How To Plug In Your Cruise Ship At The Port Of Seattle

Sailing with Holland America Line not long ago from the Port of Seattle, I came into town a couple days before departure, for a number of reasons.  Unless flying direct, scheduled air from Orlando can make for a long day.  The event was a ‘Sip-Savor-Sail’ sailing that had layered programming driven by Seattle chefs, a local winemaker and a brewmaster on top of a already-immersive Holland America Alaska experience.  I wanted to see some of those people in their natural habitat, before what looked to be an intense schedule of events aboard ms Westerdam gobbled them up. Considering the stand alone value of Seattle as a pre-cruise destination was on the list.  Another topic to explore was the Port of Seattle and ms Westerdam’s ability to plug in to shoreside power, something I have been looking at since before it was possible.

First reported in a 2011 Gadling article, it was the Port of Los Angeles that first caught our attention for providing the ability for ships to plug in, rather that using their diesel-burning engines while in port.  It was a hot topic back then.  The Port of San Diego had gained that ability the previous year, the Canadian government was working on the idea as was the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal which had just come online.  Long before all that, the Port of Seattle had the ability to plug in two ships at a time but I had never seen the operation in progress.

Cruise ships running their diesel burning engines in port can emit tons of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and particulate matter during the time it takes to turn the ship around, loading supplies and passengers for the next voyage.  Westerdam produced none of that once plugged in.  This gallery has a number of photos of where and how to plug in your cruise ship.  It’s not one giant plug as we might expect but a bunch of smaller ones, bundled to provide uninterrupted, clean power while at the Port of Seattle.

Surprising to me:  480 volts?   I thought it would be 12 million gagigavolts or some such huge number.