Mayor Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz And NYC & Company President Nicholas Welcome The Oriana To Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today welcomed the Oriana, the first cruise ship to dock at the new facility being built by the City on the Brooklyn waterfront. The Oriana berthed in Red Hook at a temporary facility because the New York Cruise Terminal on Manhattan’s West Side is fully booked with five other cruise ships arriving today. Last spring, Carnival Corporation entered into an agreement with the City to make the Brooklyn facility its berth of choice in the New York region for its Princess and Cunard lines including the Queen Mary 2, which will be the first ship to dock at the completed facility in April 2006. The Mayor greeted Oriana Captain Mike Carr and his crew on their arrival in New York as the 1,800-passenger ship made its voyage from London on its way to Boston and Canada. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Council Member David Yassky, Port Authority Assistant Director for Port Commerce Dennis Lombardi, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President Andrew M. Alper and NYC & Company President Cristyne L. Nicholas also attended the welcoming ceremony at Brooklyn’s Pier 12.
“It is an astonishing sight to see this magnificent ship sail across New York Harbor on its way to the Brooklyn waterfront,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “I am pleased to welcome the Oriana, its crew and 1,800 passengers from the United Kingdom to the wonderful Borough of Brooklyn, where they will have an excellent opportunity to sample the many extraordinary attractions in the Borough and across the City – and hopefully tell their friends. The arrival of the first cruise ship in Brooklyn highlights the tremendous growth New York is experiencing in the cruise industry, which had an economic impact of $600 million and supported 3,200 jobs in the City last year, making it the third largest cruise market in the United States.”
“Pier 12 on Buttermilk Channel will soon be the official first stop in North America for visitors from all over the world, like those docking here today,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “The cruise industry will be great for Brooklyn, creating hundreds of new jobs and allowing Brooklynites to throw their luggage on a boat and before they know it arrive in the Caribbean or England. Visitors here will get the best views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, right from the deck. And once they step ashore and smell the marinara or taste the bagels or see the brownstones or visit the top-notch museums or experience Brooklynites’ world-famous hospitality – who knows? They might just stay forever. Because you can visit the world, and stay in Brooklyn.”
Once completed, the Brooklyn facility is expected to receive about 40 ships in its first year of operation. It will be the first in the New York market to be designed specifically to accommodate the largest cruise ships, which carry up to 3,000 passengers. Because of the size and weight of the Queen Mary 2, NYCEDC is undertaking additional improvements to the Brooklyn facility, including deepening the channel, reinforcing mooring points that secure the ship at the pier, and upgrading the gangway to accommodate the high volume of passengers. Princess also requested additional improvements such as a new glass exterior and canopy, landscaping, a tourist kiosk and new signage. About $1 million of the additional $16 million allocated for this work is being provided by the Borough President. The architect for the new terminal is Bermello Ajamil & Partners, and the construction manager is Turner Construction.
“The new Brooklyn terminal is a very important development for all the companies in our Group, including sister companies Cunard, whose liner Queen Mary 2 will in the future berth there during her New York calls, and also Princess Cruises, which will homeport the new Crown Princess in Brooklyn beginning next June,” said Princess Cruises CEO Peter Ratcliffe. “We are grateful for all the hard work that has gone into making this and future calls a success.”
“New York City is making a substantial commitment to our cruise facilities over the next few years and we are confident these investments will pay off,” said NYCEDC President Alper. “In Manhattan, we are pursuing major renovations of the New York Cruise Terminal to make it more compatible with today’s bigger cruise ships and to improve the passenger experience. And the new berth in Brooklyn will ensure enough capacity to accommodate the growing demand for berths in the region, as well as sustain 330 jobs on the Brooklyn waterfront. This is an increasingly important industry to our economy as it brings significant investment and high quality jobs to the City.”
“With the current and projected growth of the cruise business in the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority is excited that this new cruise terminal will bring opportunities for jobs and economic growth to the Borough of Brooklyn,” said Kenneth J. Ringler Jr., Executive Director of The Port Authority New York & New Jersey. “Through our lease of Piers 11 and 12 to the New York City Economic Development Corp., we’re now seeing a rebirth of key waterfront infrastructure along the Brooklyn waterfront.”
The City and Princess have arranged for passengers to explore New York City during their one-day visit by organizing shuttle buses that will take them to official NYC & Company Visitor Information Centers in Midtown and Lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn Tourism & Visitor Center at Borough Hall, and Grand Army Plaza for guests to access the Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. In addition, nearly half of the Oriana’s passengers pre-booked one of seven group tours through the cruise line to some of the City’s popular visitor attractions including the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, and Harlem. Upon return to the ship, passengers will enjoy food and beverages provided by some of Brooklyn’s favorite vendors including Jamaican-style patties from Tower Isle’s, pastries from Erica’s Rugelach, ice cream from Uncle Louie G and beverages from the Brooklyn Brewery.
“NYC & Company is proud to welcome the Oriana and her 1,800 passengers to Brooklyn’s Red Hook Terminal,” said Cristyne L. Nicholas, President & CEO of NYC & Company, the city’s tourism marketing organization. “The cruise line industry is a growing and important segment of the city’s tourism economy.”
The economic impact of the cruise industry in the City was $600 million in 2004, which is expected to climb to $900 million by 2011, according to NYCEDC estimates. The industry supported 3,200 jobs in 2004, and the new Brooklyn facility will add another 330 jobs. Based on projections for the industry’s growth, New York City’s cruise sector is expected to support 5,000 jobs by 2014. NYC & Company projects that visitor spending of the Oriana’s one-day call is estimated to be about $500,000 for New York City.
New York City’s cruise industry has been growing at a record pace in the past few years. This weekend, the New York Cruise Terminal on the West Side will be at capacity as the Golden Princess, the Sea Princess, the Navigator, the Triumph, and the Crown ships will all be docking there, requiring the Oriana to come to Brooklyn. In 2004, about 900,000 passengers passed through the New York Cruise Terminal, compared with 400,000 annually in the 1990’s. For the first time, more than 1 million passengers are expected to arrive in New York City in 2006, which is expected to rise to 1.3 million by 2010. New York City reached agreements with Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines last year that will result in more than 13 million passengers arriving in the City through 2017. The agreements call for the cruise lines to pay the City at least $200 million in port charges through 2017 to support the City’s investment in improving its facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn.