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.

The Top Cruise Stories of the Decade

Anthem of the Seas and Carnival Magic

During this past decade, the cruise ship orderbook grew from 27 ships on order in 2010 to more than 110 ships entering 2020. Not only is the current orderbook a record, but it also contains more different ships than ever before from 9,000 to 100 passengers, from contemporary and mass-market ships to ultra-luxury and expedition vessels.

Roald Amundsen

The expedition market has taken off in the last few years. Traditionally dominated by a handful of operators with older ships, new ships are taking over while also growing the market segment and attracting new players, including most of the major cruise companies.

Costa Venezia

China has been a roller coaster for the industry. When the market “discovered” cruising, too many operators put too many ships in there too fast which resulted in an adjustment period as the market and its sales model were overwhelmed. Having modified its sales model, the market now seems to be coming back, but operators are more cautious.

New Antennas

Better satellite service and more broadband have accelerated internet and phone services aboard the ships so passengers now essentially can enjoy the same connectivity they can at home. In addition, apps and services like Princess’ Ocean Medallion.

Shorepower Plug

Increasingly stricter environmental regulations have been introduced, requiring ships to operate on low-sulfur fuel or use scrubbers to clean the exhaust gases from heavy fuel oil. These restrictions also extend to ports which may also require low sulfur fuels or that ships turn off their engines and connect to shorepower.

New technologies have also been explored and introduced due not only the environmental regulations but also the cost of fuel, seeking to reduce fuel consumption which in turn also reduces emissions. These technologies include LNG as a new fuel, research into hybrid solutions including fuel cells and batteries, optimized hull and bow shapes, hull coatings, trim optimization, LED lighting, and more.

From the christening of the Celebrity Edge

Women have stepped up the plate and broken the so-called glass ceiling assuming top jobs as presidents and CEOs of cruise brands, as well as senior executives. Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises have women at the helm. Also at sea, women have assumed roles as captains in addition to senior officer positions.

Viking Sea and MSC Meraviglia in Manhattan

The decade has also seen the dramatic growth of MSC Cruises sailing up to be the third-largest cruise company. In addition, newcomer Viking Ocean has established itself in the premium market and is now also reaching into the expedition segment. Also launched has been the new brand of Virgin Cruises, so far with four ships being built.

Star Breeze Cut in Half

Drydockings have evolved from being mainly class inspections, repairs and basic refurbishments to becoming major revitalization projects, including stretchings, sometimes transforming older ships into literally new ships, to the tune of as much as $200 million per project.

Costa Concorida

All was not positive during the decade, however, the grounding of the Costa Concordia with the resulting loss of life in addition to eventual scrapping of the ship, made a strong if temporary dent in the industry’s safety public perception. Incidents of violation of environmental regulations also took place, resulting in hefty fines.

Norwegian Cruise Line christens last Breakaway-Plus ship

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Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway-Plus class ship Norwegian Encore has been christened in Miami.

American singer, and godmother of the 3,998-passenger ship,  Kelly Clarkson performed a set in front of 3,500 guests in PortMiami.

The ceremony featured performances from the cast of Choir of Man and Kinky Boots, two productions guests can watch onboard Encore.

<> on November 21, 2019 in Miami, Florida.

Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said: “Norwegian Cruise Line has been sailing from Miami for over 50 years. We were the first to offer weekly cruises to the Caribbean.

“Five years ago, we launched our history-making Breakaway-Plus class and today we are proud to christen Norwegian Encore, the final ship of this class and a true representation of the evolution of the brand, right here in our hometown of Miami.”

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 NCL in ‘much better’ position after-sales promotions shake-up

After the traditional blessings, Clarkson officially christened Norwegian Encore by breaking a bottle of champagne across the ship’s hull.

<> on November 21, 2019 in Miami, Florida.

Norwegian Encore’s sister ships are Bliss, Joy and Escape, the first Breakaway-Plus class vessel to launch in 2015.

Encore will offer seven-day voyages to the Eastern Caribbean from Miami, beginning from November 24.