Seattle: Alaska Drives Demand

Seattle

Quantum of the Seas in Seattle.

 While moving ahead with plans to build a third terminal, the Port of Seattle set another record last year with 1,210,000 passengers on 211 calls and is forecasting a further increase this year to 1,380,000 passengers on 225 calls.

“We are also extending our season starting as early as April 1 with the Grand Princess and closing on Oct. 19 with the Ruby Princess,” said Michael McLaughlin, director of cruise and maritime operations. “Norwegian Cruise Line will also bring a third ship, the Norwegian Sun, joining the Bliss and the Encore at Pier 66. The Sun will sail 11-day Alaska cruises.

“Next year, the new Norwegian Encore will replace the Joy,” he continued. “It is a good example of how Norwegian is keeping their newest and best products in the market.

“Also in 2021, Carnival will replace the Spirit with the larger Freedom.”

Last year marked Seattle’s 20th year as a cruise port, during which it has seen nearly 14 million passengers.

“What stands out over those two decades,” said McLaughlin, “is that even during the recession we continued to grow our market share year-over-year. There was some flattening out in Alaska when that head tax was put into place, but it had less effect on Seattle in that we had entered into berthing agreements with the brands where they needed to meet their annual guarantees. So when they decided to pull ships out of the market as a result of the taxation in Alaska, it had less effect on Seattle.

“Over the long run, the growth trend has been really positive.”

Having released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new terminal last summer, the port has announced three groups that were shortlisted. They were the so-called Cruise Industry Leaders Group, with Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Carnival Corporation and SSA Marine, a Seattle-based stevedoring company; Global Ports Holding and Miami-based Civil & Building North America; and Ports America, teaming up with Jacobs Engineering Group, headquartered in Dallas.

With the goal of having the new terminal ready for the 2023 season, it means Seattle will have three cruise terminals and four berths: Terminal 46 with one berth; the Bell Street Terminal at Pier 66 with one berth, and the Smith Cove Terminal at Pier 91 with two berths.

Cruise Lines Make More Hurricane Adjustments

Navigator of the Seas

The three major cruise lines announced more itinerary changes due to Hurricane Dorian following Thursday’s itinerary change news, and more adjustments are expected to follow on Friday as the storm develops.

Carnival

The Carnival Paradise will now leave Tampa early on August 31, with Carnival asking guests to arrive at the cruise terminal between 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM.

For the Carnival Miracle, with the anticipation of a potential port closure on Sunday, this sailing will now operate as an eight-day sailing, departing on Saturday evening.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean has modified more sailings as a result of the impact of Hurricane Dorian.

Guests aboard the Navigator’s August 30 sailing are now returning to Miami on Sept. 4 as opposed to Sept. 2, meaning the ship’s Sept. 2 sailing will leave two days later.

The Empress will see guests get multiple days added to the itinerary. Unable to return to Miami this Sunday, the cruise now will add a call to Roatan, spend two days at sea, call in Nassau and then return to Miami on Sept. 4.

The Mariner will also get two days added to its current itinerary, returning to Port Canaveral on Sept. 4 as opposed to Sept. 2.

Norwegian

The Norwegian Breakaway will extend its port time in Cozumel until Sept. 1, giving guests a chance to disembark and return home or remain onboard if they choose.  Guests who choose to end their cruise in Cozumel will receive a 25% future cruise credit.

The  Norwegian Sun departed from Port Canaveral, Florida Thursday, August 29, 2019, as scheduled. The calls to Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay and Freeport, Bahamas have been cancelled. Instead, the ship will spend a day at sea on Friday, August 30 and will call to Cozumel, Mexico on August 31. She will remain at sea on September 1 and is scheduled to return to Port Canaveral on September 2.

Cuba Travel Ban Could Ignite Secondhand Ship Market

Cuban Flags

The secondhand cruise ship market could pick up steam following recent Cuba restrictions.

With nautical and infrastructure restrictions in Havana, cruise lines calling on the Cuban city have been using older, medium-sized vessels that may not have fit into their traditional fleets.

Industry sources said they expect some pick-up in the secondhand market with Cuba now off limits, as the now less-competitive tonnage could find new owners, or become ships in new ventures.

Among the players, Carnival Corporation sold multiple ships in 2018 but has not announced any transfers or sales thus far in 2019.

Last year, it was announced that the Pacific Eden was sold to Cruise & Maritime Voyages while the Pacific Jewel was sent to Indian start-up Jalesh Cruises.

Holland America Line sold the Prinsendam, which will become the Amera this summer for Phoenix Reisen.

P&O Cruises UK also announced the Oriana will leave the fleet in 2019, joining the Piano Land startup in China.

Royal Caribbean Cruises has not announced any significant fleet changes in some time, nor has Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

In December, on an earnings call, Carnival Corp. President and CEO Arnold Donald said that if a ship is earning and relevant, that is most key.