled shared shuttle service to the piers is offered by Shuttle Express. This costs $22 per person and runs each 30 minutes (or on demand outside of peak hours). To book this service, go across the bridge to the parking garage and down to the third floor. The ground transportation desk and self-service kiosks allow you to book a trip. http://www.shuttleexpress.com/cruises
- Light rail (train) is the most economical way to travel between the Seatac airport and down town, as less than $3 per person, and they take credit or debit cards in their ticket machines. As long as you have rolling baggages which you can pull around without difficulty in the airport, you will have no problem ride the lightrail, since it is usually not crowded. Buy tickets to Westlake Station, which is in the heart of downtown and closest to both piers. See http://www.soundtransit.org/.
The light rail may be a cheap way into downtown but be aware that it can be a long walk to the terminal. Its on the far north side of baggage claim near carousels 14 and 15, then upstairs and thru the parking garage to the station. Maybe a 10-15 minute walk. Once you get off the train at Westlake Station you can normally find a cab at a close by hotel, and the cost to the piers will be about $10-$15. It is not practical to use a bus to the piers.
If your just using light rail (Link) then you can just buy a ticket. If your staying for a day or so and using buses then buying an Orca card is useful as that will allow you to transfer from Link to Buses or even to the ferries. You can preload a set amt on your Orca card and then just pay for your bus or train fares using the card.
From the Cruise Ships to the Airport
Arriving back in Seattle, your options mostly the same as above, except in reverse. Taxis will be available to meet the ship. You must prearrange a town car or other transportation ahead of time.
Hotel information and where to stay
The following link has great info on hotel packages and transportation. Some hotels provide parking during the cruise. You don't really need a package as cab fare is not expensive to get to either cruise pier. Please read the following for a list of offers from local hotels for Park and Cruise or Fly and Cruise packages: http://www.visitseattle.org/Tourism-D...
Seattle is fairly compact and with most attractions close to downtown. If you look at the insider page called Where to Stay In Seattle (see link at the end of this article) any of the hotels listed in the downtown core are still the #1 place to stay as you have easy access to attractions. If you're just coming into the airport late and leaving the next day on your cruise, you could stay near the airport. There is a large shopping center: Westfield Mall with lots of shopping and dining options and nearby attractions: Indoor skydiving, bowling and an amusement park. There are shuttles from the airport to the cruises by Grayline's Cruise Express as noted above, for Holland America and Princess, but not usually from hotels into the cruise terminals. Some hotels have arrangements with vans, etc. and can probably recommend someone reliable. It's 17 miles into downtown from Sea-Tac airport.
Many hotels near the aiport offer free airport shuttle (there are a lot of hotels by the airport area that offer free transportation from airport, they even have a phone in the courtesy van pickup area in the airport for these hotels) and get back to airport the next day using the free shuttle then ride the SoundTransit lightrail then take a cab from down town.
There are many hotels near the airport that offer pre and post cruise packages as well as transportation to the cruise terminals. Here is a link for the list of hotel packages: http://www.seattlesouthside.com/packa...
If your cruise is from Terminal 91 then staying closer to the Space Needle area or South Lake Union area is a slightly better location relative to the cruise terminal at Pier 91, but only a slight difference. Cab fare should be in the $10-13 range if the hotel does not offer a shuttle.
Shuttle Express offers transfers from selected downtown hotels to the cruise piers at $12 pp. While this could cost more logistically with luggage its perhaps simpler especially with larger groups. Here is the link for a list of hotels: http://www.shuttleexpress.com/cruises