The Port of Seattle and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) have opened the renovated Bell Street Cruise Terminal at the port’s Pier 66 building.
As informed, the 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.
In August 2015, the Port of Seattle signed a 15-year lease with NCLH, 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.
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 (May 23),” Stephanie Bowman, Port of Seattle Commissioner, commented.
An estimated USD 30 million dollars in improvements were made to the terminal as part of a joint agreement between the two parties.
“The enhancements have significantly expanded and improved operations and the guest experience for cruise passengers at Pier 66,” the Port of Seattle said.
The opening of the terminal comes almost a month after the port started its 2017 cruise season during which it expects to host one million passengers on 218 vessels.
The forecast will result in 15 more ships than in 2016 when the port welcomed 203 vessels carrying 983,539 cruise ship guests.