Capping what Port of Olympia Commissioner Bill McGregor claimed on Facebook was his pursuit “for almost three-years,” the South Sound’s most inland marine terminal has been added to the 2018 schedule of sailings by American Cruise Lines. A Tacoma stop is also shown on the company’s website brochure.

This “small-ship” cruising specialty line explores “protected waterways, sheltered harbors and magnificent rivers” on vessels carrying no more than 185 passengers. Its offerings include the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, New England coastlines, Chesapeake Bay, Charleston and Jacksonville, Florida, as well as the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Washington state, and Alaska’s Inside Passage.

ACL has agreed to include Olympia as a destination (Port of Call) on its Grand Puget Sound tour itinerary in late summer to autumn next year. The 175-passenger newly-built “American Constellation” ship will berth at the Port Plaza dock between September and November 2018. 

It is unclear whether Olympia or Tacoma will be among the five overnight stops as part of this 11-day cruise package, which begins and ends in Seattle bookending transit to Poulsbo, Port Townsend and Port Angeles, the San Juan Islands and Anacortes. 

“Guests will have an opportunity to visit destinations throughout Thurston County, shop at local venues,” says Ed Galligan, executive director of the Olympia port, “and, hopefully, recommend their favorite spaces and places to their friends and families.”

Working together with City of Olympia, Thurston EDC, the local Visitor and Convention Bureau, Olympia Downtown Association and Thurston County Chamber, planners will shape four local tour itineraries for each of the 24- to 36-hour visits to Budd Bay.

More information on American Cruise Lines can be found at its website.