The $30 million dollar revamp adds three times the space and includes an expanded VIP lounge and passenger check-in.
The newly renovated Bell Street cruise terminal at Pier 66 officially opened Tuesday, tripling the space and adding improvements such as an expanded VIP lounge and check-in area for passengers sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line to Alaska.
The $30 million upgrade is the result of a 15-year lease agreement between the Port of Seattle and Norwegian’s parent company, with construction lasting about eight months. There also will be a conference center, and more improvements early next year will bring a new gangway and boarding bridge.
The partnership means during cruise season Norwegian will have priority rights to the berth and will manage cruise operations. In the off-season the Port will manage the facilities. The Port estimates this agreement will bring $2.3 billion in business revenue for the region and over $65 million in local and state taxes.
Mike McLaughlin, the Port’s director of cruise operations, called the partnership a “great success.”
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Norwegian has used the port for its Alaskan cruises for more than 15 years, with cruises setting out every Saturday and Sunday.
The terminal’s expansion is already leading to faster and easier boarding. Places where passengers used to bottleneck are now moving along. There are also now seating areas for passengers waiting to board.
The rebuild has the capacity to accommodate any Norwegian vessel. It was specifically designed for the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Bliss, which starts operating from Seattle next year. The ship will be the largest cruise ship on the West Coast.
Howard Sherman, Norwegian Cruise Holdings’ executive vice president, praised the speed of the rebuild, and said it’s a great example of a public-private partnership. The agreement marked the first time a cruise line helped fund terminal improvements at the port.