New cruise terminal to open in Seattle
The two-storey, 143,000-square-foot Smith Cove facility boasts views of Puget Sound, Mt Rainier and the Olympic Mountains.
It will officially open on April 24th when a Holland America Line ship sails into Puget Sound, marking the beginning of the 2009 cruise season.
Smith Cove will also serve as a home port on the north Pacific coast of North America for Royal Caribbean International and Princess Cruises.
It is expected to bring some environmental benefits through the use of shore power facilities, which remove the need for vessels to keep their diesel engines running while they are docked.
The cruise sector is a highly important part of the local economy in Seattle, bringing in business revenue of $274 million (£191 million) last year and creating around 2,380 jobs.
Some 210 vessels and a record 886,039 passengers were hosted at Seattle in 2008, making it the top departure location for Alaska cruises.