Seattle Cruise Control Educates Passengers and Public on Opening Day:

Cruising Has Consequences. We must turn the tide.

From Andrea, on the Medium

In the wee hours of opening day of the 2023 Seattle to Alaska cruise season, several Seattle citizens walked along the waterfront placing the following posters in visible locations. They were modeled on the CruiseNOTWelcome campaign in Norway.

Hello cruise passengers. Welcome to Seattle. We live here. This is how it looks to us: You booked passage on a floating city powered by the cheapest, dirtiest fuel available. Particulate matter from the smokestacks takes years off the lives of our neighbors, makes our kids sick, melts glaciers. Thousands of toilets on the ship drain sewage into the open ocean, where it mixes with sulfurous scrubber wastewater, leaked fuel, oily engine residue, discarded plastic, and garbage. The propellers are so loud they confuse marine mammals hunting for food — our local orcas are starving. Yours isn’t the only ship — some days three of them enter or leave the port, each as polluting as a million cars. Drought, flood, forest fire, heat dome — the global climate impacts of burning all that fossil fuel are real, and they’re accelerating. How hot is it where you’re from?

You bought your tickets from a multi-billion dollar transnational corporation that pays shipboard workers as little as $2 an hour. Your vessel is registered in a country it will never visit, to bypass U.S. and Canadian laws concerning workers’ rights and environmental protections, and to dodge taxes. You wouldn’t want anybody doing this where you live, just like we don’t want you doing it here. Nothing personal. So why not talk to your fellow passengers about it? Maybe ask for your money back. Enjoy a couple of extra days in Seattle instead of a cruise — Mariners should be good this year, Pike Place Market is always cool. Grab dinner downtown. Tip your servers. Cruising has consequences for all of us. We appreciate you considering them.

The poster included a photo of the Titanic dwarfed by the modern cruise ship.

Cruise ship companies (and unfortunately the Port of Seattle) continue to push for more cruises, more tourists, and more flights, ignoring obvious signs that the Salish Sea, as are ecosystems and the people that live in them across the world, is in danger.

Lack of News Coverage

The media is also complicit in the downplaying of problems and the lauding of economic benefits. On opening day Extinction Rebellion and Seattle Cruise Control collaborated to create an eye-catching march starting in Pike Place Market, with dolphin and orca costumes, beautiful silk salmon windsocks, informational signage, music, and chants. When we reached the Pier, we held a die-in and shared speeches with the hundreds of cruise passengers in line. Our knowledgeable Seattle Cruise Control spokesperson, Stacy Oaks, was interviewed on camera by two local news outlets. And what was the news coverage?

In the Seattle Times, there was no coverage of our protest. Just this:

First cruise ship of the season glides into Seattle

April 15, 2023 at 5:18 pm By Karen Ducey Seattle Times staff photographer

The Norwegian Bliss, the first cruise ship of the season, arrived at the Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 on Saturday. The Port of Seattle expects 289 ship calls this year, bringing 700,000 travelers to the city.

The 1,094-foot-long ship holds up to 4,004 guests and employs a crew of 1,716 people. The vessel will head to Juneau, Alaska, where it’s expected to arrive in two days.

Beneath this text were large photos of the behemoth ship and the scores of passengers.

Each week the Seattle Times Sunday edition comes wrapped in a cruise advertisement. Is it any wonder they do not report on the cruise’s negative effects or our protest?

Kiro 7 News did present a short segment.

Seattle’s cruise season kicks off with record-breaking number of passengers expected to set sail By Gwen Baumgardner, KIRO 7 News

VIDEO: Seattle’s cruise season kicks off

SEATTLE — Saturday kicks off the long-awaited summer cruise season in Seattle.

“We’re going to Alaska!” said one happy traveler.

“We had this booked about three years ago, and now we’re doing it,” said another traveler.

KIRO 7 was there as thousands of passengers lined up early to board the first cruise of the season from Seattle to Alaska.

Those with the Port of Seattle say not only is this an exciting season for travelers, but it’s also record-breaking.

“This is the number one trip for many travelers in the United States is to take a cruise from Seattle to Alaska. And there’s a lot of excitement about that,” says Steve Metruck, Port of Seattle executive director.

He believes those record-breaking numbers will translate into an economic boost for the city.

“It means so much not just the ships are sailing from here, but visitors to Seattle and the region,” says Metruck. “Over 900 million dollars in economic activity for Seattle and the region and the state.”

But not everyone is on board, saying the benefits don’t outweigh the environmental cost.

“It’s actually destroying the environment for the fishes,” said one activist dressed in a dolphin costume.

The group ‘Seattle Cruise Control’ organized a protest Saturday in Seattle, demanding that the port reevaluate the toll a thriving cruise season takes on the Puget Sound.

“One of the things that we’re asking for is for the Port of Seattle to put a cap on the number of sailings for the 2024 cruise season and then keep reducing that number of sailings every year until we get to zero emissions by 2040,” said Stacy Oaks who helped organize the protest.

Will the Port of Seattle continue to promote economic growth at all costs? We’ve got to turn the tide of thinking that cruising is an admirable, even acceptable economic activity. In a world where greenhouse gasses, temperatures, and extinctions continue to rise, it most definitely is not.


April 2023

On April 15, the Norwegian Bliss arrived at Pier 66 in Seattle and loaded thousands of arriving passengers as the first sailing of the 2023 season. Seattle Cruise Control, joined by Extinction Rebellion Seattle, and members of the public, walked from Westlake Park to the Bell Street Cruise Terminal, winding our way through downtown streets, the Pike Place Market, and past the Aquarium, passing out informational leaflets, making public speeches, holding a die-in, and sending a message to the Port of Seattle. Cruise is toxic in so many ways – to workers, to the air, water, to the climate, to the health of port communities: We need an equitable transition now and can’t wait for purported solutions like the “Green Corridor” to inevitably fail.