SEATTLE - The Port of Seattle and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) showcased the new Bell Street Cruise Terminal at the Port’s Pier 66 building in a grand celebration today. The newly renovated terminal features three times the square footage within the same walls of the prior facility, 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 cruise season.
An estimated $30 million dollars in improvements were made to the Bell Street Cruise Terminal as part of a joint agreement between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and the Port of Seattle. The enhancements have significantly expanded and improved operations and the guest experience for cruise passengers at Pier 66.
In August 2015, 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 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 new lease Norwegian will manage the cruise operations at Pier 66 and will have priority rights to the cruise vessel berth during the cruise season. The Port will operate the facilities outside the cruise season.
“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 today,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “Opening Bell Street Cruise Terminal today is the celebration of a community partnership for success.”
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have had the opportunity to work with our partners at the Port of Seattle to enhance the guest experience at the Bell Street Cruise Terminal,” said Howard Sherman, executive vice-president of Onboard Revenue and Destination Development for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “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.”
The design of the new terminal repurposes existing areas to enhance the passenger experience
The new and expanded VIP lounge and passenger check-in area will have exterior views of the ship and Elliott Bay. Other terminal improvements include a modified elevated passenger boarding bridge and a new gangway that will arrive early next year. 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.
The capital investment to complete the terminal improvements was 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.
Seattle’s cruise business - currently leading all cruise homeports on the U.S. west coast in passenger volume - is responsible for over $500 million in economic impact to the region, providing more than 4,000 jobs and $18.9 million in state and local taxes, with each homeported vessel generating $2.7 million to the local economy.