Norwegian Cruise Line will commence a new era of Alaska cruising beginning June 2018, as the company announced today that its next new vessel, Norwegian Bliss, will be custom-built with features and amenities for Alaska cruising. Norwegian Bliss will cruise to America’s Last Frontier from Seattle and will be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make its debut in the Emerald City.
At a ceremony held at Port of Seattle’s Pier 66, Norwegian President and CEO Andy Stuart shared the news alongside Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick and Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton.
“Norwegian was the first cruise 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,” Stuart said.
The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss is designed with features and amenities tailored to Alaska cruising. At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, the ship will be constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018.
After a transatlantic cruise and a Panama Canal transit
through 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 Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.
Last year, the Port of Seattle signed
a 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 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.
“The Port of Seattle is proud to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line as we work to bring people from around the world to see the great Pacific Northwest from Seattle to 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.”