Holland America Line’s Seattle-centric strategy

Holland America Line has launched a campaign to promote itself as Seattle’s hometown cruise line.

It’s a smart move that dovetails with an increasing emphasis on local as well as national marketing of cruise brands.

HAL won’t be advertising itself that way in Omaha or San Antonio, said President Orlando Ashford. But the greater Seattle area, with 3.6 million residents, is a top metro market with the income to cruise and HAL’s ships conveniently departing all summer from its piers.

Ashford said HAL, which has been located in Seattle for 32 years, wants to raise its profile as a corporate citizen in an area that includes names such as Microsoft, Nordstrom, Starbucks and Amazon.com.

Save for perhaps Princess Cruises in Los Angeles, it’s hard to think of another cruise line with such a strong position as a hometown cruise line.

Miami is a bit of an open city, with Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International all having a longstanding claim.

But Norwegian made a play for New York and Miami with the introduction of its last two ships, the Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway, which were themed to those two cities.

And Carnival is making a big push to be considered the local favorite in the Texas market, where it is the official cruise line of the Dallas Cowboys, and in New Orleans where it recently struck a similar deal with the New Orleans Saints.

Who knows, maybe there’s a deal in the works to make HAL the official cruise line of the Seattle Seahawks, whose blue 12th man banner is ubiquitous in the Seattle-Tacoma area.

It might look good draped on HAL’s new downtown headquarters, which is expected to open at the end of next year.

Norwegian signs 15-year lease in Seattle

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Norwegian Cruise Line will be sailing in the Pacific Northwest for the foreseeable future.

The Port of Seattle said it has signed a 15-year berthing agreement with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings that includes passenger volume guarantees that will assure $73 million of revenue to the port.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is parent not only to Norwegian Cruise Line, but to Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. All three regularly sail to Alaska in the summer months.

Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick said a 15-year lease for a cruise terminal is unprecedented on the West Coast. “Norwegian Cruise Line is showing real vision by investing in the economic growth of this region,” Fick said.

The agreement calls for Norwegian to make an estimated $30 million of improvements to the Bell Street Cruise Terminal that will expand the portion of the Pier 66 facilities used for processing cruise passengers.

During the summer season, Norwegian will manage cruise operations at the terminal, which is closer to downtown Seattle than the Smith Cove terminal used by Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and others. It will also have priority docking privileges.

Carnival preparing Seattle ships for new emission limits

Carnival preparing Seattle ships for new emission limits

Carnival Cruises is pumping a significant sum of money into equipping five of its ships based in North America with new environmental technology.

With strict new rules coming into effect over cruise ship emissions in the region, the company will reportedly spend $10 million (£6.3 million) fitting exhaust scrubbers on its Seattle-based fleet, Bizjournals reports.

The green technology works by cleaning ship emissions and should ensure that the vessels in question comply with the new air quality standards.

As well as fitting its own Seattle-based ships with the exhaust scrubbers, Carnival will also implement the technology on ships operated out of the Port of Seattle by its subsidiaries Holland-America Line and Princess Cruises.

Seattle, along with Alaska, is one of the main cruise ports expected to be negatively affected by the new rules, with ships concentrating on these areas likely to remain in the North American Emission Control Area for the majority of their cruising.

In the long-term, Carnival has suggested that the exhaust tech will be fitted to all 32 of the ships it has servicing North America.

Previously, it warned that the new environmental rules could negatively impact on the number of cruises offered in the region, particularly those focusing on the Canadian Atlantic.