As this year’s summer Alaska cruise season gets under way, cruisers who sail from the Port of Seattle can tap into a nifty, helpful service, but it just may be one of the industry’s best-kept secrets.
It’s called Port Valet and it will allow cruise guests disembarking their ship after a cruise and heading to the airport to go “luggage free.” That way, they don’t have to carry around luggage if they’re taking a post-cruise day tour or just exploring on their own around the Seattle area for the day. Their luggage, in contrast, heads straight from the ship to their airline at the airport and is checked in.
Travel Agent caught up with Brad Olsen, senior manager, maritime marketing, the Port of Seattle, at the recent Cruise360 conference, and learned more about this service, recently re-funded just in time for this year's Alaska season.
Yet, we watched as Olsen responded to several travel agents with questions, and it's clear that some agents aren't aware of this complimentary service that can make a client's post-cruise Seattle experience easier and more enjoyable.
How does it work? Because Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (also known as Sea-Tac) and the Port of Seattle are run by the same authority, Olsen says there are synergies that help expedite passenger service between the two. Thus, the group is able to offer the courtesy Port Valet service as follows.
- Passengers complete an enrollment form onboard their ship.
- They’ll then receive airline boarding passes and luggage tags in their stateroom or suite onboard.
- The ship’s crew will pick up the luggage the night before disembarkation.
- Guests can look forward to a hassle-free disembarkation the next morning.
- Luggage is sent from the pier to Sea-Tac Airport via a secure truck and delivered directly to the guest’s airline.
- Thus, there is no need for the passenger to check those bags at the airport.
- When guests arrive at Sea-Tac with boarding passes in hand, they simply proceed to the security check-in to reach the gate.
- Best of all, cruisers can track their bags at https://portvalet.maketraveleasier.com
Participating airlines include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Horizon Air, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines.
The only fees that passengers would pay would be any normal baggage fees an airline may charge for either checking a bag or excess baggage. Again the transfer service is free.
Visit Seattle also has some ideas for what cruise passengers can see and do in Seattle after a cruise and before a same-day flight. Check out the two-hour, four-hour and all-day self-tours available at www.visitseattle.org/things-to-do/cruise-information/pre-post-cruise-activities.