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Originally published March 26, 2011 at 7:04 PM | Page modified March 28, 2011 at 10:22 AM

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Setting sail from Seattle to Alaska

Six major cruise lines will home-port 12 ships in Seattle this year for Alaska cruises: Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean.

Those giant floating pleasure palaces — Alaska-bound cruise ships — soon will return to the Seattle waterfront. They'll shuttle between Seattle and Alaska, most on seven-day round-trip cruises, with an occasional 14-day cruise.

Six major cruise lines will home-port 12 ships in Seattle this year: Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean. This year, 195 cruise-ship visits are expected with 800,000 passengers, down from last year's record 223 ship visits and 931,698 passengers, as the recession lingers amid competition from other ports (such as Vancouver, B.C., from which many Alaska cruises also depart).

In Seattle, cruise ships sail in and out of downtown's Bell Street Pier and the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal in Magnolia.

The season begins in earnest in early May. On some of the busiest periods, such as the Fourth of July weekend, eight ships will be cruising in and out of Seattle from Friday through Sunday.

See a sailing schedule and more information at www.portseattle.org/seaport/cruise/.

Kristin Jackson / Seattle Times

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