SEATTLE – The Port of Seattle and Norwegian Cruise Line made two major announcements, the Norwegian Bliss, the newest ship in the Norwegian fleet, will homeport in Seattle beginning in 2018 and the Port of Seattle will have its biggest cruise year ever in 2017, expecting over one million revenue passengers through its cruise terminals.
“As we cross the one million passenger mark next year, having the largest vessel scheduled on the West Coast for the 2018 cruise season shows real commitment by Norwegian Cruise Line to invest in Seattle,” said Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton. “Larger cruise vessels like the Norwegian Bliss mean more passengers bringing more revenue and jobs to our region.”
“The Port of Seattle is proud to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line as we work to bring people from around the world to see Alaska,” said Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick. “Our long relationship together is evident in this historic and unprecedented 15-year lease here at Pier 66.”
“Norwegian was the first line to begin cruising to Alaska from Seattle in 2000 and it’s only fitting that we bring our newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, directly to this incredible location,” said Andy Stuart, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Alaska is one of the top destinations for our guests to explore and we are thrilled to be the first cruise line to offer guests the opportunity to experience this coveted destination on a brand new, state-of-the-art cruise ship from Seattle.”
Norwegian Bliss will be constructed at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. At approximately 163,000 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, the ship is scheduled for delivery in spring 2018. After a transatlantic cruise and a Panama Canal transit across the new locks, the ship will sail north along the west coast, reaching Seattle for the start of the summer cruising season.
Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaskan Adventure cruises from Pier 66 in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative amenities, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juno, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.
Continuing Norwegian’s tradition of decorating each ship’s hull with signature art, Norwegian has also announced that marine wildlife artist Wyland has been commissioned to design the hull artwork for Norwegian Bliss. Known for his iconic whale murals, marine life paintings and sculptures, Wyland has inspired a generation about the importance of marine life conservation.
Last year, the Port of Seattle signed a historic 15-year lease with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The deal secures NCLH ships in Seattle for the full term of the lease and provides passenger volume guarantees estimated to bring $73 million dollars of revenue to the port.
In addition NCLH will make tenant improvements to the Bell Street Cruise Terminal estimated at $30 million which will significantly expand the portion of the P66 facilities used for processing cruise passengers. Under the new lease NCLH will manage the cruise operations at P66 and will have priority rights to the cruise vessel berth during the cruise season. The port will operate the facilities outside the cruise season.
The capital investment to complete the terminal improvements will be shared between the Port and NCLH. The 15-year business commitment is estimated to generate $2.3 billion in total business revenue for the region, nearly 900 jobs, and over $65 million in state and local taxes.
The agreement also establishes a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) between the tenant’s general contractor and the building trades.
Seattle’s cruise business – currently leading all cruise homeports on the U.S. west coast in passenger volume – is responsible for more than 3,700 jobs, $459 million in annual business revenue, and $17.6 million annually in state and local tax revenues. Each homeport vessel call generates $2.6 million for the local economy.