Giant Norwegian Cruise Line Newbuild is Headed to Alaska

By ,   October 14, 2016 ,   Cruise Industry

Norwegian Cruise Line will debut a giant new ship able to carry 4,000 guests on Seattle-Alaska cruises starting 2018, the company announced yesterday.

Norwegian, which has a deal with Port of Seattle to expand Pier 66 cruise terminal in a USD 30 million joint project, now operates a couple of 2,400-passenger ships out of Seattle during summer.

President and CEO of Norwegian, Andy Stuart, said one of those will remain on the route to supplement the planned Norwegian Bliss. That ship will be built in Germany and delivered in time to begin weekly 7-day cruises along Alaska’s Inside Passage in June 2018. Bliss is the 3rd in the cruise line's Breakaway-Plus class, after Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Joy.

The new Norwegian cruise ship would be by far the largest sailing out of Seattle — the biggest current ones are Princess vessels carrying about 3,000 passengers.

Norwegian’s larger cruise vessel will have a crew of 1,800, versus 850 on the existing ships. NCL's expansion of the terminal, under an agreement announced in 2015 summer, will take the facility from 44,000 ft2 to 151,000 ft2.

Port's statistics show that each ship injects at least USD 2.5 million into Seattle's economy. Port Seattle also plans USD 20 million in improvements to the Bell Harbor Conference Center (adjacent to Pier 66). During 2015, all Seattle-based cruise ships carried 898,000 passengers. For 2016 this number is around 960,000. The Port expects the number to surpass 1 million during summer 2017.