Anticipation is building in Seattle. What with the long-awaited return of television series Twin Peaks, ﬁlmed nearby, and new direct ﬂights from Virgin Atlantic taking oﬀ from March 26, 2017, this Paciﬁc North West city is expected to be the fastest growing US destination for UK travellers in 2017.
That includes cruisers heading for the pristine waters of Alaska. In 2017 the Port of Seattle will have its biggest cruise year ever, expecting more than one million passengers through its cruise terminals.
There’s excitement too with news last October that Norwegian Bliss, the newest ship in the Norwegian ﬂeet, will homeport in Seattle in 2018.
“Norwegian was the ﬁrst line to begin cruising to Alaska from Seattle in 2000 and it’s only ﬁtting that we bring our newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, directly to this incredible location,” said Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line.
“Alaska is one of the top destinations for our guests to explore and we are thrilled to be the ﬁrst cruise line to oﬀ er guests the opportunity to experience this coveted destination on a brand new, state-of-the-art cruise ship from Seattle.”
Port of Seattle Commission president John Creighton commented: “Having the largest vessel scheduled on the West Coast for the 2018 cruise season shows real commitment by Norwegian Cruise Line to invest in Seattle. Larger cruise vessels like the Norwegian Bliss mean more passengers bringing more revenue and jobs to our region.”
Norwegian Bliss will be built at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. At approximately 163,000 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, the ship is scheduled for delivery in spring 2018. After a transatlantic cruise and a Panama Canal transit across the new locks, the ship will sail north along the west coast, reaching Seattle for the start of the summer cruising season.
In 2015, the Port of Seattle signed a historic 15-year lease with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The deal secures NCLH ships in Seattle for the full term of the lease and provides passenger volume guarantees estimated to bring $73 million of revenue to the port. The commitment, shared between the port and NCLH, is estimated to generate $2.3 billion in total business revenue for the region, nearly 900 jobs, and over $65 million in state and local taxes.
In addition, NCLH will make tenant improvements to the Bell Street Cruise Terminal, estimated at $30m, which will signiﬁ cantly expand the portion of the Pier 66 facilities used for processing cruise passengers. NCLH will be adding a VIP lounge and more check-in space.
LUCKY SEVEN FOR HOLLAND AMERICA
It seems that seven will be the lucky number for Holland America Line in 2017 as it celebrates its 70th year exploring Alaska. Part of the Carnival Corporation, Holland America has its headquarters in Seattle.
To support the increasing demand for Alaska summer cruises, Holland America Line is redeploying ms Oosterdam from Europe for the 2017 summer season. The addition brings the number of Holland America Line ships to seven in the region, with Oosterdam joining ms Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Volendam and ms Zaandam for a total of 135 Alaska departures.
New in 2017, Eurodam will replace ms Westerdam sailing from Seattle. The addition of another Signature Class ship means more new restaurants and venues will be available for guests to enjoy on Alaska sailings.
“Our award-winning Alaska cruises are at the heart of our global itineraries, and adding Oosterdam to the region in 2017 will allow even more guests to join in celebrating the exciting milestone of our 70th year in Alaska,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president.
FROM FICTIONAL PEAKS TO ACTUAL ELEVATIONS…
Twin Peaks is a psychological thriller about a FBI agent investigating the murder of teenager Laura Palmer. It was filmed in the towns of Snoqualmie and North Bend just north of Seattle where an annual Twin Peaks Festival is held (July 20 – 30). To take a tour of the locations visit Seattle-WashingtonState.co.uk.