It's Official: Cruise Lines are Calling Red Hook Home
April 14, 2006
Saturday will mark a first for Brooklyn when the world's biggest passenger ship sails into Red Hook Pier. The nearly 2,200 passengers of the 153,000-ton Queen Mary 2 will be the first debark a cruise ship at the newly renovated terminal in Brooklyn, New York. The ship's arrival-the first of 11 scheduled visits to New York this year-will mark the official opening of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.
While midtown Manhattan was the usual stop for cruise ships entering New York, the Empire State suffered a blow to its cruise business when Bayonne, New Jersey, opened its own terminal in 2003. Therefore, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed for a $150 million plan to upgrade the Manhattan's West Side terminal, as well as open the Red Hook Terminal in Brooklyn.
In 2004, Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Lines signed agreements with New York City that guarantee at least 13 million visitors and $200 million in port charges to the city through 2017. As for now, however, only Cunard and Princess-cruise lines that are owned by Carnival Corporation-plan to make Red Hook their New York home port.
Brooklyn officials are hopeful that the facility will produce about 300 jobs and bring new life to Red Hook, an area of Brooklyn that had been neglected for quite a while. Red Hook is a neighborhood that lacks tourism appeal; although the areas is somewhat picturesque, there are few shops and getting to the swank hotels and shopping districts of Manhattan will be more of a chore.
Still, developers are improving up the place and more developers are eyeing it. The terminal building has a new paint job, there is more manicured landscaping, vast dock improvements, and several other upgrades requested by Cunard. Red Hook needs all that and more if it is to be a complete success.
"My real objective-I want Brooklyn to be a port of call," Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn borough president said. "Ships leaving Canada on their way to Florida, I want them to stop in Brooklyn. That's the real honey. Right now we've got the milk, but I want the honey."
There is no doubt a potential for Red Hook to be a big player in the northeast cruise ship terminal game. For cruise passengers, Red Hook will give them one more option when it comes to selecting a place to sail in or out of. Of course, you can join the Red Hook crowd by visiting www.cruisenetwork.com or calling one of Cruise Network's Cruise Specialists.