A historic milestone was met this morning as Norwegian Cruise Line and the Port of Houston Authority formally forged an agreement for the cruise line to sail seasonally from Houston's Bayport Cruise Terminal in Pasadena, Texas. The sailings will begin in fall 2014 – as the Port of Houston celebrates its centennial – and continue at least through 2017. The signing ceremony took place at the Port Authority's Executive Office Building.
"The Port Commission and Port Authority staff persevered to make this day happen, and I believe it's the beginning of a very productive partnership that will have a tremendous economic impact on our community," said Port Commission Chairman Jim Edmonds.
"We are thrilled to be bringing Norwegian Jewel to Houston in 2014," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line Chief Executive Officer. "We have received very positive feedback from our travel partners and guests since announcing our return to Houston."
"We are pleased to have Norwegian Cruise Line here. It's great news for Pasadena," said Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell. "It will boost our economy and create jobs. Pasadena is a great home for the Bayport Cruise Terminal, and we are excited to have the Norwegian cruise business."
"We are so happy to welcome Norwegian back to Houston," said Jorge Franz, Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau Vice President. "We expect the activities surrounding the cruises to have a positive economic impact for the hospitality industry, including transportation services, hotels, restaurants, attractions, shopping and more."
Also at the event were Port Commissioners Steve Phelps, Jim Fonteno, Jimmy Burke and Janiece Longoria and Col. Leonard "Len" Waterworth, Port Authority Executive Director.
Norwegian will bring its 2,374-passenger Norwegian Jewel to the Bayport Cruise Terminal to sail seven-day Western Caribbean cruises. The agreement calls for 75 sailings from the cruise terminal over three years, with an option to extend for up to two years.
Annual economic activity from the cruise line for the three seasons is expected to generate $150 million and more than 200 jobs annually, with an estimate of nearly $1 million annually in state and local taxes.
The deal marks a return for the cruise line, which last sailed from Houston in 2007.