Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Announces Strategic Initiatives to Strengthen Position in Fast Growing Alaska Cruise Market
Construction of New Pier at Ward Cove in Ketchikan Gives Company
Preferential Berthing Rights in Popular Port Destination
Company Working with Local Stakeholders Including Government, Business and Community Leaders
to Develop Recently Acquired Downtown Waterfront Parcel in Juneau
Investments Further Demonstrate Company’s Long-Term Commitment to Alaska Market
MIAMI, Nov. 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH) (the “Company”), a leading global cruise company operating the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, today announced strategic initiatives that further strengthen its position in the fast growing, popular Alaska cruise market. The Company recently entered into a 30-year preferential berthing agreement with Ward Cove Dock Group, LLC. This agreement allows for construction of a new double ship pier in Ward Cove, Ketchikan, Alaska. The pier will be built to simultaneously accommodate two of Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4,000 passenger Breakaway Plus class ships and is expected to be ready for the summer 2020 season. In addition, the Company recently won a competitive bid for the last waterfront parcel in greater Juneau, Alaska and is engaging local stakeholders, including government, business and community leaders to develop a plan which will benefit both the city and its various stakeholders and the Company. These investments follow the Company’s announcement earlier this year of its partnership with Alaska Native-owned Huna Totem Corporation to develop a second cruise pier in Icy Strait Point, Huna Totem’s world-class cruise ship destination in Hoonah, Alaska.
“The natural beauty of Alaska makes it one of the most popular destinations to visit, and our investments in the region will enable us to provide our guests with a best-in-class experience as they explore the wonders of the Last Frontier,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “These strategic initiatives mark the latest steps in our ongoing efforts to promote economic development in the region and make a positive economic and environmentally sensible impact on the Alaska tourism industry.”
The Icy Strait Point development will provide more cruise passengers with access to Icy Strait’s newly upgraded retail, restaurant and shore excursion amenities, including the world’s longest ZipRider zip line, the most accessible coastal brown bear viewing platforms in Southeast Alaska, whale watching and fishing excursions. Scheduled for completion prior to the summer 2020 Alaska cruise season, the pier will be built to accommodate Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus class ships. The partnership will provide the three Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ brands with preferential berthing rights in this popular port destination and allow the Company’s ships to increase calls to Icy Strait Point.
The new Wilderness Landing will cater to visitors in search of individualized experiences with the land, wildlife and native peoples of Alaska. As part of the expansion, Huna Totem Corporation is installing two gondolas and developing the upper part of Hoonah Mountain near its ZipRider attraction to offer additional experiences for visitors in 2020. To elevate the experience and maintain its natural setting, the Wilderness Landing will be a vehicle-free zone. Instead of needing an estimated 72 buses to move guests around the site, travelers will be able to move through the treetops between the Historic Cannery and Wilderness Landing on the Transporter, a high-speed gondola system installed by the world’s premiere lift manufacturer, Doppelmayr Lift Systems. The gondola is wheelchair and scooter accessible and capable of moving more than 5,600 visitors per hour in eight-person cabins.
Opening a few months later in mid-summer, a second gondola will take guests up the 1,600-foot Hoonah Mountain to the forested area around the ZipRider launch. The six-minute ride will unlock additional areas for exploration and afford spectacular views of icefields, the Fairweather Range and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, the ancestral homeland of the Huna Tlingit people. The mountain’s cliffs and rock formations naturally invite Alaska-sized adventure. Huna Totem Corporation will develop the wilderness expanse with new attractions for guests: a network of walking trails; a 340-foot suspension bridge swaying over a box-canyon with a 900-foot vertical drop; and a tour departure center for bear searches, ATV adventures, helicopter flightseeing and more will be added during the 2021 season. Guests may also enjoy an extended, top-of-the-mountain nature trail loop around a glacially carved reflecting pond.
In addition to its development initiatives in Alaska, the Company was awarded a much sought-after concession contract through 2029 allowing Norwegian Cruise Line to operate cruises within Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Contracts were granted based on a competitive bid process which focused on various factors and environmental commitments such as air emissions, waste and wildlife protection. This contract went into effect October 1 and will enable the Company to provide premier Alaskan itinerary offerings to its guests as the spectacular scenery and wildlife of Glacier Bay is a must-see destination for any Alaska cruise. Covering 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines and deep sheltered fjords, Glacier Bay National Park is a highlight of Alaska's Inside Passage and part of a 25-million-acre World Heritage Site—one of the world’s largest international protected areas. In addition to the spectacular sights, guests will also enjoy hearing from Cultural Heritage Guides which will accompany each voyage that sails into Glacier Bay as part of the Company’s partnership with Alaska Native Voices.
Previous investments in the region include a groundbreaking 15-year agreement with the Port of Seattle to collectively invest $30 million to upgrade the Pier 66 facilities to further enhance the overall guest experience. This investment was made in advance of the 2018 launch of Norwegian Bliss, which was designed with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruising experiences. The enhancements were designed to provide guests with the perfect send-off to start their Alaskan adventure and included the expansion of guest check-in space by 300% to more than 150,000 square feet, a new VIP lounge with expansive views of Elliott Bay and the addition of two new elevated passenger boarding bridges to provide easy and comfortable passenger boarding. Norwegian Cruise Line was the first cruise line to begin cruising to Alaska from Seattle in 2000.
While guests experience all the beauty Alaska has to offer, the Company will continue to minimize its environmental footprint while sailing these pristine waters as part of the Company’s Sail & Sustain Environmental Program which is its commitment to minimize waste to landfills, reduce its CO2 emissions rate, increase sustainable sourcing and invest in emerging technologies such as hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, which can be operated in a closed-loop setting. In 2017, the Company partnered with the Alaska Raptor Center (ARC), an avian hospital and rehabilitation center located in Sitka, Alaska, to help reduce the center’s energy consumption and waste production by investing in energy efficient equipment and the expansion of its recycling program. In 2018, the Company continued efforts to help the center inspire visitors to protect the environment by funding an interpretive nature trail on ARC’s 17-acre conservation property with the aim of connecting people to the natural environment through educational recreation and to enrich their experience as they learn more about the ecology of Southeast Alaska.
About Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:NCLH) is a leading global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands. With a combined fleet of 27 ships with approximately 58,400 berths, these brands offer itineraries to more than 450 destinations worldwide. The Company will introduce ten additional ships through 2027.
Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements in this release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. federal securities laws intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this release, including, without limitation, those regarding our strategic investments, expected port development plans, partnerships, preferential berthing rights and economic impacts, are forward-looking statements. Many, but not all, of these statements can be found by looking for words like "expect," "anticipate," "goal," "plan," "believe," "will," "may," "intend," and similar words. Forward-looking statements do not guarantee future performance and may involve risks, uncertainties and other factors which could cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from the future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied in those forward-looking statements. Examples of these risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to, the impact of: adverse events impacting the security of travel, such as terrorist acts, armed conflict and threats thereof, acts of piracy, and other international events; adverse incidents involving cruise ships; adverse general economic and related factors, such as fluctuating or increasing levels of unemployment, underemployment and the volatility of fuel prices, declines in the securities and real estate markets, and perceptions of these conditions that decrease the level of disposable income of consumers or consumer confidence; the spread of epidemics and viral outbreaks; breaches in data security or other disturbances to our information technology and other networks; the risks and increased costs associated with operating internationally; changes in fuel prices and/or other cruise operating costs; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; our expansion into and investments in new markets; overcapacity in key markets or globally; the unavailability of attractive port destinations; our inability to obtain adequate insurance coverage; evolving requirements and regulations regarding data privacy and protection and any actual or perceived compliance failures by us; our indebtedness and restrictions in the agreements governing our indebtedness that limit our flexibility in operating our business, including the significant portion of assets that are collateral under these agreements; volatility and disruptions in the global credit and financial markets, which may adversely affect our ability to borrow and could increase our counterparty credit risks, including those under our credit facilities, derivatives, contingent obligations, insurance contracts and new ship progress payment guarantees; our inability to recruit or retain qualified personnel or the loss of key personnel; delays in our shipbuilding program and ship repairs, maintenance and refurbishments; our reliance on third parties to provide hotel management services to certain ships and certain other services; future increases in the price of, or major changes or reduction in, commercial airline services; amendments to our collective bargaining agreements for crew members and other employee relation issues; pending or threatened litigation, investigations and enforcement actions; our inability to keep pace with developments in technology; seasonal variations in passenger fare rates and occupancy levels at different times of the year; changes involving the tax and environmental regulatory regimes in which we operate; and other factors set forth under "Risk Factors" in our most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and subsequent filings by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The above examples are not exhaustive and new risks emerge from time to time. Such forward-looking statements are based on our current beliefs, assumptions, expectations, estimates and projections regarding our present and future business strategies and the environment in which we expect to operate in the future. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in our expectations with regard thereto or any change of events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement was based, except as required by law.
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Released November 5, 2019