Cruise season is huge business for Seattle in lots of ways, including cab companies. Here, as far as the eye can see, is the cab line awaiting passengers leaving the Norwegian Pearl, which docks just a couple of blocks from my apartment. The ship carries about 2400 passengers and 1900 crew. Returning passengers depart the ship early; by 8:30am when I walked by they were coming off in droves. Presumably some crew members — those not directly involved in cleaning and stocking the ship for the new travelers coming on board starting around 11:30am — are free to leave as well. All those people have to get somewhere other than Alaska Avenue in Seattle, and many of them will take cabs.
I expect Seattle cabbies make much of their annual income during the spring, summer, and fall months when they are schlepping tourists places around town and out to the airport.
Servers in restaurants have a different take on cruise season — until many Seattle restaurants put an automatic tip on the bill, many servers found that their income declined. Cruise passengers come to Seattle with the mentality that they are embarking on an all-inclusive trip that they’ve paid for in full. Often, in our restaurants, they were leaving no tip at all — prompting the change in policy.
How can you tell tourists from locals in a restaurant — or in the cab line, for that matter? I don’t know, but you just can.
The Norwegian Pearl departed for this week’s cruise to Alaska at 4:45pm. Pic taken from my balcony — the ship is this close.