By Mark Edward Nero
On Oct. 13, the Port of Seattle and Norwegian Cruise Line revealed that the newest ship in Norwegian’s fleet, the Norwegian Bliss, will homeport in Seattle beginning in 2018.
“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,” Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton said. “Larger cruise vessels like the Norwegian Bliss mean more passengers bringing more revenue and jobs to our region.”
Norwegian Bliss, which is scheduled for delivery in spring 2018, is to be constructed at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The 163,000 gross ton ship is designed to accommodate about 4,000 guests.
After a transatlantic cruise and a Panama Canal transit across the new locks, the vessel is to sail north along the West Coast, reaching Seattle for the start of the 2018 summer cruising season. After it’s arrival, Norwegian Bliss is scheduled to sail weekly seven-day Alaskan Adventure cruises from Pier 66 in Seattle.
The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juno, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.
“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,” Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Andy Stuart said in a statement. “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 Cruise Line has also committed to make tenant improvements to the Bell Street Cruise Terminal estimated at $30 million which could significantly expand the portion of the facilities used for processing cruise passengers. Under the new lease, Norwegian will manage the cruise operations at the terminal and have priority rights to the cruise vessel berth during the cruise season. The port will operate the facilities outside the cruise season.