When they want to book cruise meetings, most planners look first to port cities in California and Florida. Next time, however, they might want to consider New York, according to Norwegian Cruise Line, which this month announced that New York City's Manhattan Cruise Terminal will serve as the year-round home port for Norwegian Breakaway, the company's new state-of-the-art 4,000-passenger ship.
Beginning in May 2013, Norwegian Breakaway — which will be the largest ship ever to home port in New York City — will replace Norwegian Pearl, embarking on a minimum of 88 cruises from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal through March 31, 2015. The ship is expected to bring an estimated 140,000 additional embarking passengers into New York over two years, resulting in an estimated $35 million in direct spending for the city.
"Out-of-town visitors spent $31 billion last year, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in our restaurants, shops, hotels, and cultural institutions," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "By making New York City home to its newest and largest ship, Norwegian Cruise Line is further confirming our standing as a top cruise destination and a place that tourists from around the world want to visit."
Added Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan, "New York is not only one of our top markets, but also my hometown. Therefore, I am thrilled to announce that New York will be the year-round home for our next-generation freestyle cruising ship, Norwegian Breakaway. In addition, we are offering an exciting inaugural summer itinerary cruising to the beautiful island of Bermuda, a much sought-after summer destination."
Currently under construction in Germany, Norwegian Breakaway will be 144,017 gross tons and is scheduled for delivery in April 2013. Following inaugural events, the ship will sail a series of 22 seven-day cruises from New York to Bermuda beginning May 12, 2013, through Oct. 6, 2013. Departing on Sundays, the ship will spend three full days in Bermuda, along with three days at sea.
"New York City remains one of the top ten cruise ports in the United States, and we thank Norwegian Cruise Line for making Manhattan Cruise Terminal Norwegian Breakaway's year-round home port," said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company, New York City's marketing and tourism arm. "Approximately 583,000 cruise passengers embarked in New York City in 2010 and that number continues to grow helping the city to report record breaking tourism numbers year after year. We hope Norwegian Breakaway and all of the Norwegian Cruise Line passengers will have an opportunity to visit New York City pre- or post-cruise and discover the energy and vibrancy of all five boroughs."
Norwegian Cruise Line was the first cruise line to homeport year-round in New York City, beginning in 2003. Since then, the company has been committed to bringing its newest and largest ships to the Big Apple, with two ships calling year-round in New York City since 2010. In 2013 alone, Norwegian Breakaway is expected to make 34 calls at Manhattan Cruise Terminal (MCT). In addition, Norwegian Gem will continue to call year-round at MCT, with an expected 47 calls, and Norwegian Pearl will make 15 calls in 2013 before being replaced. In total, Norwegian Cruise Line ships will bring approximately 285,000 embarking passengers into New York City in 2013, generating approximately $70 million in direct spending — a $13.5 million increase due to the additional passengers on Norwegian Breakaway.