Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Seattle Port, Norwegian Cruise Lines Reopen Pier 66 Terminal

By Mark Edward Nero

On May 23, the Port of Seattle and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings publicly debuted the renovated Bell Street Cruise Terminal at the port’s pier 66 building. About $30 million dollars in improvements were made to the terminal as part of a joint agreement.

The newly refurbished facility features three times the square footage within the same walls, and is custom designed to handle the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Bliss, which will be the largest cruise vessel on the West Coast, arriving in time for the 2018 season.

“Together, we have increased usage capacity by more than 300 percent, created a plush new lounge for suites guests, enlarged the space for all guests awaiting embarkation and much more, allowing for the vacation experience to begin as soon as our guests step foot inside the terminal by providing a seamless, comfortable and stylish ship-to-shore experience,” said Howard Sherman, executive vice-president of Onboard Revenue and Destination Development for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH).

The port signed a 15-year lease with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in August 2015 that secures berth space for 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.

Under the lease, Norwegian manages the cruise operations at Pier 66 and has priority rights to the cruise vessel berth throughout the cruise season. The port then operates the facilities the remainder of the year.

“We have a long history with Norwegian from when we first started in the Alaska cruise market over 15 years ago, and we are thrilled with their unprecedented investment,” Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman explained. Terminal improvements include a modified elevated passenger boarding bridge and a new gangway that’s expected to arrive in early 2018. The brand new state-of-the-art 140-foot gangway will feature incredible floor-to-ceiling transparent walls, immediately connecting guests to stunning views of Elliot Bay.

Seattle’s cruise business currently leads all cruise homeports on the US West Coast in passenger volume. Each homeported vessel generates $2.7 million to the local economy, according to the port. More information is available at www.portseattle.org/cruise.