The Norwegian Bliss arrives at Bell Street cruise terminal

The Port of Seattle welcomed Norwegian Bliss, the newest ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, on 30th May.

At over 168,000 gross tons and a capacity of 4,004, double occupancy, Norwegian Bliss is the largest cruise vessel on the west coast and was built especially for the Alaska cruise market. The arrival of Norwegian Bliss marks a major milestone for the Port of Seattle, which over the last 18 years has transformed into the largest and fastest growing cruise business on the west coast while earning a reputation for progressive environmental protections.

“The Port of Seattle is thrilled to host the magnificent Norwegian Bliss and her passengers for many Alaska cruise seasons to come,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Courtney Gregoire. “Cruise ships like Norwegian Bliss meet our objectives of increasing economic opportunity in our region while constantly raising the bar on environmental sustainability. We thank Norwegian for their eighteen years of partnership with the Port of Seattle and look forward to more to come.

“We are proud of our partnership with the Port of Seattle, where we have cruised out of for nearly two decades,” said Andy Stuart, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Tomorrow will mark an exciting evolution of our relationship. For the first time in the company’s history, we will christen our newest and most innovative ship in Seattle before she begins her inaugural season cruising to Alaska. We look forward to a promising future and continuing to work with the Port of Seattle to further expand cruising opportunities in the Pacific Northwest.”

In April 2018, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., the leading global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands released its 2017 Stewardship Report, highlighting the company’s progress in minimising waste to landfill, investing in emerging technologies, and reducing CO2 emissions. The Stewardship Report is part of their Sail & Sustain program, which reflects the company’s mission to continually improve its sustainability culture through fresh innovation, progressive education and open collaboration.

Through the Sail & Sustain program, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is committed to increasing sustainable sourcing, minimising waste to landfills, investing in emerging technologies and reducing their CO2 emissions.

The cruise line has also established environmental partnerships with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the Alaska Raptor Centre, and Nova South-eastern University’s Oceanographic Centre in coral reef restoration.

The cruise industry in Seattle is a major economic driver for the region, providing over 4,000 jobs and over $500 million into the region’s economy each season. The Port of Seattle can handle some of the largest vessels in the world, with a naturally deep-water port, and award-winning world-class cruise facilities that will process over one-million revenue passengers for the second year in a row. Both cruise terminals offer convenience in a spectacular setting on the downtown waterfront, including easy access to Sea-Tac International Airport.

The Port of Seattle also leads the way among cruise ports by offering Port Valet, a complimentary service that allows eligible passengers to get airline boarding passes and check their luggage all the way to their final destination while still on board their ship. Guests can then enjoy Seattle luggage-free.

Cruise ships visiting the Port of Seattle have gone above and beyond water quality requirements.

Starting 14 years ago, the Port of Seattle and its cruise line customers led the way to ensure environmental concerns were addressed. In 2004 the Port of Seattle partnered with Washington State Dept. of Ecology and the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) to sign the Washington State Cruise Memorandum of Understanding, ensuring cruise ships exceed industry, state, and federal environmental performance standards.

Cruise ship companies have demonstrated leadership by managing wastewater discharge long before this year’s enactment of the No Discharge Zone - a ban on treated and untreated discharges in Puget Sound. The MOU requires the highest treatment level (Advanced Wastewater Treatment Systems) avoiding discharges near shellfish beds and the discharge of untreated greywater. For the past seven years, all cruise ships visiting the Port of Seattle have elected not to discharge at all in Washington waters.

The Port of Seattle also works closely with the cruise industry to minimise air quality impacts of cruise ship exhaust, comply with international, federal and state air quality regulations, and help provide lower carbon cruise access to Washington and Alaska waters. Today, the Port provides clean shore power at two cruise berths at Terminal 91 and is exploring opportunities to further expand access to shore power, including at Pier 66.

The Port of Seattle was also an early supporter of international regulations to establish the North American Emission Control Area (ECA) which limits the sulphur content in fuels used in ships when they are within 200 miles of the coast. This regulation has significantly reduced sulphur emissions and air-quality related human health impacts. Also, many cruise ships calling on Port of Seattle have installed exhaust gas cleaning systems called “scrubbers,” an alternative method to clean their exhaust and meet the emission requirements of the ECA. On the short side, over 80% of the cargo-handling equipment at Port of Seattle’s cruise terminals are powered by the latest clean fuel technology.

There are new International Maritime Organisation requirements coming in 2020 requiring even cleaner fuel and Port of Seattle remains committed to working with all its shipping and cruise partners to achieve compliance and make Port of Seattle the cleanest, greenest, most energy-efficient port in the nation.